Government troops continued to advance on Palmyra. And on this and on other fronts there is significant progress, but still is a risk that saving cultural gems counter will again take a hand. And the culprit is equally possible to understand Turkey and the opposition, and the Syrian General staff.
Monday part of the 5th Legion and the 18th Panzer division attacked the positions of militants LIH* at altitudes from gas field Haiyan. If at least one of these heights will be captured from the jihadists and held a relatively long time, it will allow the government army to rely on the release of the entire gas field, which, in fact, one of the flanks of the defense of ISIS at Palmyra.
“The terrorists lost more than 100 positions and infrastructure. How much is “in the heads” is not clear”
In combination with the retention of crossroads Jihar this will create a favorable environment for a possible flank bypass of Tadmor (the residential part) and squeezing out the enemy without being drawn into combat operations in the old city – the same typeface.
Various sources, including the Ministry of defence of the Russian Federation, talking about the importation of militants in Palmyra a large amount of explosives for the destruction of those ancient monuments which they have not had time to raze. This may indicate plans for the abandonment of the city by the jihadists, but for the most part they are such tactical categories do not operate. The destruction of the pagan monuments and religious buildings of pre-Islamic era is the common task that ISIS will carry out, not looking at tactical events on the front around the city.
Attack on Palmyra, though prepared quite a long time, but is practically without air support. Russian aerospace forces, as the Syrian air force concentrated on bombing of ISIS positions near Deir ez-Zor and other jihadists in HOMS province. In recent days, the targets were mostly Suhana gas fields in HOMS and the supporting point of terrorists to the South and East the same field al-Mayadin of Deir ez-Zor.
The local clashes continue almost all of the former front line. Including to the East of Aleppo, where the government army is expanding territorial control around military air base Kuveyris. At the same time, in the province of Deraa had not acceded to the ceasefire groups are negotiating among themselves to create a new coalition whose fighters now make sorties against government forces, and they have to divert considerable forces.
It is already talking about strange or, as some Arab commentators, “angular” situation around El-Baba, which sooner or later will face each other are antagonistic to each other – the Turks and Kurds, government forces and the “free Syrian army” from the former “moderate” coalition.
ISIS continues quite effectively to snap and those parts of the front, where the presence of Syrian government forces, and air support from Russia, at the moment impossible. So, in the past few days, jihadists successfully attacked the Kurdish positions to the East of Raqqa and the Kurdish besieged five settlements near the dam Tobacco. To objectively evaluate the loss of LIH during this entire period is very difficult, but, according to the defense Ministry, the terrorists lost more than 100 positions and infrastructure. How much is “in the heads” is not clear.
Assuming that the Syrian General staff in the moment, immersed in the not quite military task, and trying to avoid a senseless and disastrous for the negotiation process of the conflict around El-Baba (this can be related to a strange “dance” around certain parts, seemed to have taken settlements of the type BSAA), this could again paralyze the protracted offensive in the Palmyra area. In the end, there is long ago prepared, and to pull already placed under the PAL part to the closure of other sectors of the front not true.
If we are dealing with a typical Damascus indecision in determining the main strike and selection of policy priorities, it is some kind of birth trauma, which will have just to accept in the future to record an extra month for “meditation” in preparation for an operation. Typically, this uncertainty ends with the transition of the initiative to the enemy, when the choice becomes natural, and not dependent on those who must make decisions in the General staff. The reluctance to assume final responsibility is another trait of the local political and multilateral negotiations only contribute to blurring the overall picture.
From this point of view, the attempts of remnants in the provinces of Deraa and the Damascus factions to unite in something new and common to be welcomed – in the end steps to create a Union before Damascus, the image of a unified and understandable enemy. The negotiation process with dozens of strange characters exhausting, permanent, complicates the situation greatly and confuses all parties involved, especially Damascus. Military lose a clear guide to action, and they have previously made decisions not too fast, now finally upset. LIH and “al-Nusra Dzhebhat” has not yet evolved to Damascus, the only monsters which could quickly focus. And, for example, “Jaish al-Islam” began to split into dozens of groups, some of which supported the “Astana process”, some went somewhere in the direction of “an-Nusra” and others turned to those who were originally in a tribal militia without accurate ideas about politics and religion. They even the border of their tribal territory are not aware of, and their responsibilities on it.
For all these troubles, we really can lose Palmyra in its cultural understanding. And those things that few people speaks aloud due to falsely understood political correctness, will become a reality: the war for the destruction of our civilization will turn into a very clear, understandable even for those who still believes that the population of Raqqa is the martyrs, groaning under the oppression of ISIS.
* 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”