Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 15, 2019

Syria - Frontline Breach Opens Door To A Deep Battle For Idlib

During the last months the Syrian government made some progress in the norther part of Hama governorate on the border to the jihadi held Idlib governorate. The breach of the jihadi defense lines must now be used to develop a larger campaign.

The maps show the progress between May 15 2019 and today (Red - government control; Green - jihadi control).

North Hama Front - May 15 2019

via LiveUAmap - bigger

North Hama Front - August 15 2019

via LiveUAmap - bigger

The current operation is a pincer movement on the western and eastern side of Khan Shaykhun. It is designed to envelope the jihadi held towns Al Lataminah, Kafr Zayta, Khan Shaykhun and Morek.

The north of Hama and Idlib governorate is held by the al-Qaeda aligned Hayat Tahrir al Sham (HTS). HTS defeated and removed several Turkish supported 'rebel' groups from the area it rules. On the Syrian side the Tiger Force and the 4th division are the main units in the current fight.

The first phase of the operation, which began three month ago and was interupted by several ceasefires, proved to be difficult. The jihadis have good equipment which includes a large number of U.S. supplied TOW anti-tank missiles with 5,000 meter reach. They also have a significant number of artillery missile launchers. Their positions were well prepared and they fiercely defended each and every house. They counterattacked with some success by utilizing vehicles with suicide bombers.

The losses of the Syrian army during the first phase were unacceptable high. This led to a change of tactics. The Syrian and Russian airforce began an extensive bombing campaign with hundreds of air and artillery strikes per day against jihadi positions. Drones were used to find mobile missile launchers hidden in fruit plantations and to direct artillery and bombers to those aims. ANNA News published several videos of the extensive campaign (1, 2, 3 - Engl.subs). The air campaign cost the jihadis a significant amount of material and personal. Only one of the attacking planes, a Syrian SU-22, was lost during the fight.

The Syrian army also began to make large night attacks. Its new T-90 and modernized T-72 tanks have excellent thermal night vision and can destroy targets at long distances. The infantry can proceed under their protection. Instead of fighting along roads from town to town the army moved to take high ground first and to proceed from there. Using flanking operations the troops broke through several prepared defense lines. The jihadis are now on the run. This ANNA video (engl.subs) shows last week's operation to liberate the town of Al Habit (Al Hobeit) and gives a good impression of the new tactics. The army has since moved further to the north east of Al Habit and took Kafr Ayn and Tell As.

The encirclement north of Khan Shaykhun will close within the next several days. The jihadis who stay within the cauldron will have little chance to survive. They will most likely flee north along the M5 highway.

Current situation

via ISWnews - bigger

The soon enclosed area also holds one of the Turkish manned ceasefire observation posts. While these posts are supposed to supervise the ever breaking ceasefire they are in fact used as supply and fire direction centers for the jihadi forces. It will be interesting to see the Turkish reaction when the Syrian army knocks on the observer post's door.

There continues to be deep divide in the anti-Syrian front. HTS pushed back against Turkish attempts to control the area it holds. It rejected the various ceasefires that Turkey, Russia and Iran agreed upon in the Astana process. When its defense lines broke it refused offers from the Turkish controlled 'National Army' gangs to come to its help.

Ömer Özkizilcik @OmerOzkizilcik - 10:32 UTC · Aug 15, 2019

- When the factions of the National Army recently attempting to send fighters to Idlib, HTS rejected anyone from Sultan Murad, Firka Hamza, Sultan Suleyman Shah and Jaysh al Islam. A 20-people delegation of Jaysh al Islam to negotiate a free passage was imprisoned by HTS

Russia and Syria will continue to use this split between the various groups Turkey officially or unofficially supports to incite more infighting on the 'rebel' site. It proved to be one of their best weapons.

Recovering the area and Khan Shaykhun, a city with 35,000 pre-war inhabitants, will be a significant victory. But this operation is only the opening battle of a larger campaign. The rather slow breach of the frontline will now be turned into a dynamic campaign. The larger plan behind this is likely of Russian heritage:

[T]he Soviets developed the concept of deep battle and by 1936 it had become part of the Red Army Field Regulations. Deep operations had two phases: the tactical deep battle, followed by the exploitation of tactical success, known as the conduct of deep battle operations. Deep battle envisaged the breaking of the enemy's forward defenses, or tactical zones, through combined arms assaults, which would be followed up by fresh uncommitted mobile operational reserves sent to exploit the strategic depth of an enemy front. The goal of a deep operation was to inflict a decisive strategic defeat on the enemy's logistical abilities and render the defence of their front more difficult, impossible—or, indeed, irrelevant. Unlike most other doctrines, deep battle stressed combined arms cooperation at all levels: strategic, operational, and tactical.

The Syrian army will pursue the fleeing jihadis along the M5 highway with a strong armored forces upfront and under the bombing cover of the airforce. Defended towns along the road can be enveloped from east and west, surrounded, and left to the following infantry for clean up. The run must not stop at least until the forces reach Saraquib at the merging of the M4 and M5 highway. The tactical deep battle can then be further developed to recover all of Idlib governorate.

Idlib Governorate - August 15 2019

via LiveUAmap - bigger

To support the push from the south additional fronts must be opened west of Aleppo along the M5 and from Latakia in the west along the M4 highway through Jish ash Shugur and on to Saraqib. The battle to breach the frontline in Latakia has been ongoing for some time but a decisive breakthrough has yet to be achieved.

The recovery of the M4 and M5 highways is of uttermost importance for the Syrian economy. Syria, Russia and Iran should resist all calls from the U.S. and Turkey to stop their campaign before that job is done.

Posted by b on August 15, 2019 at 17:28 UTC | Permalink

Comments

Getting up to Saraquib would be quite a run! I hope that works out.

Posted by: BM | Aug 15 2019 17:57 utc | 1

Thanks for the Syria update b which folks can't get so well reported on elsewhere.

I didn't read anything about the oil fields that I consider to be where the war against late empire will be won.

I know it takes baby steps and continued focus but trust Syria will reclaim its previous borders....maybe even in the Golan Heights....

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 15 2019 17:59 utc | 2

Those bomber raids were - of course - deprecated on the UK government's propaganda outfit the BBC World Service (radio).

These Russian and Syrian air raids, the ME reporter (speaking from somewhere safely outside of Syria) said, were killing "civilians." Not once was there ever mention of any non-civilians, not even "rebels" their usual, favorite term for Al Nusra/IS fighters being in Idlib, never mind being injured/killed by the air raids.

Nope - it was typical Russian, Syrian rabid, unwarranted violence against peace-loving civilians who wanted only to be free of Assad and his dictatorship.

What's more - well, what can one expect of the Russians and Assad's military? - these air raids, the pilots (under orders for sure) "deliberately targeted" hospitals and schools.

Now - I seem to recall the slimy, slippery way the US military excused themselves from *really* targeting with all due deliberation a hospital in Afghanistan. That "incident" faded away from the news and has from the MSM-propaganda mind. As for the US air raids on Mosul....

Then there are those Saudi air raids over Yemen and the deliberate targeting of crops, hospitals, schools, school buses and so on.... never mentioned (well, the Saudi war on Yemen hardly gets a mention ever, unless the Houthis can be blamed somehow). I suppose none of those count, nor the Yemenis.

Posted by: AnneR | Aug 15 2019 18:00 utc | 3

As can be seen here, there are some taller hills behind Khan Shaykhun, offering good spotting positions to jihadis when it comes to defending the surrounding area: https://i.redd.it/dx5bfe9dhng31.png
This might explain to an extent why progress have been slow.

That said, as you say, rebels infighting has always been a major issue for them. These last few months, the quite successful (temporarily at least) resistance from HTS allowed them to maintain their grip on the province and a quite unified support from all groups. If the whole Khan Shaykhun salient falls, the blame game will come back in full force, and that is good for SAA and Syrian government, because it'll weaken significantly the Idlib rebels.

Posted by: Cluless Joe | Aug 15 2019 18:11 utc | 4

Thanks for the recap, b! One aspect not being reported widely was the forced deportation of Syrian refugees from Turkey into Idlib where they were forcibly conscripted into the terrorist ranks or murdered. Hopefully, Canthama will stop by to comment and can speak to that as he's reported on that aspect via Twitter. The use of night assaults are extremely effective as b notes thanks to the technological advantage. The Western pincer has forked and is now moving both East and North paralleling the M-5. Canthama has just posted a report on that development at SyrPers:

"The SAA continues is move up north toward liberating Idlib Province. It seems the SAA is taking a tactic to go north parallel to M5, recently liberated Madayah, and moving toward Kafrabel (yes that town that used to write funny english banners), then it could shift east toward Marraat al Numan, thus forming a long and narrow cauldron. There is no hurry to liberate Khan Sheikhoun, the more terrorists leave the cauldron the better, besides more terrorists are shifting inside the cauldron to hold the RGs at Tamanah and Sukayk, the road north up the hills are way less defended, this possible strategy may break the terrorists back in 2-3 weeks time."

Retreating terrorist convoys are blasted. When you watch the ANNA News videos it's easy to see how impossible it is to hide from the overhead eyes. At some point, the forces massed West of Aleppo will be unleashed, and the attack from Lattakia into the mountains along the border with Turkey is ongoing hard work getting little exposure. IMO, there'll be no more ceasefires until Idlib's secured.

Elsewhere, PavewayIV provided a comment related to a reconciliation agreement involving ten villages next to Tabqua Dam and the air base of the same name that Daesh preserved for its protector. IMO, much of what's happening East of the Euphrates where the hydrocarbons are located relate to negotiations between the Syrian government and the regions Arab Tribes. There are also ongoing talks with the Kurds. Any combat there won't likely commence until winter. Reconciliation does work but is time consuming.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 15 2019 18:40 utc | 5

karlof1 | Aug 15 2019 18:43 utc

sounds like an imposter

Posted by: jonku | Aug 15 2019 18:52 utc | 6

I see we have an imposter @7.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 15 2019 18:53 utc | 7

Thanks for the update, real karlof1 | Aug 15 2019 18:43.

Great to hear from our old correspondent PavewayIV, tell us how you really feel!

In OT news, I now explain that the time spent here at MoA is not conspiracy talk, in fact it leads me to reading original sources like the US constitution, UN resolutions, speeches and essays by world leaders, statesmen and thought leaders including Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Sergey Lavrov, Michael Hudson and the many other direct sources you and our fellow patrons continue to deliver.

In this sphere at least, we are winning and building something very worthwhile.

Let the haters hate and the negaters negate, I choose to stand with the truth.

Posted by: jonku | Aug 15 2019 19:02 utc | 8

oops, I meant to cite real karlof1 | Aug 15 2019 18:40 utc | 6

That's a new tactic, impersonating one of our most prolific and erudite members.

I have to agree with Grieved's earlier statement, that this nuisance is easy to see through and to ignore. I agree also that we need to expand from our beachhead into the world of everyday life.

Doing my best,

Posted by: jonku | Aug 15 2019 19:09 utc | 9

I can not describe how good it feels, that FINALLY the political overlords did set the conditions for the SAA to move from waiting for green light to actually go on the offensive.
Seems the now warmer (while still rather cold) relations between Turkey and the US allow Russia to give the SAA more leeway, as a slight hint to Turkey.
Great to see what progress is made, though i say much depends on Tiger forces and 4th mechanized; besides the baathist revolutionary guards, and the now much fewer Hezbollahs they are the only parts of the SAA with that performance and morale.
The Iranian and Russian training did pay off, without them, things may look completely different.

To see what difference all those dead troops made that died fighting the various Jiahdists and Takfiris, just paint yourself a mental picture of what Syria and Iraq (and maybe Lebanon and other countrys too) would look like without them:
A mulsim brootherhood connected Caliphate, haboring likely several hundred thousand battle hardend Jiahdists, and many many millions of supporters and believers. Violent extremists from all over the world, globalized by their united mission, to conquer all those who dont support them, kill all those who refuse to be slaves, rape and enslave every women of those who died because of their different believe, ethniticy, sexual orientation and values.
A death cult, as fascist as we have not seen many times over the course of history. A total furor, hell on earth, where there is no mercy, no law but death and torture for those who are different than those who preach with their sword "the only god, and his last and final prophet"
Spanning from Iraq to Israel. Just like NATO and the Arab Gulf states and Muslim Brothers and Jihadists dreamed of.

So we can be more than thankful for all those who aided in this fight, bringing terror to those who bring terror and Death to this death cult. Our world would be an even worse place, and a total hell for millions of middle easterners.

Lets just hope that at least Idlib will be no more a safe haven for the psychopaths called Jihadists from all other the world by the end of this year. North Syria will be a totally different thing, and right now, no one can even half way surely say what we can expect on the developments there.

Thanks B, a great Analysis as always on the battlefield.

PS: Even Pat Lang calls you a "brilliant military analyst" even though you are a "one sided" "Anti-American" in general for him.. ;) Cant make everyone happy. :)

Remember the old slogan of the start of the "Syrian Revolution": "Christians to Beruit, Alawites to the grave."

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Aug 15 2019 19:35 utc | 10

Imposter's back @12. Note it fails to capitalize the Outlaw US Empire as I do constantly.

Clearly, those at Central Control are threatened by the truth this aging academic brings to light. But it isn't me who imparts energy into geopolitics. I don't tweet for Trump or produce the pompous nature and remarks delivered by Pompeo and Bolton. They do all that on their own and the reaction generated is that energy I mentioned that propels the pushback. The ascension of the Multipolar Order will occur whether I continue to comment or not. And as for the oncoming financial meltdown due to the misapplication of Junk Economics, that too will occur regardless of my fate.

