On Thursday, the Russian defense Ministry held a meeting on the situation in Syria, which was addressed by defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. From the abstract of his report, the conclusion suggests itself: as soon as Syrian government forces backed by Russian military forces plan a major military operation to storm and take control of second importance to the Syrian city of Aleppo.
photo: Gennady Cherkasov
The main provisions of the speech at the meeting of defense Minister Sergei Shoigu actually concerned the justification as to why the Syrian army together with the Russian group are forced to proceed to such drastic action, and how it should operate.
In particular, the Minister reported increased in recent months in Aleppo and the ISIS militants “Dzhebhat EN-Nusra” (banned in Russia organization “MK”). This is especially true of the last two weeks, when, according to him, terrorist attacks have killed more than 500 people and 2 thousand wounded.
The Minister said that in this regard the President instructed to assist the Syrian authorities in conducting large-scale humanitarian operation to save the people of Aleppo. He then described how it planned to implement this operation.
First, members of the Center for conciliation of the warring parties, together with the Syrian authorities Shoigu ordered to open three humanitarian corridor for civilians who find themselves actually held hostage by the militants. To inform the population about the possibility of withdrawal from the besieged city, the Minister instructed to print leaflets showing the routes and circuits output, to send the inhabitants of Aleppo SMS with the indication of routes and communicating with speakers.
Secondly: given that the United States has not provided Russia with information on the division of the groups “Dzhebhat an-Nusra and units of the free Syrian army, the Minister ordered to open one — fourth corridor in the North of Aleppo in the direction of the route Castello “for safe exit of militants with weapons.”
Thirdly: as said Sergei Shoigu, “at the personal request
Secretary of state”, he ordered to send to Geneva the chief of the Main
the operational Directorate of the General staff of the armed forces General Gadzhimagomedova for interaction and coordination with the West joint action in Syria.
Here, at the meeting Sergei Shoigu, was immediately appointed to be responsible for specific areas of operation. So his Deputy — the main person serving in rear of the army Dmitry Bulgakov, he instructed personally to organize humanitarian aid in the city, orders to the people of the city, which is besieged by militants, were landed from the air, medicines, daily necessities, food, means of care of children and the critically ill.
Deputy defense Minister Anatoly Antonov responsible for international cooperation, mandated to build cooperation with international humanitarian organisations to provide aid on the basis of the agreements reached recently in Geneva and Moscow. And the ACTING chief-of-staff Sergey Rudskoy ordered to report “on cooperation with the Syrian authorities for the opening and security of humanitarian corridors”.
What can be said in such a resolute and concrete actions of the Russian defense Minister? Apparently, the fundamental solution to finally turn the tide in Syria in favor of Damascus, relying on the support of Moscow.
If you remember the cases (for example the war in Chechnya), when the military organize humanitarian corridors for the population of the major settlements, the answer is obvious: to ensure that before major military operation to avoid large casualties among civilians. Why are output including the militants — is clear: the smaller the city the forces of the enemy, the easier it is to take.
Based on this, can we regard the speech of the Minister Shoigu as a formal request to the assault forces of Damascus and Moscow are strategically important for the Syrian government of the city of Aleppo? With this issue of “MK” asked one of the leading experts on Syria, the Director of the Center for the study of the Middle East and Central Asia semen Bagdasarov:
Over these few months, until a truce was declared, opposition groups, jabhat an-Nusra and affiliated organizations used the transitions Azaz and Jahl, Abrus for the transfer of Turkish territory in Aleppo from 8 to 12 thousand fighters with the appropriate weapons and equipment, then moved in a counter-offensive. Now the Syrian authorities, realizing that Aleppo will still have to take, prepare in this direction a serious military operation.
Before the war, Aleppo was a city-“trimillennium”, now according to various estimates of the civilian people there were from 250 to 300 thousand people. Exactly why are these humanitarian corridors so that we could leave the civilians. Well, just in case given the opportunity to leave those militants who want to leave the combat zone. But where will they go? They will leave or in Idlib, which is close by and is controlled by jabhat an-Nusra, or in the direction of Turkey. After the start of the military operation.
But there is another question: Aleppo, of course, possible to take, but are not blocked crossings in Turkey a’zaz and Jahl, Abrus, especially Azaz. Not blocking them, it will be very difficult to conduct a military operation. However, the decision on its holding, it seems, finally accepted.
It should be understood the strategic importance of Aleppo: it is the second largest city of Syria — its economic capital. The center of the Governorate of Aleppo is North-West of the country, 40-45 km to the Turkish border. The one who will control Aleppo, he will control the whole North-West of the country. But in this case you will still have to return to the question of transitions Azaz and Jahl, Abrus – they need to close. And there it will be very difficult. But I hope that these positions will be able to coordinate with Kurdish troops — and there, in the North, there are enough serious Kurdish forces.
So many questions here. Including interaction with the so-called quasi-government called the Federation of Northern Syria, which controlled a significant part of the province of Aleppo. And that in Geneva to coordinate action forwarded to our military, says that in Syria in the near future may have major contradictions between us and the Americans. They already have. Americans support the so-called Federation of North Syria, armed groups or the so-called Syrian democratic forces are now fighting in Momiji and moving in the direction of JAL Abruse and Azaz, to combine the three Kurdish cantons.
In fact there are now formed the new borders of the Federation. Its territory is currently under 4 000 soldiers of NATO countries, half of them Americans, the rest of the servicemen from Denmark, France, Germany and the UK. For two months for opposition groups, they were forwarded 150-200 ton military cargo of NATO. So any inconsistency in the organization of hostilities in this region can lead to very bad consequences.
It is very important to understand their areas of responsibility. It is clear that the units of the Syrian democratic forces, supported by the United States, will seek to take their own Jahl, Abrus and Azaz, to unite with the Afrin. In this case, about 90 km Syrian-Turkish border will be monitored by the Federation, or in other words the Syrian Kurds. The Syrian government will remain under the control of only a small piece of this border. But since we are on the side of Damascus, in connection with that immediately raises a lot of questions about how to act.
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