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International Military Review ~ 02 December 2015

The Ukrainian armed forces over the past week have redeployed to the contact line with Donbass 277 battle tanks and heavy artillery pieces, spokesman for the DPR Defense Ministry Eduard Basurin reported on Monday. Ukrainian military hardware is located at the separation line the areas of the cities of Gorlovka, Mariupol and Donetsk. Also, 147 infantry fighting vehicles and armoured personnel carriers, 26 vehicles with ammunition and more than 660 troops are there.

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Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham criticised President Barack Obama’s incremental Islamic State strategy, which relies on airstrikes and modest support to local ground forces in Iraq and Syria, and said the need for greater U.S. involvement was underlined by this month’s Paris attacks. McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, recently proposed intervention in Syria by a European and Arab ground force backed by 10,000 U.S. military advisers and trainers. Whether Syria wants thousands of US soldiers to operate within its borders is of course entirely irrelevant for him.

Mowaffak al-Rubaie, a leader of the State of Law Coalition party in the Iraqi parliament and former national security adviser, says his request from the United States to target ISIS trucks that carry the Iraqi and Syrian oil for sale out of the countries has failed to bear any result as Washington considers them “civilian targets.” “I have personally contacted US representatives asking them to target ISIL trucks transporting Iraqi and Syrian oil to Turkey only to be told that those were civilian targets so they could not attack them,” said Rubaie. Accroding to him, the militant group had made over $800 million dollars in black market oil sales in Turkey over the last eight months.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has announced its readiness to commit ground troops to the fight against ‘terrorist groups’ operating in Syria, the Emirati State Minister for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash stated on Monday. We remember, in the UAE’s first official reaction to Russia’s ongoing aerial campaign against in Syria, Gargash said Moscow was targeting “a common enemy” by striking ISIS and al-Qaeda-affiliated militants.


International Military Review ~ 01 December 2015

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA), jointly with the National Defense Forces (NDF) captured the strategic hilltops of Koum Aqre in the Daraa province. Dozens of Al-Nusra terrorists were killed during heavy clashes on Koum Aqre located near the strategic towns of Kufer Shamis and Al-Shaykh Maskin. Controlling hilltops the Syrian forces are threatening to open a new front against the terrorists in Syria’s western areas.

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About 100 Al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham terrorists were trying to infiltrate into al-Zabadani via the tunnels they had dug from the town of al-Mazaya, but they were pushed back by the Hezbollah fighters located in the sector. According to the pro-government sources, the terrorists retreated. About 30 militants were killed. Al-Zabadani is located 50 kilometers Northwest of Damascus and 12 kilometers Northeast of Lebanon’s Masnaa border crossing. Its location allows the Syrian government to hold control of the border between Syria and Lebanon in the sector.

In the Hama province, the Syrian Al-Qaeda faction “Jund Al-Aqsa” has launched a powerful assault in direction of the ‘Alawi village of Ma’an controlled by the NDF. The terrorists started its advance attacking the villages of Tal Bazzam and Ma’an. Also, clashes were observed at Souran, Al-Tayna, and Al-Buwayda. We remember, the Syrian government lost control of the strategic town of Morek in this area last month.

On November 30, for the first time Russian Su-34 fighter-bomber aircraft went on a mission carrying not only aerial bombs OFAB-500 and guided aerial bombs KAB-500, but with but with short and medium range air-to-air missiles. The missiles are equipped with homing devices and are capable of hitting aerial targets at a distance of 60 kilometers. Russia has started to equip its jets with air-to-air missiles to defend them from some F-16s violating the Syrian airspace.

During the Paris climate talks, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russian authorities have additional evidence that the Russian Su-24 bomber was shot down by the Turkish Air Force to protect oil deliveries of the ISIS terrorist group and that oil from ISIS-controlled fields is being exported to Turkey on an industrial scale.


International Military Review ~ 30 November 2015

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has deployed newly-arrived Russian T-90 advanced battle tanks to the Southern Aleppo front for the first time. The Russian battle tanks will help to continue the SAA advance on the towns of Kafraya and Al-Fou’aa.

T-90 offers the Syrian army several new features to fight ISIS including a 2A46M 125 smoothbore tank gun; a four-stroke V-12 piston engine; and most importantly, the Kontakt-5 explosive reactive armor. Much of the ISIS’ successes in Northern Syria has come from their US manufactured anti-tank TOW missiles. The T-90 Tanks’ armor should be strong enough to endure the impact from the TOW missile.

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Meanwhile, the SAA, the National Defense Forces (NDF) and Hezbollah are continuing operations against ISIS in other parts of the Aleppo province. They restored full security to Aqulah village and its surroundings on Sunday.

On Monday, the SAA repelled the militant groups’ offensive on their military checkpoint near al-Aziziyah and killed or wounded at least 50 of them in the counter-assault on Monday. The pro-government forces are advancing near Deir Hafer region.

According to the Syrian sources, the leader of Ahrar al-Jabal al-Wastani Brigade, part of the 101st Division of the US-supported Free Syrian Army, Colonel Ahmad al-Ali Abu-Ayham, was killed in the fighting on Jabal al-Akrad, northeastern Latakia Governorate on Saturday.

The Turkish Radar Electronic Attack System KORAL is reportedly being sent to the border with Syria to counter the Russian S-400 systems located on the Hmeymim air base. The decision to transfer the S-400 systems to the Russian air base and was made after the Turkish Air Force had brought down the Russian Su-24 bomber in the skies of Syria.


International Military Review ~ 29 November 2015

Russia is ready to coordinate practical steps to block the Turkish-Syrian border in cooperation with Damascus, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday after talks with his Syrian counterpart. Lavrov recalled that French President Francois Hollande earlier voiced same proposal. If Russia, Syria, France block the border, many terrorists groups in Syria, such as ISIS and al Nusra, will be cut from the supplies through Turkey.

On Saturday, the Syrian army spokesman, Brigadier General Ali Mayhoub, said, the Turkey military fired a number of mortar shells toward Syrian army positions from the Mount Jebel Aqra area, which is on the Turkish side. Apparently, it isn’t an act of support of the ideas to block the border. According to Damascus Turkey has also increased weapon, ammunition and equipment shipments into Syria in exchange for oil and antiquities looted by ISIS.

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The Syrian army and the National Defense Forces (NDF) and Hezbollah seized back the areas of al-Markashileh and Jab al-Ahmar in the Northern parts of Lattakia province on Saturday. The Syrian forces pushed back the militant groups and restored full security to al-Rahmalia and al-Khidr hills.

According to the field reportrs, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the NDF and Hezbollah backed up by the Russian Air Force launched an advance to capture the strategic town of Quayratayn form the ISIS in the Homs province on Saturday. Now, the pro-government forces took control of the villages of Muntar Armilah and Thaniyah and advancing on Quayratayn.

A number of pro-Syrian media outlets said Russia has vowed continued fight against terrorists in Syria using its warships. Moscow will reportedly launch massive operations codenamed ‘Total Destruction’ against the terrorists using 69 Sukhoi fighter jets, Tupolev 160 bombers, submarines and warships deployed in the Mediterranean Sea. The Russian grouping will be supported by S-400 missile defense systems in deployed Syria and the Moskva guided missile cruiser outfitted with S-300F Fort anti-air systems at the coast of Latakia.


International Military Review ~ 28 November 2015

The situation is continuing to develop fast in Syria. Since the start of full-scale military operation in late October, the pro-government forces have gaind a number of success in the Alepo province. It allowed the Assad government to strengthen its diplomatic position and encouraged its allies. Hezbollah and Iraqi Shia militias led by Iranian military advicers are main supporters of the Syiran Arab Army (SAA) in this area. The Russian Aerospace Defence Forces are playing a crucial role in the pro-government forces’ military operations there.