In other words, trying to take me out of the game only shows the utter desperation of those within the sinking ship as they will sink nonetheless.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 15 2019 19:55 utc | 11

B has done it again.. MSM's content designed and psycho engineered propaganda, seems promoted not to inform, but instead to accomplish mostly nefarious outcomes or to embed control elements in the minds of the audience. MSM and its affiliates seem to filter truths, circumstances and events which challenge the fabricated and engineered fantasies MSM promotes. MSM promotions seem mostly to be funded by gifts, from privately held corporations, made to the MSM, in tax deductible form (advertising) allows the MSM to maintain "mass audiences" in propaganda controlled space?
I observe the media heightened Epstein "kiddie Sex" to suppress and cover up espionage and foreign intent to control of local government and its officials". Then there is the British Novachok show promoted to blame Russia for a failed MBS style double murder, but not a word about the wars and human suffering in Syria, Yemen, and the daily shootings, and house demolishing going on in Palestine.

To achieve a general peace in the world, it may only be necessary to find a peaceful way to silence the MSM and its suppliers, associates, story fabricators and psycho-engineering crews? Around the globe it has been the MSM that has either 1. developed, promoted and polarized into problems divide and conqueror issues or 2) hidden and silenced facts or persons that would, if published, expose and reveal truths which might interfere with propaganda programs.

Cam propaganda be used to promote terrorism? 5G technology can empower control over all human behaviors and it can find, select and destroy whomever, whenever, whenever as its owners please.

Posted by: snake | Aug 15 2019 20:05 utc | 12

Seems Protagonist @5 should be spelled "propagandist" for the anglo-zionist regime.
I hope the SAA and the Russian Aerospace forces continue their onslaught in eradicating the anglo-zionist TERRORIST.

Posted by: Tonymike | Aug 15 2019 20:16 utc | 13

How does Syria still troops willing to fight on the frontlines? Haven't 1/3 or a large share of military aged Alawites died on the battlefield?

Posted by: trigger | Aug 15 2019 20:26 utc | 14

DBE Pr. Pat Lang is a clown. A pathetic clown and no matter how hard or often posters shill for that clown, no one will go there. Can we please have posts where commenters dont drop dog turds.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Aug 15 2019 20:45 utc | 15

How does Syria still troops willing to fight on the frontlines? Haven't 1/3 or a large share of military aged Alawites died on the battlefield?

Posted by: trigger | Aug 15 2019 20:26 utc | 19

When you are fighting for your country that is what you do, not be a keyboard commando dufus.

Regards, Rob

Posted by: viking3 | Aug 15 2019 20:45 utc | 16

trigger the good news is that the Syrian Arab Army fighting to uphold its democracy led by Assad is a multi faith army not just Alawites. Assad enjoys the enapproval of the majority of Syrians of many religions and factions of Islam.

Certainly there are likely to be many christians in that army too as the only thing the jihadis offered ghem was certain death. You see the USA is backing the murderers of christians. The pentecostals share the same mind as the jihadis.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Aug 15 2019 20:53 utc | 17

I really missed your Syria sit reps
Thanks for the great analysis

Posted by: tageslicht | Aug 15 2019 21:08 utc | 18

Imposter @15 & 17--

Doesn't know how to properly punctuate or capitalize, nor does it proofread.

Meanwhile, Magnier writes that it's the upcoming US election that's causing a reduction in tensions:

"What is reducing the possibilities of war in the Persian Gulf are the 2020 US presidential elections. Indeed, Trump seems no longer willing to challenge Iran directly nor does he aim to push the conflict to a dangerous level. He is avoiding putting the US in the first line of confrontation against Iran for another year until he sees bailout results in his favour (at the end of the year 2020)."

That view's challenged by Finian Cunningham:

"International consensus and world opinion may also be a vital check on the US-led folly of antagonizing Iran. The refusal by Germany, France and other European nations to participate in the US maritime force dealt a significant blow to Washington’s subterfuge of forming a coalition camouflage for its aggression against Iran....

"As Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif remarked, the US is 'isolated', apart from having the British and Israelis riding shotgun on its now-evident adventure of aggression. From political, legal and moral viewpoints, it will be difficult for the Trump administration to proceed with its plan to 'protect shipping' in the Persian Gulf because it is abundantly clear that the plan is a flagrant war footing."

Then there's Russia's UN approved security proposal that's quickly gaining favor between Gulf nations, with even the Saudis holding back channel talks with Iran. ICYMI, here's Zarif's important interview with al Jazeera where he promotes its great potential. Cunningham reports the points Russia emphasized during the Proposal's delivery oat the UN:

"Dmitry Polyansky, Russia’s acting envoy to the UN, set forth a multilateral security concept. He emphasized that the partnership would be a genuine international coalition acting within the framework of the UN Security Council. The proposal, which China has backed, would include all stakeholders for the safety of shipping through the vital Persian Gulf, including Iran. This is surely the way to go towards de-escalating the dangerous tensions in the region. The key is that any such initiative must be formulated in keeping with UN principles and international law. It is not for one, two or three nations to assume the role of naval 'policemen' in an area of international waterways. Even if we take Washington’s rhetoric about 'protecting shipping' at face value, its deployment of force in the Gulf is an illegitimate assumption of power. It is outside UN principles and without Security Council mandate. In a word, illegal."

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 15 2019 21:23 utc | 19

Thanks TTG!

Posted by: gollyjee | Aug 15 2019 21:43 utc | 20

I doubt we'll see a cauldron south of Khan Shaykhun. The SAA will leave a corridor for the rats to run north to fight with the other rats slowly building up pressure on the Turkish border, so that Erdogan will either have to turn on his erstwhile allies and kill them or allow them to cross into Turkey. Either way Erdogan is going to suffer.
BTW, the precursor to deep battle was most likely the Hundred Day Offensive on the western front where the British Empire and French forces applied combined arm forces to eviscerate the Imperial German Army and break through the Hindenburg Line. Unfortunately, military technology was not advanced and reliable enough to allow the breakthrough to be exploited and most western politicians were to dumb to understand the importance of visibly defeating the Imperial German Army. With WW1 being the war to end all wars, the British unlearnt the lessons they had so painfully learnt in France but the Soviets didn't

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Aug 15 2019 21:51 utc | 21

@19 the SAA is made up of Alawites, Shia, Christians, Drues, Sunnis.

Posted by: Jason | Aug 15 2019 21:55 utc | 22

Any analysis about the release of the Iranian oil-tanker in Gibraltar, America's last-ditch efforts to derail the proceedings and Iran's pledge not to violate EU sanctions and to not ship oil to Syria (or at least that's the way the Beeb is framing it).

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Aug 15 2019 22:06 utc | 23

British propaganda can frame it however they like, but the EU sanctions have no legal jurisdiction over Iran, nor any nation not signed onto the EU sinking ship. Whatever "pledge" they think Iran made in regards to shipping oil to Syria is as meaningful as the seizure of the tanker was legal. Good luck with that ole blighty! lol!

Posted by: BBC is poison | Aug 15 2019 22:14 utc | 24

The one thing that is clear in the whole situation is that the Brits blinked and America failed. Should be a song.

Posted by: BBC is poison | Aug 15 2019 22:16 utc | 25

"... To support the push from the south additional fronts must be opened west of Aleppo along the M5 and from Latakia in the west along the M4 highway through Jish ash Shugur and on to Saraqib. The battle to breach the frontline in Latakia has been ongoing for some time but a decisive breakthrough has yet to be achieved ..."

If MoA barflies are familiar with this documentary "Undercover in Idlib" made by Jenan Moussa in 2017, they will know that Jisr al Shugurr [Jish ash Shugur in the quote] is dominated by foreign jihadis from Central Asia and Xinjiang province in western China. The jihadis (mostly Uighur) from Xinjiang are said to be the most dangerous and fanatical.

Incidentally when she made the documentary back in 2017, Jenan Moussa was a supporter of anti-Assad opposition forces. She has recently been documenting her travels in northern Syria among Kurds and others and has visited Raqqa among other places in mid-2019. One hopes she's grateful to the SAA and their allies for clearing out most of the areas where she's been travelling.

Posted by: Jen | Aug 15 2019 22:35 utc | 26

Just a little off-topic news: the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media has released its report on how the OPCW deliberately falsified the interim and final reports of the Fact-Finding Mission in Syria (FFM) on the Douma chemical weapons attack incident in April 2018, and that FFM reports on three previous CW-attack incidents (in all of which the FFM was led by the same team leader) also ignored or omitted evidence that suggested these three attacks had also been staged.

The full report can be viewed at this link. A summary of the report can be viewed at Off-Guardian.org.

Posted by: Jen | Aug 15 2019 22:49 utc | 27

BBC is poison @31 & 32--

Zarif and Iran's London Embassy said the following:

"Our London Embassy note to UKFCO:
-Protested the illegal detention of Grace1;
-Repeated public statements about destination; &
-Made it crystal clear that EU sanctions do NOT apply to Iran—a position shared by most Europeans.

"Nothing changes the fact: detention was 100% unlawful."

What is it about the Anglosphere and its predilection for prevarication? Were all of its leaders and diplomats traumatized as children and lie as a compulsive defense mechanism? Or is it that they're afflicted with Pleonexia?

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 15 2019 22:53 utc | 28

"What is it about the Anglosphere and its predilection for prevarication? Were all of its leaders and diplomats traumatized as children and lie as a compulsive defense mechanism? Or is it that they're afflicted with Pleonexia?"

It could well be the case. I think at this point it is pure desperation. Lying to others and ultimately to themselves is all they have left. The world has already changed and the old stratagems and devices don't work anymore. The Brits in particular never were able to go softly into that post imperial "good night". Now America is struggling with its own demise. It is almost painful to watch such hubris filled buffoons fall flat on their faces...well almost.

Posted by: BBC is poison | Aug 15 2019 23:02 utc | 29

#13 dontbelieve
"PS: Even Pat Lang calls you a "brilliant military analyst" even though you are a "one sided" "Anti-American" in general for him..."

agreed on the first point, brilliant of b.... what Lang really means in the second part is the bernard is consistently anti-imperialist and anti-US empire.

I see nothing wrong with that. why would anyone with reason and sense these days be pro-US after taking a good look at the chaos, war, torture, regime change, sanctions, surveillance, and suppression of democracy and basic human rights that the US promotes consistently worldwide in pursuit of maintaining and expanding its "full spectrum" domination of the world through media, economic and military means

being "one sided" in this case really means being consistent with one's own principles

my hat's off to b and his consistently good research, reasoning and reporting
(and I do like reading many at Lang's site too, by the way)

Posted by: michaelj72 | Aug 16 2019 1:01 utc | 30

karlof1 @35,

Well, yes, sadomasochism runs deep in English culture and all power is based in lies, not least nobility itself. The more people can be made to believe a lie, the more likely they are to rearrange material and relationships to make the lie more true.

Posted by: Jonathan^-1 | Aug 16 2019 1:14 utc | 31

Ghost Ship@29
Maybe the reason the lesson didn't take in the UK was that the Hundred Day offensive was led by Canadians, whose General began the war as an Insurance Salesman serving part time in the militia. In the UK the cult of the Gentleman/Courtier Soldier, exemplified by the hapless Haig, was re-established. No lessons were learned by the men at the top and by 1939, the British Army was ready, at last, for 1914.

Posted by: bevin | Aug 16 2019 1:25 utc | 32

Great sitrep b, txs. Also kudos to ANNA news for their reports.

Posted by: Lozion | Aug 16 2019 3:22 utc | 33

Thanks jen for that information about the faked chemical attacks. As with this, b's ongoing attention to the Syrian army's tactics in securing their country and supportive comments thereto, the information provided at this site is cumulatively outstanding. I hope those that can afford to do so will support b's efforts. I only have words, unfortunately - words, but prayers also, as for the brave Syrians who are taking their country back, inch by inch.

I'm not consistent - just wished nonviolence upon the student protesters in Hong Kong, but the situations are different. Violent people are infesting and menacing an entire civilization and it has been a long hard battle to remove them, after peaceful tactics have failed.

Posted by: juliania | Aug 16 2019 3:38 utc | 34

Below is the complete posting from Xinhuanet about the latest movement in Syria

"
DAMASCUS, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army will storm the key town of Khan Shaykhun in the northwestern province of Idlib within hours, a military source told Xinhua on Thursday.

The Syrian army has captured several towns recently, and is close to Khan Shaykhun in the countryside of Idlib, the source said on condition of anonymity.

He added that the army has started targeting the rebel positions inside Khan Shaykhun as a prelude to the attack.

According to the source, the progress will allow the army to tighten the noose on the rebels in the towns of Al-Lataminah and Kafr Zita in the nearby countryside of Hama Province in central Syria.

The Syrian army is now two km from Khan Shaykhun, the source noted, adding the preparations are underway to storm the town amid shelling on the rebel poisons and clashes in the farmlands in the west of the town.

Khan Shaykhun is regarded as the main bastion of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, umbrella group of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front in the countryside of Idlib.

Advancing on Khan Shaykhun and nearby areas in the southern countryside of Idlib will allow the army to secure the main road between the capital Damascus and Aleppo Province.

Idlib, as well as the northern countryside of Hama, are included in the de-escalation zones' deal that was reached between Russia and Turkey last September.

The deal, however, has largely failed despite several attempts to revive it.

The latest attempt to fix the deal took place earlier this month when Turkey and Russia mediated a fresh cease-fire in Idlib, which failed quickly with the resumption of the military showdown.
"

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 16 2019 4:30 utc | 35

Below is another complete posting from Xinhuanet about the status of the Turkey/US "safe zone" in Syria related to all this.....take special note of the last name of the US commander of the effort

"
ANKARA, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Turkey will not tolerate any delay from the U.S. over the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria, Turkish foreign minister said on Thursday.

"They [the U.S.] first need to be sincere and need to understand that Turkey won't tolerate delaying tactics," Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a joint press conference in Ankara with Nabeela F. Tunis, his counterpart from Sierra Leone.

The U.S. stalling tactic on Syria's Manbij will not work on the safe zone issues, Cavusoglu said, adding that the U.S. continued "to provide aid to terrorists in the region."

His comments come as a delegation led by Lieutenant General Stephen Twitty, the deputy commander of the U.S. European Command will visit the southeastern province of Sanliurfa.

According to defense ministry, Twitty will supervise the establishment of the joint operations center as part of the effort to organize the safe zone.

On Aug. 7, Turkey and the United States delegation agreed to jointly set up a safe zone in northern Syria.

According to a statement from Turkish defense ministry, Turkey and the United States will establish a joint operations center in Turkey to manage the creation of a safe zone in northern Syria. It was not immediately clear how and when the zone would be created.
"

Posted by: psychohistorian | Aug 16 2019 4:48 utc | 36

Superb article.

The historical context on deep battle, as well as the superb analysis of the ongoing dynamic is the best Syria breakdown I've seen anywhere.

No wonder Bernhard's star is rising. The massive targeting by NGO trolls lately shows they are scared of this man's pen.

Bravo.

Posted by: flankerbandit | Aug 16 2019 5:09 utc | 37

re: karlof1 | Aug 15 2019 18:40 utc @6

Thanks for the 'heads-up' regarding *Paveway IV* 's comment.
Yeah.
Paveway IV is pretty damngood. As an 'aside', both Paveway IV and I got banned at Zerohedge a few years ago, while criticizing a story about Iran. Paveway IV never made an attempt to re-materialize there again @ZH.
Anyway,
I disabled my ghostery-block just to read his DISQUS comment.
I always block DISQUS for the past 2-3 years. Why? After I learned it was....a specific american's ABC:agency's creation.... it's blocked!
So.
If I may(cut & paste), here is Paveway IV's excellent comment:
" Pave Way IV • a day ago • edited

"...10 villages in the Syrian province of Raqqah have signed a reconciliation agreement..."

The important one is Tabqa, of course. CENTCOM is busy building out Tabqa Air Base to supply and protect SDF, al Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist allies. We have one of our powerful SPY-x phased-array radars set up there with satellite feeds direct to Israel. It can see all of central Syria. The US/SDF will never leave the stolen Tabqa AB other than by force, even though it's now completely cut off from SDFistan.

Tabqa AB is the one that the ISIS boys carefully bulldozed mounds of dirt on the runways and taxiways so they couldn't be used. I guess ISIS was trying to preserve the infrastructure for the ISIS f'king air force and commercial airlines. These are the guys that can build and endless supply of VBIEDs with two-tonnes of U.S.-supplied C-4 each. They blow up everything they don't need or can't sell, and damn sure would have seen Tabqa AB as more of a threat than anything. But not destructive runway cratering, no massive explosions in the hardened shelters, no giant holes in the taxiways...nothing. One-meter-high piles of dirt and a few broken-down trucks. It took the US about two days to clean the runways and taxiways off after SDF (=US SOF) 'liberated' the base from ISIS. It's kind of like ISIS had intended to (=was ordered to) preserve the 10,000' runway and the rest of the air base infrastructure. How about that?

F'king CENTCOM ISIS-supporting traitors and your neocon Zionist backers in Washington DC. If they ever restore the U.S. Constitution, then we'll surely see the day with your chained to a post, pissing in your pants and begging for forgiveness... in front of a military firing squad about to make you pay for your treason. Don't worry, you dishonerable fucks- you'll get a proper burial with full military honors - IN TEL AVIV."

X-

Posted by: Veritas X- | Aug 16 2019 5:42 utc | 38

Is The great super power or a PAWN?

Iranian Vessel Grace I
PRESS STATEMENT

MORGAN ORTAGUS, DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON

AUGUST 15, 2019

The United States assesses that the M/T Grace I was assisting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) by transporting oil from Iran to Syria. This could result in serious consequences for any individuals associated with the Grace I.

Posted by: arata | Aug 16 2019 7:57 utc | 39

Autopsy finds broken bones in Jeffrey Epstein’s neck, deepening questions around his death

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/autopsy-finds-broken-bones-in-jeffrey-epsteins-neck-deepening-questions-around-his-death/2019/08/14/d09ac934-bdd9-11e9-b873-63ace636af08_story.html

Posted by: onlooker | Aug 16 2019 8:24 utc | 40

wait, so what happens to civilians when the jihadi's retreat back to towns? do they get killed by the terrorists or do they have to endure bombing from SAA & Co. ?

Posted by: hublot | Aug 16 2019 9:18 utc | 41

karlof1 #19

uncle tungsten here, and I can assure you I did write 15 and 17 and I sincerely apologise for my rough proofreading and capitalising. I am slightly non-conformist hence my presence at MOA and my great appreciation for b.

Thanks Jason and I think it is Druze. But who cares comrades we get the message and I am not going let the imposters blur my appreciation for karlof1 good thoughts here.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Aug 16 2019 9:37 utc | 42

Thanks psychohistorian #35, there is a long way to go between Khan Shaykhun and Aleppo though. I would think that journey could be difficult.

I guess that the strategy would be to control the M5 north of Khan Shaykhun and turkey shoot any travellers on it. Keeping that cauldron bottled up while they overrun and eliminate the Turkish supplied killers in North East Latakia would be their equal priority.

The Russians sure are p!ssed off with the constant niggling from that quarter and the SAA needs to close that entire border with Turkey asap all the way north. Turkey is clearly playing off all sides and especially wants Trump to 'give' them Idlib just as he 'gave' Golan to the Israeli occupiers of Palestine. Shutting down Turkish supply lines has to be a serious strategy IMO and to that end we could see an SAA advance westward from Aleppo if resources permit.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Aug 16 2019 10:43 utc | 43

Good progress by the SAA. We owe them a lot, cleaning the gene pool.
Big kudos to ANNA news been on the ground since forever doing epic work in Syria.
Go the boys!
It's ok to show some zeal in the face of NATO terrorists getting smoked b.

Posted by: Jezabeel | Aug 16 2019 11:06 utc | 44


Veritas X- 38 posting Pave Way IV Will Tabqa AFB become America's Dien Bien Phu?

Posted by: Tom | Aug 16 2019 11:36 utc | 45

I'd love to see the Russian Navy escort the Grace 1 to Syria. C'mon Vlad!

Posted by: L'Akratique | Aug 16 2019 13:06 utc | 46

> uncle tungsten here, and I can assure you I did write 15 and 17
> and I sincerely apologise for my rough proofreading and capitalising.
> Posted by: uncle tungsten | Aug 16 2019 9:37 utc

no, you did not....
not in that sense.

