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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Syrian troops are unlikely to have time to save Palmyra

It goes to the fact that to save the monuments of Palmyra, by UNESCO as the heritage of all mankind, will not succeed. Some of them have been destroyed, some of it just ahead. The Syrian army is moving too slowly and that ISIS militants are already imported into the city-Museum of explosives. Alas, now Damascus has other priorities, but what?

ISIS militants* destroyed the world-famous Tetrapylon in Palmyra. Also destroyed part of the Roman theatre, which last year was held the concert of the orchestra of the Mariinsky theatre under Valery Gergiev. Destruction of antiquities has confirmed, among others, and United Syrian broadcasting company ORTAS, but independent information about the state historic Palmyra yet.

“We have to speak not so much about the military situation, but about the failure of the global war on barbarism”

Earlier it was reported that the terrorists moved to the city a large quantity of explosives. “With the aim of destroying the ISIL terrorists to world historical heritage in the city”, – said the head of the Main operations Directorate of the General staff Lieutenant-General Sergey rudskoy, referring to several sources.

Antiquities did not return. Their restoration in one form or another will have to start with a new starting point, as long as the government forces are slowly but surely deploying a counter-offensive in the General direction of Palmyra. Any significant events on that front are exaggerated enthusiasm and attention, but hurry, the Syrians do not plan to – they’re in their rhythm. Moreover, while the General context of occurrence does not include the actual historic Palmyra and the village of Tadmor – government forces are busy with the expansion of the bridgehead around what is called the air force base T-4.

We are talking about returning control of Damascus part of the territory lost during the hasty retreat from under the Palmyra in December last year. Government forces have regained control of a strategic crossroads Jawhar (however, in the desert any intersection something asphalted – strategic).

It is believed that the Syrian General staff seeks to establish control over gas and oil fields Jawhar economic reasons, but actually it is about creating a comfortable configuration of the front in the desert to further operational attack on Palmyra. This is reasonable – they had all managed to get tired of the fact that government troops are thrown out to the depth of the offensive, leaving the desert completely open flanks on communications. As a result, even a couple of “carts” jihadists, mounted on a nearby dune, fire control is stopped, the supply of the advanced forces.

Because part of the offensive activity of the government troops moved South of Chuvashi all the variants of the base T-4 bare. Presumably, part of the CAA can pass through the desert along a small ridge with heights of Jabal Mahalia and Jabal Umm Jurn, just putting this territory under control, to teach it. The closest relative is the largest settlement in this direction may become al-Barid which release will allow you to extend the operational direction of the offensive on a different car route that runs South of the ridge Mahakaya – Umm Jurn, and this is a very different strategic situation for the whole region.

Base T-4 has now become a reference point for the whole system of defense and attack government troops. You have to understand that this is not just a lonely airfield in the desert, which with some difficulty was placed four aircraft and a dozen helicopters. It is multiple objects of different degree of suitability and a completely different military purpose.

So, to the North and from the South runway are two object air defense, one of which – the Northern – temporarily fell into the hands of ISIS. The video from this object were copied by the jihadists as a “capture the base T-4 with Russian arms”. There are now systems s-125 “Pechora” and further North – an abandoned battalion fortified, and turned into the front.

Government troops are still occupied with winning small settlements around the base system T-4, town and airport Tifor. The offensive in the direction of Palmyra (but not assault “Palmyra”) is probably due to the fact that a considerable force LIH diverted to the fighting at Deir ez-Zor, which gradually become much more dangerous than the situation in other parts of the front. There the initiative is still owned by LIH, which is scary, because the loss of initiative for the Syrian situation and the current state of the government army is very dangerous.

And yet to speak about any significant progress in the direction of Palmyra is not necessary. Especially if we start from the strategic objectives, many of which lie outside military plane. For a while, until the government troops will begin to release directly to the ancient city, and several Assyrian towns around, the terrorists can undermine as much of the ancient buildings and destroy as much artwork as you want.

Now, unfortunately, we have to speak not so much about the military situation, but about the failure of the global war against barbarism. And the blame here almost everything – from the Syrian army and its commanders to the Western coalition. Russian HQs can not and will strike at Palmyra, their support is restricted to operations in the desert, while government forces regularly lose aircraft in this area. And in the situation when the centre of the fighting shifted to the provincial Deir ez-Zor, Palmyra saving will go as a residual. It’s very sad.

* Organization in respect of which the court accepted entered into legal force decision on liquidation or ban the activities on the grounds stipulated by the Federal law “On countering extremist activity”


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