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– STUCK IN THE SYRIAN MUD

MudJust six weeks ago, by the end of 09/2015, Russia build up in Latakia and intervention in Syria was considered as a game changer. Almost all regional leaders went to Russia to meet and coordinate their moves with the Russian President Vladimir Putin . Now, six weeks later, it seems as nothing has changed – only that the Russians are stuck in the mud.

On 10/22/2015 the the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made his first visit abroad since 02/2011 to Moscow. He received a warm welcome as an equal partner of a sovereign state by Vladimir Putin.  The next day   Hizbullah’s leader Hassan Naserallah gave his first speech outside his bunker in the recent years. As usual he lashed out on Israel and USA, thanked the Russians and said that there is now a substantial positive change in the Syrian war.

By early 10/2015 Syria Bashar’s regime forces launched their first comprehensive offensive with the initial goal to enlarge and consolidate the connection and transportation between Damascus enclave in the South, partly besieged Aleppo in the North and the Alawite enclave on the Syrian Mediterranean coast in Northwestern Syria where Latakia, the Russian base of operation, is located.  

The Russian coalition offensive  was  comprised of about 4,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guard who also provided the command infrastructure of the offensive. Half of the Iranian force was the ‘Fatimiun’ brigade of Iranians from West Afghanistan who speak a different accent. Arab speaking Hizbullah fighters were the spearhead  of the attacks in the most difficult and complicated sections. Assad’s Syrian Army, now manned by Alawites and other minorities in Syria, provided tanks, artillery and mobilization. Elements from Cuba provided logistic and technical support for the armor and tanks and above all, the Russian air force provided cover and fire power.  

Despite some initial success the Russian coalition suffered from language, mentality, coordination  and motivation problems as each element in the coalition acted and behaved differently. The pro-Assad forces suffered also from slow adaptation and accommodation to the battle field relatively to the  opposition rebel  fighters and their huge experience in the specific region. Furthermore pro-Sunni countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar armed some factions with sophisticated anti-tank missiles to stop Bashar’s armor and tanks.

Now, on 11/06/2015, the siege on Aleppo  was tightened even more as rebels seized the town of Morek, on Wednesday 11/04.2015. The town is located on the strategic highway M5 from Damascus to Aleppo about 15 k”m North of Hama . The rebels managed therefore to secure about 20 k”m of the M5 highway as well as other sections. All the transportation between Damascus to Aleppo and Latakia is now channeled to a secondary road, east of M5, among Sunni villages with only poor chance to remain open for long  in the current situation.

The Iranian lost 5 Brig. Generals, including the commander of the  ‘Fatimiun’ brigade  Hossein Hamedani. Hundreds were killed including many Hizbullah fighters. The territory under Bashar Assad’s control shrinked. The Russian coalition also suffers from heavy shortage in manpower and reinforcement  while the Sunni rebels  become stronger.

All the goals of Russia were not achieved, There is a serious substantive threat to the  territorial continuity of Assad’s enclaves, Sunni militants are now targeting Hizbullah in Lebanon, A Russian airliner was downed by the Islamic State in Sinai, the Russian presence in Syria was doubled and Latakia areas, where the Russian base of operation is located, is shelled frequently by rockets.

On thursday 11/05/2015  the Russian government has proposed a seven-point peace plan for Syria, ahead of the next international negotiations cheduled to be held in Geneva starting on 11/13/2015 with the USA, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran   The plan calls for Bashar Assad, two weeks ago an “equal” partner,  to eventually leave power, after the transition to a new government will be made.  The Russian step backward in accepting the basic demands of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and USA and to the disappointment of Iran, just recently the loyal partner in the Russian coalitions in Syria, shows and demonstrates that Russia itself understands it stuck in the mud.

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Related topics ;

10/2015 – NUSRA LEADER REPORTEDLY KILLED NEAR ALEPPO 
10/2015 – THE BATTLE FOR ALEPPO  
10/2015 – THE SYRIAN WAR TURNS GLOBAL 
10/2015 – U.S IN A BID TO RECONDUCT THE AFGHAN SCENARIO  
08/2015 – THE BATTLE OF LATAKIA – THE LATEST STAGE IN THE SYRIAN WAR
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