Thursday, March 16, 2017

If You've been Keeping-up with Syria ... Duh! Eh?

If you've been keeping-up with Syria - which seems to have been knocked-out of western media by the murder of the Nork's leader's older 'playboy' stepbrother and the on-going saga of the 'evil that is Trump' - you may have noticed there is little being reported.  But that doesn't mean there is nothing going on.

 If you look at a situation map you will notice that Syria is, now, split into enclaves occupied by the actors of the piece. the Syrian Arab government and its Syrian Arab Army hold the capital and areas around it, they hold a strip of land extending toward the north west corner of the country - fighting is going on in Idlib (west of Aleppo). They have retaken Aleppo and are advancing east on two fronts  into territory held by ISIS.

ISIS territory now extends in a wide strip to the southeast, through central Syria, to the border of Iraq. It contains the ISIS capital of Raqqa and the air base city of Deir ez Zor.  The North Eastern part of Syria is largely held by Kurdish forces of the PKK, they also hold territory south of the Turkish border in western Syria.  It is to prevent the Kurds forming a large enclave along the border, that Turkish forces made an incursion into Syria  "in support of FSA forces fighting ISIS" (coloured green on the map above) .

The FSA ("moderate" rebels)   hold a considerable enclave west of Aleppo and another north of the Jordanian border. They also hold smaller enclves and villages in government-held territory.

An enclave in north central Syria has been invaded from Turkey. The Turks claim to be supporting an ill-defined group of what they claim are FSA fighters and who accompany them on operations.

                                            SFA "fighters" employed by the Turks.

Very recently the  White House announced that a US Marine artillery unit was being deployed to 'Raqqa' to assist FAS forces. There have been other US forces in Syria for some time now. They have taken and control the area around a Syrian Air Force base in the northeastern part of the country. It is possible that these forces are supporting Syrian Kurdish forces, although the PKK is, still,  designated as a 'terrorist organizaton' by the USA.It is reported that both US and Russian forces are located in the same city  Manbij, in  the northeast

US/Russian forces 'eyeball' each other.

In other areas the government has succeeded in removing rebel forces from water sources supplying the cities of Baghdad and Aleppo. Water has been restored to the former and is being restored to the latter.The government continues to be criticized for continuing to attack rebel-held areas in a few of its cities (Homs for example)

In a demonstration of the effect of the war,  a 1 000 man 'legion' (5th) was mobilized by the government,  after completing training, just last week.   It is reputed to have been trained to a highly effective edge by Russian trainers. While that might be the case, one only has to look in the ranks to see that Syria could be at the "Heimwehr'  stage of military population. The 5th Legion is currently part of the force 'stretching the envelope' around recently re-liberated Palmyra.  I'm inclined to  think that a very large number of Syria's fighting-age males are (wisely?) living out-of-country.

No comments: