Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The 'loop'

"Syrian Army’s Creeping Offensive On Idlib. Neverending Ceasefires Explained" (Southfront):
"In general, the loop looked the next way:
  • Turkey, Russia, Damascus and the Turkish-backed ‘opposition’ agree on de-escalation efforts and the separation of “terrorists” and “moderate rebels”;
  • “Moderate rebels” do not separate from “terrorists”. Attacks on army positions across the contact line continue. Leaders of Idlib militant groups claim that the ‘bloody Assad regime’ is terrified and vow to crush the regime and its supporters;
  • The army and the Russian Reconciliation Center open humanitarian corridors allowing civilians to leave Greater Idlib. Militants try to prevent this sabotaging the effort. Despite this, some people leave;
  • Government forces launch an offensive delivering a blow to militants and liberating a notable chunk of territory;
  • The ‘international community’ and mainstream media report about numerous atrocities of the army against forces of the young Idlib democracy. Turkey and Russia agree on another ceasefire. The situation repeats.
At the first look this approach looks contrary to a straight logic. It is hard to imagine that somebody believes that the real ceasefire and political settlement is possible with al-Qaeda as one of the key powerbrokers on the ground. Nonetheless, it leads to apparent results: more and more civilians are being evacuated from Idlib and the Syrian Army liberates more and more areas. During the December offensive, even Hayat Tahrir al-Sham supporters had a suspicious that something was going wrong. In these conditions the main question is that how many such ceasefires will be needed to get rid of all radicals in the region?"
Comment by Larchmonter445:
"This is how the Russian General Staff has managed the entire war. Nothing new. Brilliant preservation of men and machines. Excellent use of reconciliation for true rebels vs the jihadis. Many rebels have sworn allegiance to Syria and joined the fight against AQ and ISIS. Also, the ceasefires allow humanitarian aid, so the civilians see Russian MPs and medical services, as well as get water and food to the people, and in many case escort them to safe zone where they get housing and other government services.

How long will it go on in Idlib? Consider the enormous underground networks build since 2011, not just bunkers but ten kilometer long tunnels wide enough for side-by-side Toyota pickups to drive jihadi fighters, guns and ammo. Idlib has been the locale where the French and Turks and Qataris spent billions to create a veritable fortress of the province.

It will take all of 2020 to destroy al Nusra and the Uyghurs. There are at least 50,000 fighters there.

The good thing about the “delays” is the Syrian Army grows stronger each day. The civilians see hope for themselves down the road a few kilometers. The Russian ground presence is Chechen MPs, elite Sunni soldiers who the average Syrian can trust. Every advantage is with the Russian-Syrian operational strategy.

Bear in mind that the US and NATO countries will do everything to disrupt the military operations and to preserve part of Idlib as a permanent cancerous sector within Syria."
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