Take a look at another post, namely at what is now "Posted by: viking3 | Aug 15 2019 20:45 utc | 16" - the text however is reply to someone's comment #19.

That betrays that once upon a time there above were at least four (or more) other comments that were deleted later.
And so, UT, your comments that are now #15 and #17 had originally different numbers.
And the #15 and #17 mentioned above were not your comments, but some other parties' ones, now deleted.

I want to ask B to prevent re-numbering when he deletes, it is very confusing!
If this forum does not have means to explicitly fix comment numbers, then perhaps refrain from deleting offensive comments but hide them? Or something else.
The occasional chaotic renumbering indeed confuses.

And while I seem to easily detect this confusion and make myself a notice that comment numbers in this post no more mean much, there are contributors who are caught off guard completely time and again, and take upon themselves things told about very different persons. So, if this forum can not be turned from flat structure into tree-based discussions, then perhaps the numbers can be somehow preserved across deletions?

And as a stopgap, I would suggest all barflies to cease themselves and to discourage others from using comments numbers henceforth. While it is much more hassle, but it also would be much more reliable to refer timestamps instead of numbers. The timestamps would not be re-arranged when B recovers or deletes comments mid-stream.

Posted by: Arioch | Aug 16 2019 14:58 utc | 47

I see b has culled most.

Building onto my comment now @19 is this Strategic Culture editorial endorsing Russia's collective security proposal that ends with the following observations:

"Surely, if any party cannot support such a reasonable proposition, then the telling question is: why not? A negative response strongly suggests there is a disingenuousness about putative 'security concerns', and that an ulterior, sinister agenda is actually at play....

"As Russian envoy Dmitry Polyanksy told the press conference at the UN recently it is incumbent on Washington to return to the nuclear accord. Until then, for Washington to pose as some kind of security arbiter in the Middle East is too ludicrous for words." [My Emphasis]

Note the writer chose to mention not just the Persian Gulf but the entire Middle East. IMO, that is a very important point as it makes eminent sense for the Persian Gulf proposal to be the first part of a larger construct dealing with the entire region including Occupied Palestine from where the ultimate source of regional tensions emanate. The view Palestinians have put voice to--that the Outlaw US Empire no longer has any credibility as a neutral broker/regional peacemaker--is echoed by the majority of the region's nations, while Russia's success at using its novel reconciliation process has helped advance Syria's recovery, reduced overall casualties and damage to infrastructure, and provides a potential model for an overall collective security/peace plan agreeable to all except perhaps the Zionists.

In closing, here's Canthama's update from 17 hours ago, which notes at the end why the news on the advance will likely slow down:

"Keep an eye on M5, actually parallel to M5…Madayah is under the SAA and it is heading north to Karfanbel-Marraat al Numan, the SAA is most likely attempting to create a massive cauldron, from Marraat al Numan and the nearby Abu Duhour airbase, all the way down to al Lataminah, the terrorists will receive what they deserve inside this massive cauldron, if the brainwashed cannibals decided to stay and fight, then they will all die, otherwise the SAA will be able to liberate a huge chunk of territory with this action.

"Important to alert that the Tiger Forces have entered into their normal MO…silence for what they are doing, there will be announcement only after it happens and with a small delay, this action is important due to the TFs penetration deep into Idlibistan/Erdoganistan/Wahhabeastan…expect good news soon."

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 16 2019 15:16 utc | 48

One more, but perhaps overly techie, way would be for B to insert into this forum styles, and before that for the barflies to insert it into custom styles for the MoA site, the following CSS rule:

< style>
div.comments-body a[name]::after { content: " Persistent comment ID: " attr(name) " "; }
< /style>

That is how it becomes to look then: https://imgur.com/a/U34VNwZ or https://i.imgur.com/2WfUj7V.png

If one's WWW browser does not provide for custom style rules, neither natively nor by extensions/plugins, one can use active bookmarks like mentioned in https://www.paulirish.com/2008/bookmarklet-inject-new-css-rules/

Browsers of days old had built-in buttons to make IDs visible, sadly no more...

Posted by: Arioch | Aug 16 2019 15:24 utc | 49

Arioch | Aug 16 2019 14:58 utc | 47--

Yes, we had an imposter posing as me yesterday who then usurped UT's moniker as you noted. Perhaps the best way to deal with what's always a potential issue is to do as other's have suggested and what I did above--copy/paste who the reply is to such that the time stamp's included. It's too bad the software makes it easy to impersonate whereas other systems make the user name match with only one email addy and thus prevent such occurrences. Of course, that makes it difficult for commenters to use differing platforms.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 16 2019 15:28 utc | 50

> copy/paste who the reply is to such that the time stamp's included

not only that but explicitly EXCLUDING the comment number, which is unreliable, if B would not somehow make it persistent (and it is almost granted he won't be able)

when you include both timestamp and number we human being tend to go easy way and use number.
so, numbers must be prevented from quoting/use

Posted by: Arioch | Aug 16 2019 15:33 utc | 51

Alternatively, I suggest B would make comment numbers HIDDEN at all - as they are unreliable and would be used by new-gen trolls to confuse barflies and disrupt discussion, exactly by this new tactics to inject garbage to induce harsh replies and then deletion with renumbering.

As the numbers can no more be relied upon - better them become invisible.

Posted by: Arioch | Aug 16 2019 15:37 utc | 52

@ Arioch | Aug 16 2019 15:37 utc [et al.]

This is why we can't have nice things...

Posted by: Anacharsis | Aug 16 2019 15:51 utc | 53

Would "Deleted" inserted into commentary space be far simpler and still conserve the numbering system?

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Aug 16 2019 16:04 utc | 54

Formerly T-Bear | Aug 16 2019 16:04 utc | 54--

Yes, that's certainly the KISS solution, at least from this end. Have no clue as to the difficulty b has in removing comments.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 16 2019 16:25 utc | 55

Since the illegal expansion of Zionistan was the fundamental aim of the Terrorist invasion of Syria, the current hullabaloo caused by the denial of Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib to visit Occupied Palestine has some merit to be included in this thread, IMO. In perhaps one of the most notable developments in awhile, Sanders was the primary politician in voicing protest and proposing measures to deal with the situation. Much of that is contained within or liked to by this article, which makes clear that Sanders has now staked out a position on the issue of Palestine differing from all other declared candidates. This is worth highlighting: On July 8, "CFR invited the Democratic candidates to articulate their positions on twelve critical foreign policy issues before the second set of presidential debates." Those answers can be read here, although not all the candidates were sent the questions or failed to respond as only 12 are included.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 16 2019 17:14 utc | 56

Arioch | Aug 16 2019 15:37 utc

Honestly folks it's not that difficult to simply copy the nickname and timestamp, as I did with Arioch's post here, that never changes.

If you want to do the work you can also grab the URL from the comment number, it is a permanent link to that comment even if the number changes. It's a good way to provide a direct link to a posting on any MoA thread, some do this already. Here's an example.   Just right-click on the comment number and 'copy link', then make a link as explained at the bottom of the MoA comment pages.

