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Thread: Syrian Proxy War - situation thread

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    Syrian Proxy War - situation thread

    This thread is to discuss general developments and front movements in the Syrian Proxy War.

    The following Map is from 1st May and is as good a general overview as I have seen



    The first obvious thing is the very solid mass of Green denoting Government held areas. Previously these areas were a Polkadot of Green and Orange, with specs of ISIS purple.
    Now, nearly all the isolated and besieged rebel enclaves have been closed.

    In April the big news was the closing of the East Ghouta enclave in the Eastern Suburbs of Damascus. A lot more has happened since.
    There was a large rebel held area in the Desert Mountains North East of Damascus called the East Qualamoun (east of Al Quatayfah) this fell very quickly and the rebels either settling or being bused into Idlib
    There is fighting still going on in the last contested Southern Suburbs in the city. Some FSA held areas have been in long term truce and are largely reconciled or due to be bused out. The heavy fighting however is against ISIS which sprang out of the dust and took over the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee Camp and were slowly expanding their presence against the other rebels (whihc is why they have pretty much given up).
    The SAA and Palestinian militias have launched a major campaign in these dense streets and are slowly wiping ISIS out. About half of the territory ISIS held a week ago has now been retaken and the remaining enclave is split in two.
    There are no civilians in this area as most fled when the rebels moved in (The Palestinians have been staunch Government supporters) with the rest fleeing when ISIS appeared.

    The only remaining enclave in central Syria is the Ar-Rastan pocket between Homs and Hama. A major campaign has started here as well, with a lot territory retaken and many less radical groups having already reconciled with the Government. Some FSA groups have been bused out and this leaves the hard core Jihadi'c continuing the fight, although there seems more negotiation than fighting happening at the moment.

    Otherwise the only significant rebel presences are along the Northern and Southern borders.
    The key area is the Northern Idlib centered zone, which is a De-escalation zone guaranteed by the Astana partners. There is some fighting between Government and Jihadis in line with the agreement which to seperate official rebel groups from the Jihadi's. There is actually more fighting between the groups in Idlib than between groups and Government forces.

    Similar situation in the South around Dara'a which is largely quiet. ISIS has a presence along the borders of Israel and Jordan and most fighting here is between ISIS and the rebels.

    One of the more contentious areas is the US held area with proxies on the Jordanian border at AL-Tanf. The US has a base on Syrian territory and trains rebels, ostensibly for fighting ISIS. As Syria and allies point out, the ISIS presence is long gone and so question the ongoing US presence.

    ISIS still exists in the vast Desert stretches of Western Deir Ezor province, although to say they still hold territory is a little misleading. It is more like a large bandit country, where militants are hiding out (with presumably rapidly dwindling supplies) and where the SAA lacks sufficant available man power to comb the area and root them out. ISIS however seems to be morphing into an Insurgency rather than the army it was until recently. ISIS groups have appeared out of nowhere for hit and run attacks, usually to take food, fuel and ammo etc.

    The big issue is now the large swathe of yellow to the East of the Euphrates which denotes the Kurdish/US Coalition areas (SDF) and where the US/UK and others has forces on the ground.
    The SDF has its own ISIS bandit country in the far east along the Iraqi border and faces attacks similar to those faced by the SAA.

    This area is the most potentially dangerous as it pits the US and Nato into the fray against all the major local players. There is growing pro government unrest against the SDF occupation along the Euphrates in none Kurdish areas like Raqqa, that resent Kurdish rule. Clashes are increasing and becoming larger.

    The biggest issue of course is that the US will have to make a big decision in due course as ultimately it will have to choose between the Kurds or its nominal NATO ally Turkey. It has been made clear that it cannot not make a choice and Turkey views the SDF as simply a rebranding of the PKK, which it views as terrorists.

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    It seems like they have made your big decision Sampan,just like they are being paid for,poor old Vlad got taken in and has become the patsy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheepy View Post
    It seems like they have made your big decision Sampan,just like they are being paid for,poor old Vlad got taken in and has become the patsy.
    I am afraid you will need to elucidate and in some detail, for the benefit of the hard of understanding, like me.

