Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Syrian War News Updates -- March 8, 2017



The Independent: Russian, Turkish and US commanders meet to calm worsening Syrian 'proxy war'

Talks held in Turkey after clashes between rival groups of anti-Isis rebels

American, Russian and Turkish military commanders are attempting to deescalate a worsening “proxy war” in Syria but there are concerns orders to stop the violence may not be heeded by rival groups.

Senior generals held a surprise meeting in Antalya after weeks of battles between regime, rebel and Kurdish factions supported by their international backers to fight Isis.

There was little sign of progress after talks between General Hulusi Akar, General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his Russian counterpart Valery Gerasimov.

Read more ....

Syrian War News Updates -- March 8, 2017

Top U.S. general in summit over crowded Syrian battlefield -- Washington Times
U.S. Puts Troops on the Ground in Syria to Blunt Turkish Campaign -- Bloomberg
How Moscow Just Saved Turkey, the US and the Kurds From Duking It Out in Syria -- Sputnik
Turkish PM says must coordinate fully with U.S., Russia in Syria -- Reuters
Two dead in bombing of Syria rebel bastion despite truce: monitor -- AFP
Syrian Army liberates more territory in east Aleppo as ISIS scatters southeast towards Raqqa -- AMN Al-Masdar News
Warplanes bomb east of Damascus after truce declared there -monitor -- Reuters
Syrian Jets Eliminate Over 40 Daesh, al-Nusra Front Militants Near Hama -- Sputnik
Syrian Army Pushes Militants Out of Daraa City Districts -- Sputnik
Syria's Manbij council urges aid for 130000 displaced -- Euronews
Syria’s war has created a “terrifying mental health crisis” for a generation of children -- VICE News
Searching for a light: Syrian children struggle with trauma -- Al Jazeera
The Map That Shows How Complicated Syria's Front Lines Are -- Newsy

9 comments:

László Mikó said...

James, it's almost about time to start conversation about the upcoming Raqqa operation, and how it will be captured. Have you already started to think on it?

James said...

Laszlo,
Quite a lot. Watch the meeting in Turkey.

James said...

Laszlo,
Of the many important things about the Turkish meeting is that there is no official Iranian presence. Perhaps the most important.

War News Updates Editor said...

You know James. I did not even think about that. Good point.

James said...

WNU,
It's kind of like when my family has a reunion and the East Texas relatives don't show up you start calling the hospitals and jail houses.

War News Updates Editor said...

Funny you say that James. I just found out this morning that a good friend of mine in Toronto .... who is also ticket broker and where I get my concert tickets .... and who has not been answering his phone for the past few days .... was in jail because he caught selling hash.

James said...

Laszlo,
In a nut shell, any moves now around Raqqa will be driven by the PR needs of the principals involved. Everyone wants to be there first, but noone wants to take a beating to do it. If it looks tough they'll get the US to go in first or the Russians. The Turks want a parade and the Iranians have got to be pissed.
Everyone it seems is now focused on the coming main event.

WNU,
I bet your friend's family reunion this year will be a lot less fun than in the past.

War News Updates Editor said...

A lot is happening James. I have to be in Moscow in the coming weeks. I am sure I am going to hear a lot from everyone.

László Mikó said...

James:

Sorry for the late answer, I just spent all my time with this Raqqa front. So here is my assumption.


The city of Raqqa is cannot be attacked from the South, because of the river and wetland, which is wide enough, and have very few bridges along it. So this mean the final attack against the city will have to come from East, North or West, so eventually be SDF with US support. So to say, SAA does not have the means to reach the Northern side of the river. They still could have two option, even that they lack (afaik) the bridge laying equipments and exercise, and in theory this could work, but even than they should have do it in enemy territory and under fire, which is a big no no. Or if SAA capture the city of Tabqa, than SDF could let SAA forces through the dam, which could be possible scenario, but this depend on how fast SDF advance into the Raqqa, or do they need SAA help or not. If SAA cannot take part in the offensive against the city, they still could come handy in support role. From the south side of the river, about 3-4km , there is the "border" of the river's valley, and this is actually a good overlooking position, but it's not enough for direct fire support, the view from it only extend to the border of the city, and to the lower riverside areas, which could help the SAA advance in the South side wetland, but nothing more. If we looking at the Raqqa offensive from this point, than it looks that SAA have very minimal to gain from participating in it, and their goals limited to the South side of the river, and area between Al-Bab and Tabqa (the Tabqa AB is reportedly been very heavily damaged, both by IS forces to preempt it's further use, and also by Coalition airstrikes, so it have little to none importance in the ongoing events other than PR).


We also know more about the newly deployed US forces. We know that the Stryker group was from the 75th Rangers, and the artillery is from 11th MEU, I believe the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, and they brought M777s and HIMARS with themselves as to support the operation against Raqqa. The problem with this is that the M777 have a limited ~25km range, and to reach the whole city, it need to be deployed very close to the city, and SDF this close only in the NE area, where they managed to advance to the borders of 17th Division Base, and ever since SDF expanded their zone of control toward the South, on the riverside, so it must be in good protection. The offensive against the city will be just a grinder, with no overlooking points, no helpers, very heavily urbanised area of about 20-25 km2. As far as I seen SDF, they not really have the means to this fight inside the city, but it still can be manageable. The question is how much IS fighter remained in the city, and how much more could come from the Southern areas (Homs, Tadmur, Tabqa) to reinforce the defenders for their last stand. Dating the liberation of the city to this Summer is totally based on reality, but the main question is still, how the SAA will move now.