Bernhard has recently explained that he won't change the commenting infrastructure, so we must adapt to it. By the way I forgot to thank him for the huge fix where the recent comments list, on the home page right panel, now respects links to 2nd and 3rd pages. A small change but huge improvement!

Just my two cents and sorry for being off topic.

Posted by: jonku | Aug 16 2019 17:24 utc | 57

PRC needs to supply assad with tens of thousands of near to expiry PLA missiles to be used on the 20k Uighur salafis carrying out war in Syria. Besides these same forces are carrying out a social media campaign about the fake one million in concentration camps in Xinjiang.

Posted by: Anon | Aug 16 2019 17:26 utc | 58

...
my hat's off to b and his consistently good research, reasoning and reporting (and I do like reading many at Lang's site too, by the way)
Posted by: michaelj72 | Aug 16 2019 1:01 utc | 30

Yep. I appreciate PL's knowledge of the Constitution + the intricacies of the Administration's pecking order + the role played by the Intel Agencies make him a source worth keeping tabs on. I like his swashbuckling writing style. His regular and occasional contributors are the icing on the SST cake.
The www would be a drearier place without SST...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 16 2019 17:30 utc | 59

Hey!–how come this wasn't reported in the NY Times or CNN? :-D

Posted by: Deschutes | Aug 16 2019 17:37 utc | 60

China via its Global Times has published an editorial detailing its position on enhancing Persian Gulf security:

"The so-called coalition dominated by the US is part of US strategy, which is to comprehensively crack down on Iran. So the truth of such a coalition is Washington lobbying other countries to help it pressure Tehran.

"Some Americans wish China could participate in the coalition as this would mitigate China-US tensions caused by the US-launched trade war against China and would help the US block criticism that the escorts will damage Iran's interests, according to the Voice of America Chinese site.

"This is obviously wishful thinking. Iran is a comprehensive strategic partner of China and China is dedicated to safeguarding peace and stability in the Persian Gulf. Such a coalition would only damage Iran's interests and thus China's. China would not hesitate to send military forces to defend its interests if its vessels sailing in the Gulf are endangered....

"There should be a maritime coalition, but definitely not one led by the US or one meant to serve US strategies. The coalition should actually safeguard the interests of Gulf countries and their legitimate trading partners.

"Washington's arrogance and reckless moves have led to turmoil in the Persian Gulf. As long as Washington doesn't change its mind, uncertainties will linger in the region. The best way out for the tensions between Iran and the US lies in negotiations." [My Emphasis]

As noted elsewhere, China already endorsed Russia's Persian Gulf collective security proposal and echoes one of its major provisions in the next to last cited paragraph. It shouldn't take too much imagination to envision how Russia's proposal could be used by the Saudis and other Gulf OPEC members to escape from the infamous gun aimed at their heads "promise" to utilize the dollars used to purchase their hydrocarbons to in-turn purchase US T-Bills and thus abrogate the Carter Doctrine. The way things are now, the Outlaw US Empire is essentially powerless to do anything about such a turn of events other than to deny it approval by the UNSC through use of its veto, although the treaty would still become reality.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 16 2019 18:20 utc | 61

Guess it won't matter too much if I post this OT--OT comment as it seems this has devolved to a solo commentator thread.

Hard to believe this got overlooked:

"South Korean President vows to 'establish denuclearization' by the end of his term, to host 2032 Seoul-Pyongyang Olympics, and to unify a ‘One Korea’ by 2045."

In a manner that somewhat echoes what's implied in Moon's declaration, China's ambassador to the UK made the following remarks at a presser yesterday:

"'Some Western politicians and organizations have publicly or covertly given various types of support to the violent radicals, and tried to interfere in the judicial independence of Hong Kong and obstruct Hong Kong police from bringing the violent offenders to justice,' Liu said.

"'We urge those foreign forces to respect China's sovereignty and security, immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs, stop interfering in China's internal affairs, and stop conniving in violent offences,' said the ambassador.

"Liu warned that those foreign forces 'should not misjudge the situation and go down the wrong path." Otherwise, they will 'lift the stone only to drop it on their own feet.'

"A handful of extreme radicals have been undermining the rule of law, social order and 'one country, two systems' in Hong Kong under the cover of the so-called 'pro-democracy movement,' Liu said.

"This 'neo-extremism' is both highly deceptive and destructive, said Liu, adding that the priority now is to support the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government in ending violence and restoring order.

"The violent offenders must be brought to justice in accordance with law, said Liu. 'No country under the rule of law, no responsible government, would sit back and watch as such violence rages on,' he said.

"Meanwhile, the ambassador urged western media to shoulder due social responsibilities and 'refrain from pouring oil over the flame in Hong Kong.'"

While the Outlaw US Empire has harnessed Japanese PM Abe to a nose-ring lead and similarly controls some Taiwanese politicos, those facts aren't lost on the peoples of those places nor those elsewhere within the region. Likewise, all Koreans know what force constrains their attempts to join together as one. Given the economic issues and the favoritism displayed by the constraining force, I doubt we'll see the Korean public's current exercise in self-restraint much longer as they know the power of massed political protest can accomplish.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 16 2019 19:33 utc | 62

@uncle tungsten

"Assad enjoys the enapproval of the majority of Syrians of many religions and factions of Islam."

Most of people want to see the government retake the country and the terrorists booted but that doesn't mean the Sunnis or other groups want to fight on the front lines. Christians are a small minority and not as dedicated as Alawites.

If 1/3 of the prime military age men are dead, where are the fresh troops for offensives coming from?

Posted by: trigger | Aug 16 2019 20:22 utc | 63

snake 12
The media is about selling impressions. If the truth supports fine, if not it is suppressed. We have so many examples now of media and govt malfeasance. Syria is a good one but so is Libya. After it was destroyed, the media ignored it.

AnneR 3
This is how the media plays this. A few months ago there was a Syrian/Russian attack on Idlib. DW ran a story. They interviewed a woman who admitted terrorists had the area and that Turkey did not do their job of clearing the area. But she said the main problem was Syria/Russia targeting schools and hospitals. These people are shameless! But it is good to see the pattern and recognize it for what it is. Many believe the media/govt story when they should be informed and reject it.

Posted by: Curtis | Aug 16 2019 20:41 utc | 64

"As Russian envoy Dmitry Polyanksy told the press conference at the UN recently it is incumbent on Washington to return to the nuclear accord. Until then, for Washington to pose as some kind of security arbiter in the Middle East is too ludicrous for words."
karlof1 | Aug 16 2019 15:16 utc

Setting aside rather improbable name of the Russian envoy (Polyansky makes sense, Polyanksy does not), Washington's policy makes even less sense than The Government of Gibraltar. Following Gibraltarian instructions, British marines detained an Iranian tanker with a lot of oil. Few days ago, Gibraltarian court determined solid legal basis for that fact (Brits apparently have no saying on that matter, they just follow the instructions of their colonials like Falklanders, Americans etc.), then they got a stern letter from USA to keep the tankers (or give it to Americans? not clear to me), then they released it, upon which the tanker hoisted Iranian flag (why they bothered with the Panamanian before?) and announced that it will sail to Syria.

All of that leads me to a conclusion that with Gibraltar in charge, ME conflicts could get unexpected and yet logical solutions.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 16 2019 21:50 utc | 65

If 1/3 of the prime military age men are dead, where are the fresh troops for offensives coming from?

Posted by: trigger | Aug 16 2019 20:22 utc

Something has to give. For starters, one has to check some materials about the number of dying soldiers. The size of SAA is too big to comprize non-Sunnis only, and, after all, Syria has conscription. Moreover, ca. 2014, SAA collapsed to some degree and got transformed into a core augmented with local semi-autonomous units that were defending the incredibly long front lines, basically, protecting their own communities against the jihadists. Thus the manpower losses were fairly proportionally distributed among religious sects, even if Alawites, Shia and Christians were over-represented in elite units that did most flashy fighting.

About a year ago Syrian government started to avoid pitched battles and conserve manpower. Once the control of the territory achieved survivable minimum, they improved the life expectancy of conscripts and morale of somewhat reduced military. Local units were probably disbanded or reduced etc. Note that in recent battles, the losses were not particularly huge, SAA can now leverage superior firepower to wear down taqfiris.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Aug 16 2019 22:12 utc | 66

A timely reminder:

"Just a reminder, there are 50,000 Syrian soldiers around greater Idlib that haven’t lifted a single finger yet. So far the operations have been carried out by small select groups. Battle didn’t start yet; we will see after Khan Sheikhoun."

Canthama's of the opinion that the cauldron will be stretched North paralleling the M-5 making it easier to roll it up from the bottom as most resistance will have fled.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 16 2019 22:42 utc | 67

I too am glad to see a piece on Syria from b. The tactical analysis and prognosis in this one is sound and brings clarity to an often murky situation on the ground.
From the strategic and political points of view, I find the MSM's relatively quiet rote recital of the "bombing of hospitals" and "Assad's slaughtering of civilians" claims intriguing. The stories are there, of course, but not featured prominently or presented with much energy - all the focus is on Hong Kong at the moment. Erdogan is relatively quiet as well - something he was not when the SAA was dismantling the terrorists in Daraa last year.
That the SAA has sustained operations continuously since the short-lived ceasefire at the beginning of August is encouraging and signals that patience with Turkey is at an end. I think it is no coincidence that this seeming new determination to clean out the terrorist cesspool in Idlib comes at a time when Turkey and the US are coordinating a "safe" zone in northern Syria.

Posted by: Activist Potato | Aug 17 2019 2:07 utc | 68

Bernhard has recently explained that he won't change the commenting infrastructure, so we must adapt to it.

Posted by: jonku | Aug 16 2019 17:24 utc

He won't change it but he can adjust it to degree unknown to us and dependent on both freedom the vendor leaves to customers and his own or lended skills. So we can list which adjustments we'd like to see. Of course only B knows which of them he would implement.

Skipping number when quoting is the only solution if no adjustments will be made, but it has a downside. We would have to enforce this custom again and again and again, between both ourselves and newcomers. So, if the infrastructure can be adjusted, it would be of help. Alternatively, FTB's "lo tech" solution maybe can be employed by B

Posted by: Arioch | Aug 17 2019 9:06 utc | 69

@Activist Potato | 68
Agree.

But there are other major pieces on the table that Turkey has been desperately trying to negotiate and which have been resolved this last month. Most notably the S-400 issue and inclusion in the F-35 programme of course.
The former has been resolver in that Turkey now has the goods. The latter is unclear - is it moving wholesale to the UK or not?
There are several other key but lesser important 'pieces' that have also been resolved in the last month.
And Erdogan is of course looking after his own in a no-win situation (Who knows what price was paid for the return of Hakan Aslan? - no legal action should paid for F-35s not be delivered?)

I see Turkey's position as much more trying to save what it can from a disastrous decade of foreign policy rather than playing both sides from a point of strength.

Posted by: Atabrit | Aug 17 2019 10:01 utc | 70

...
Skipping number when quoting [citing an earlier comment] is the only solution if no adjustments will be made, but it has a downside. We would have to enforce this custom again and again and again, between both ourselves and newcomers. So, if the infrastructure can be adjusted, it would be of help. Alternatively, FTB's "lo tech" solution maybe can be employed by B
Posted by: Arioch | Aug 17 2019 9:06 utc | 69

I beg to differ. Reproducing the time stamp of a cited comment, but omitting the comment number, is a myopic suggestion. Even on a thread which b has sanitised by deleting comments, the original comment number is a far superior guide to the approximate location of a renumbered comment than the time stamp.

Apart from it not being essential to read a cited comment, the comment numbers are sequential AND proportional. So If one needs to read a re-numbered comment #69 one can go directly to the current #69, check the time stamp and Poster Name and find the cited comment.
The flaw with relying on the time stamp alone is that there's no way of predicting how many comments there have been in each hour, whereas if you're looking for a specific comment # you know precisely where to look.

Btw, I'm NOT saying that people shouldn't be free to suggest improvements to the tech aspects of MoA, but I am suggesting that such suggestions should be based on logic and common sense.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Aug 17 2019 16:04 utc | 71

"the original comment number is a far superior guide "
71 I agree with you.

Instead of deleting, why not just make it blank... Keeping the number.

Posted by: Zico, The Musketeer | Aug 17 2019 16:19 utc | 72

OT OT OT OT! But related... I just read - no links - 1.) in PressTV - that the US "warrant" to seize the cargo of Grace l is dated 16 November 2019. So????? hahahaha I guess. 2.) In RT - Iraq has closed it's airspace to all (ALL) flights which do not have specific clearance/flight plans. Very interesting. I'm wondering the affect this may have on the Turkish/'Murkan plan to seize a "safe zone" in northern Syria. Comments?

Posted by: Miss Lacy | Aug 17 2019 23:30 utc | 74

Advance paralleling M-5 continues with the capture of Tal Al-Nar, which will provide fire control over the area. Map included at link!

More info here and another map with a few observant comments.

Other rumors of homegrown Turkish Grey Wolves terrorists being shipped South into the breech. I wonder if the Turks are still at the OP in Morek?

Miss Lacy @74--

IMO, the Iraqis won't allow any such zone, and such a closure might be related to that. The suggestion alone will increase Iraqi pressure for the total ejection of Outlaw US Empire forces from their nation. There's only one good choice for the Empire--evacuate your equipment and personnel before you can't do either.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 18 2019 0:35 utc | 75

@73

Off topic, should hve posted to Epstein 2. Apologies.

Posted by: ADKC | Aug 18 2019 8:44 utc | 76

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Working...