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    The Ar Rastan pocket has been retaken. Government forces now control all the formally terrorist controlled towns and have reopened fully, the Damascus to Hama Highway



    The only other main battle front away from the borders is the ongoing battle with ISIS in the Southern Damascus Suburb of Yarmouk (former Palestinian Refugee Camp).
    Here, in very dense and crowded urban streets, ISIS appears to be making a last stand and although being pushed into an ever smaller enclave, continue to resist and force very bloody and costly fighting.
    This does raise an interesting point though.
    This is a fight in dense urban area, against a pariarh enemy, well dug in and fortified, in an area in nearly all real civilians fled many years ago.
    Not one single allegation of the use of Chemical Weapons has been made, by the still very functional and slick ISIS propaganda machine.
    It should make people think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sampan View Post
    I am afraid you will need to elucidate and in some detail, for the benefit of the hard of understanding, like me.
    Didn't they say when IS is defeated they would be pulling out of Syria?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheepy View Post
    Didn't they say when IS is defeated they would be pulling out of Syria?
    That would mean that Putin would have been the only man in the world that believed a word of it!
    I have not met anyone (with an interest in the subject) that has believed anything other than the US trying to stick to the region like glue, once it insinuated itself into the territory.

    US strategy is not difficult to discern. Much of the territory south of the Kurdish homelands, East of the Euphrates, ie Eastern Raqqa and Deir Ezzor, contain some of the largest Oil and Gas fields in Syria.
    By holding these fields and withholding them from the Syrian Government, Damascus suffers a major economic loss, that will have major long term consequences.
    In addition, the very southern tip of South East Deir Ezzor, is the major border crossing from Iraq into Syria and a main transport route for Iranian forces into Syria. The US no doubts hope to use its proximity as a way to restrict or even cut this route.

    The US plan does have a major weakness. It relies of the Kurds and this is Anathema to nominal US NATO ally Turkey.
    Turkey is already very upset with the US and blames it squarely for being behind the failed coup attempt in 2016. ?It is also unhappy that the US shelters and refuses to hand over, the Turkish cleric that Ankara blames for planning the coup.
    On top of this, the US is now sitting next door, arming and training large numbers of a Kurdish group that Ankara views as a terrorist organisation. Like six out of seven dwarfs, they are not happy.

    For Putin, this situation offers a real win-win, but leaves the US with a real Hobson's Choice.
    Option A - leave Syria and watch Assad retake either crush or reassimilate the Kurdish regions as he establishes re control of the whole country and possibly even roll on and retake the Golan Heights backs from Israel, helped by his friends Hezbollah and Iran, who would now have no impediment to their deployment as far west as the Med.

    Option B - stay in Syria and watch Erdogan take Turkey out of NATO and fix firmly into the Russian orbit and lose for the US, any access to the Black Sea and the Bosphorous. Given the good Russian relations with Greece as well, this could see the US locked out of the Agean as well.

    Generally, The Syrian Army has now recaptured all of the ISIS held suburbs in Southern Damascus and this marks an end to the internal enemy enclaves in the main territory of Syria. This has now freed up tens of thousands of military personel, who had been tied up on these previously massive internal front lines.

    Attention is now switching to the rebel held border territories. Not sure which one will be the next offensive, as the pro Syrian media is doing its usual trick of announcing the redeployment of key assault units to multiple and geographically varied locations in as many days.

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    You do know of course,Israel is never going to let the US regime leave Syria,Or accept Iran playing a larger part in world affairs,while using the Saudis as the enemy of my enemy is my friend.But of course once said enemy of my enemy is destroyed then we are no longer friends but enemies again.Now Erdogan who is a leading member of the Muslim brotherhood is making his power play in uniting Muslims worldwide.Which in fairness he seems to be doing a good job of pulling it off from his photo opportunities.
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    As someone who is colour blind the choice of colours on that map leaves a lot to be desired.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lankou View Post
    As someone who is colour blind the choice of colours on that map leaves a lot to be desired.
    ...for those of you watching in black and white, the pink is next to the green. (Ted Lowe)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    ...for those of you watching in black and white, the pink is next to the green. (Ted Lowe)
    It is NOT funny. People who design maps, (and websites,) are supposed to take colour blindness into account because one in four males are colour blind to some degree as are one in ten females.

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