This mental confusion arises after an extremely unexpected and no less suspicious statement by the head of the White House, Donald Trump, about the upcoming withdrawal of the American military contingent from the Syrian Arab Republic. Even more bizarre detail of his official speech to Sheffer Corporation employees in the state of Ohio was the emphasis on the non-existent "superiority of the US military in confronting loyal to the current Syrian leadership formations." Finally, the US leader summed up that "everything will end soon, and after the withdrawal of American troops from Syria, others will have the opportunity to take care of the future situation there."
It is quite clear that only an average Ohio resident suffering from drug addiction (according to these indicators, the state occupies a leading position), but not a sober-minded person, capable of a thorough review of the entire military and political background suitable for the climax, can take such statements at face value. Syrian junction.
Having touched upon the very controversial question of the victory of the US Armed Forces over forces loyal to the legitimate Syrian leadership, Trump apparently tried to achieve two goals at once. First, at least slightly increase the ratings of the current administration, in addition to regularly receiving information from the Pentagon on the application of new missile-bombing and artillery strikes by the Air Force and the USMC on the Syrian militia in Husham and Marrat. Secondly, at least partially to save their face before the American electorate at a time when Syrian theater of war begins to receive very unpleasant reports for Washington about the number of 200's who gave their lives for oil fields in the southern parts of the Deir-ez provinces -Zor and Homs, as well as for maintaining control over the Manbij area. AND
Such reports may begin to arrive in the near future, after announcing a nonexistent victory over all pro-government units in the SAR, the Trump administration will have to prove this in practice, for example, by conducting a large-scale military operation. Otherwise, there will be an extremely unpleasant hit in the "crushing whirlwind" of criticism from both its own influential pro-republican sections of the population and the opponents of the regime. Naturally, option # XXUMX was chosen - a large-scale military confrontation, in which Washington and its allies would try to use all possible diplomatic, military-political, and military-technical tools to get all the available dividends.
As we have already noted in several of our previous works, the likelihood of initiating an escalation of hostilities simultaneously in the Syrian and Donbass theaters is very high, which can be done by our Western "partners" for the overall undermining of the military stability of the Russian Armed Forces in two strategic directions at once. That is why today we are following a kind of chronological symmetry, manifested in the cursory militarization of the contact line in Donbass as part of the new criminal "joint forces operation" headed by Sergey Naev, as well as the simultaneous accumulation of coalition forces in the south of Syria and the east coast of the Euphrates as part of the upcoming attack on territories under the control of the Syrian army. We will leave the topic of the escalation scenario in Donbass for our next reviews, when the start date of the so-called EP and the attack vector of the Armed Forces of Ukraine finally clarifies, and today we return to the Syrian theater of operations, where almost all the operational and strategic contours of the upcoming large-scale collision were drawn.
It is an extremely difficult situation, where Damascus and Moscow, mistakenly giving Erdogan freedom of action in the northern and central parts of the Kurdish canton of Afrin, now have to triple military-technical means to defend the city of Aleppo, which is viewed by the Turkish leadership as the main goal in the governorate of Aleppo. Why triple? Yes, because the majority of the occupied Armed Forces of Turkey and the Free Syrian Army Afrin serves as a strategic bridge for the operational distribution of troops between the Idlib and El Babskim bones in a possible offensive operation on the city of Aleppo. In this situation, plus against the background of the apparent reluctance of the Turkish military leadership to launch an operation to oust the pro-American SDF units from the Kurdish district of Manbij, Moscow was forced to take extreme measures: in the unoccupied city of the pro-Turkish forces Tell-Rifat, as well as in the vicinity of the Menakh airbase in southern Afrin units of the Russian military police were introduced. The Syrian Arab Army transferred artillery batteries to the city armored units to protect against the invasion of the FSA.
But if in the above-mentioned events in the north-west operational direction Ankara can be considered solely as the main threat, then in relation to the Manbij region and the eastern coast of the Euphrates, the Turkish army is partly transformed into an ally of Damascus and Moscow, especially against the background of the events that occurred during the last week.
One of the most significant events is the official inclusion of the “game” on the side of the Paris coalition. It is worth noting that France designated its presence in the Syrian theater of military operations in early June, 2016, when it transferred separate units of the Ground Forces and Special Operations Forces in the number of 150 troops to Syrian Kurdistan. But if then the main reason was the support of the Kurdish “Syrian Democratic Forces” in the fight against the ISIL formations, then today's arrival of an additional contingent in Manbij is argued by the support of the SDF in the face of a possible attack by the Turkish army. But where was the valor of the French a couple of months ago, when not the pro-American Kurds from the SDF who were involved in the Big Game, but the Afrin squads of YPG and YPJ alone fighting for the defense lands? After all, Paris is trying to position itself as the main European fighter for human rights, and the latter were hardly respected when bombing the residential areas of Afrin. We heard from French politicians only “an expression of concern” and useless calls for Ankara to stop the military operation in the Kurdish canton.
The answer is simple: the French military leadership, exactly like the British, sends contingents only to those areas of Syria that are under reliable cover of the Air Force and the United States International Police. And this time, their arrival also coincided with the impending escalation of the conflict between the SDF and the Syrian Arab Army, which could end with the seizure by pro-American forces of vast oil fields in the vicinity of the city of Al-Shula, located near the hottest point of Deir ez-Zor province - "Hushamskogo pocket." Certainly, the French do not want to lose their oil bank in this bloody section of the Syrian territory. Here you have the whole secret of the expansion of the French presence in the territory of the Rozhava (Syrian Kurdistan). Naturally, this plan of Paris does not figure in the Western European media, and can become public only after successful implementation, that is, after the successful “breakthrough” of the SDF units and the “New Syrian Army” created by American instructors on the west coast of the Euphrates. Manbija’s defense against Turkish intervention plays the most recent role in this regard, and also acts as a “benefactor mask” for President Macron in his high-profile statements, and provides an additional opportunity to test advanced weapons on Turkish mechanized units (for example, the new 5 ATGM MMP generations).
Meanwhile, sources in the outraged situation of the Turkish defense ministry managed to publish in the network a reasonably interesting map with the deployment areas of the French military contingent in the territories controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces. At the moment, these areas 5:
- the strategically important Mashtanur hill located in 4 km south of the city of Kobani and allowing to control the two main transport interchanges “Kobani-Karah Khalingjah” and “Kobani-Ruby”, through which the NE of Turkey can launch an attack on the left-bank part of Syrian Kurdistan; this hill has been well-known since October 2014, when many Kurdish fighters, including those from the banned Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Turkey TKP / ML, were killed in battles for it with jihadists from ISIL;
- the city of Sirrin el-Shamaliyah, located near the narrowest section of the Euphrates bed 400 m wide; located on the eastern outskirts of the city, Kirata Kurda Hill makes it easy to control the M4 highway up to half the way to Manbiju, not allowing the Turkish army to go to the highway at a distance of direct visibility, and therefore full fire control;
- Cement plant of the French company "Lafarge" near the village of Kharab Sakk; there is also an altitude near the village of Hajnali, which allows you to control the road fork from Kobani to the M4 highway, which makes the French defense echeloned;
- a powerful fortified / military base of the 93 Brigade of the SDF, located on the southwestern outskirts of the city of Ain Isa; The base also has a height controlling the M4 highway;
- and, of course, the city of Rakka with access to the right-bank “pocket of Et-Tabka” and the adjacent air base of the same name.
Deployment sites of the French military contingent on the eastern bank of the Euphrates
It is noteworthy that this architecture of the location of the French military contingent on the territory of Syrian Kurdistan gives Paris a lot of tactical privileges both in repulsing the Turkish offensive and with the support of an offensive operation in the territory controlled by the Syrian Arab Army. After all, it is from the Tabka and Manbij regions, located on the west coast of the Euphrates, that the VTS detachments, with artillery support from the US and French forces, will most easily realize the “throw” in the direction of Idlib, since there is no need to force the river.
The most unpredictable moment of a possible escalation of hostilities between the Syrian Arab Army and the SDF on the “El Tabka - Manbij” segment in the provinces of Al-Raqqah and Aleppo is how Ankara will behave. The first option for the Turkish regular army and the rebels under its control on the “El Baboon bridgehead” is a possible attempt to forcefully displace the SDF, as well as the units of the French and US Armed Forces MTR from Manbij. This will allow the Syrian Arab Army to concentrate the main defensive "barrier" in the region of Et-Tabki, and direct the rest of the forces to the "smoldering" hotbeds of confrontation in the Deir ez-Zor and Khushamsky pocket. For Damascus and Moscow, this option is the most optimal and problem-free. But one cannot hope for such a scenario, since Turkey is a member of NATO and even in the most critical situation it is unlikely to go into direct confrontation between its “moderates,” and even more so the military with the American and French contingents. So, this was stated by an anonymous source in the ranks of FSA militants still 21 March.
The second option is the most plausible and consists in the attempt of the symmetric offensive of the Free Syrian Army formations, as well as of the Tahrir ash-Sham from the Idlib gadyushnik to meet the advancing Kurdish Syrian democratic forces. In this case, the Turkish barreled and rocket artillery deployed to the Anadan and Saraqiba areas will support the jlib jihadists through a transit point in the city of Reyhanli, and the SDF will cover the coalition forces. Such a picture would require extremely decisive actions from the command and control structure of the Russian space forces both against the pro-Turkish forces and against coalition forces. If everything stops at a diplomatic attempt and “expressing concern”, the FSA and the SDF immediately occupy the districts of the cities of Aleppo, Hanasir and Deir Hafer, dividing them into areas of responsibility. And do not take Recep Erdogan’s ostentatious anti-American rhetoric into account. Ankara is well aware that neither Moscow nor Damascus is planning to voluntarily transfer Aleppo, Khader and Abu-Dukhur into the hands of the FSA. Therefore, it is quite logical that it is much more profitable for the Turkish leadership to reach an agreement with their NATO counterparts about dividing the central and south-eastern territories of Aleppo province approximately to the Deir Hafer borders.
Against the background of the military-political labyrinths observed in the Idlib-Aleppo-Ar-Raqqah area, the forces of the western coalition (mainly the United States and Great Britain) continue the cursory militarization of the 55-kilometer "security zone" in the area of the border town of At-Tanf, as reported 29 March 2018, the speaker of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Maria Zakharova. But if this information was confirmed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about 2 - 3 months ago, a much more eloquent fact indicating the coalition’s attempts to “soften” the positions of the Syrian army in the Iraqi-Syrian border is a sharp activation of the pseudo-calipite formations in the “right bank” LIH. For more than six months after the liberation of Deir-ez-Zor, this “cauldron” on Western tactical online maps did not have a clear classification (it was assigned both the status of a “sleeping” ISIL cell and the status of “uncontrolled territory”). But 28 March confirmed the predictions made in our work more than a month ago.
Taking advantage of the powerful and long-lasting sandstorm that has spread from Sudan and Egypt to Syria, the ISI jihadist detachments from the allegedly “uncontrolled territory” began offensive actions against Syrian government forces in several operational areas in Deir ez-Zor province. Against the background of the impossibility of effective operation of optical-electronic sighting systems installed on armored vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles and Su-34 multi-purpose fighter-bombers (Platan integrated complex), the igilovtsy could easily take the whole oil pipeline section from the pump station without special difficulty T2 station to T3 station. And this is a huge 130-kilometer stretch along all the south-western approaches to the "left bank boiler" of ISIS. If you look at the map of syria.liveuamap.com, you can notice that this pipeline is only 50-km from the At-Tanfa “security zone” controlled by the coalition forces.
Consequently, the unexpected resumption of jihadist attacks on the CAA strongholds is a sort of reconnaissance in force designed to test the military stability of the Syrian government forces along the Palmyra-Haraij route passing through the desert in the southern parts of Homs and Deir ez-Zor. This highway is to be crossed by the US and UK armed forces in the event of a large-scale offensive from At-Tanfa. Conclusion: the actions of the IS formations are closely coordinated with the headquarters of the coalition led by the United States and are one of the stages of the preparation of the seizure of the entire southern Syria.
In this case, the Syrian army was able to return the fortified areas temporarily lost in the above segment, but the inviolability of positions that was observed in Eastern Ghouta and was observed on the Idlib front in battles with oppositional FSAs was not demonstrated. The fact is that the main CAA assault units (Tiger Forces, 5 Corps, Hezbollah and the supporting Corps of Guards of the Islamic Revolution) are not located in the districts of the Т2 and Т3 stations, but are distributed among the districts of the Duma (here the oppositional Formations given 48 hours to exit the city), "Rastan boiler", Dumayr, "Idlib gadyushnik" and the south-western triangle de-escalation "Der'a - Al-Suweida - Quneytra." Such an irrational distribution of forces will not allow the Syrian army to contain the onslaught of the advancing FSA units from the 55-kilometer “security zone” to the northeast.
Significantly more positive dynamics of building defensive front lines is observed in the vicinity of Deir-ez-Zor, which is done to prevent the "Syrian Democratic Forces" supported by French and American MTRs on the west bank of the Euphrates River. To this end, a huge convoy of the Syrian Armed Forces arrived in Deir ez-Zor by March 29, and work began on the construction of numerous checkpoints and opornikov. The special correspondent of “@IvanSidorenko1” reported on his “Twitter” page. This is confirmed by the successful reflection of ISIL strikes in the direction of El Meyadin, where the “branch” of reinforcement from Deir ez-Zor also arrived. Government troops here not only repelled the attack, but were able to organize a local offensive on the El Meyadin - T2 Station route. What is significant, at the time of the attack, the Jihadists at the CAA position at Meyadin, the friendly pro-government units of Hezbollah and the Syrian militia in the neighboring Al-Asharah suffered another artillery attack from the US armed forces deployed on the eastern coast.
In the coming weeks, coalition forces will continue to actively increase the assault groups in Manbidzh, Al-Tabqa, Deir-ez-Zor and At-Tanf, since the Turkish army did not manage to block the armaments and new equipment deliveries to Rozhava near the Iraqi settlement of Sinjar.
Direction of the SAA counterattack after a jihadist attack on Meyadin from the “ISIL right bank”
There will also be several more tests of Moscow’s reaction to massive strikes on the CAA. And, depending on this reaction, a decision will be made on the timing of the launch of a large-scale operation in all operational areas simultaneously. Its preparation can also be judged by a statement made by the head of the IDF General Staff, Lieutenant-General Gadi Ayzenkot, who, in an interview with a local newspaper, unexpectedly announced that the air strikes against the Syrian Arab Republic would soon be resumed. Obviously, our Western "friends" have planned another operation jointly with the Israeli army, which will concern the support of opposition militants near Dara al-Quneitra. The goal is an attempt at the final demoralization and weakening of the CAA by several exhausting hotbeds of hostilities in three or more parts of the republic.