The Syiran forces have been advancing through 3 main axis.

Syrian army and popular forces

First is the Latakia countryside. The Syrian forces have captured the strategic city of Gamam at this axis. It allows the SAA and allies to prevent the terrorist groups located at the Turkmen and Kurdish Mountains from creating a joint force there. It also allows the pro-government forces to threat the terrorist positions at the borders with Idlib and Hama.

Second axis is the city of Aleppo. The Syrian forces are advancing on it from the South East. In November the SAA lifted the ISIS siege from the Kuweires air base, deblocked the Damascus-Aleppo road and cut the ISIS supply line between Raqqa and Aleppo. Now the Syrian forces are advancing on the Eastern part of Aleppo. ISIS and the Jaish al-Fatah military operations coalition led by Al Nusra are main opponents of the pro-government forces in this axis.

Third axis is areas located at the Homs-Hama border. The SAA and allies have gained main successes at the South East part of the Hama province where ISIS militants operate. The Homs-Hama-Aleppo road is a main aim of the military operations there.

After the incident with a Russian Su-24 downed by Turkey, the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces have raised their activity in Syira. The areas at the border with Turkey controlled by Turkey-backed militants and al Nusra became a first target of the intensified air raids. Nonetheless, there is no background to expect that Russia will calm down its Air Force’s activity.

Meanwhile, Moscow deployed S-400 missile defense systems to its air base near Latakia. Russian guided missile cruiser «Moskva» joint with escort ships is taking location at the shore zone of Northern Latakia near the Turkish border. The Russian military will likely continue to intensify its operations in Syria. Ongoing crisis with Turkey is one of the main reaons for this step. We could expect that foreign supporters of terrorist groups such Al Nusra and ISIS will also intensify their actions in Syria. Thus, the stakes are rising up in the Syrian conflict.


International Military Review ~ 28 November 2015

The growing number of violations of the ceasefire regime in Donbass is caused by the lack of Kiev’ control over the territorial battalions, head of the DPR delegation at the Minsk talks, Denis Pushilin stated on Friday. The peaceful settlement of the conflict “are not the aim of the radicals in the territorial battalions and some political entities of Ukraine.” Kiev forces shelled the northern suburb of Donetsk, including the embattled airport area, overnight to Friday. The nubmer of violations from the Kiev side is growing.

Russian and Syrian military have killed terrorists in the search area of the downed Russian Su-24 jet. “The moment our pilot was in safety the area was heavily bombed by the Russian Air Force and shelled by Syrian government forces artillery,” ministry spokesman General-Major Igor Konashenkov told a media briefing. He stressed that terrorists and other “mysterious groups” were killed in the assault. He added the Turkish General Staff had denied Russia access to any materials related to the downing of the Russian Su-24 jet by a Turkish F-16. Turks also aren’t able to provide any recording of the radio communications between the pilots. Russia suspended all channels of the military cooperation with Turkey on Thursday.

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Commercial-scale oil smuggling from ISIS controlled territory into Turkey must be stopped, Putin said after meeting French President Francois Hollande in Moscow. ISIS’ daring and impudent oil smuggling into Turkey should become a high-priority target in order to cripple the terrorist group. Hollande backs this aim agreeing that the source of terrorist financing must be hit first and foremost.

Germany has agreed to support the French aerial campaign against ISIS. Germany will send between four and six Tornado reconnaissance planes and a frigate to protect France’s Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier stationed in the Mediterranean. Germany also plans to share its satellite intelligence data on ISIS with France. The announcement comes as the French president visits Moscow. During the visit he agreed with the Russian leader that the two countries would unite their efforts against the “common enemy” and will share data on terrorist in Syria.


International Military Review ~ 27 November 2015

Over the past 3 days, Russian warplanes have conducted 134 sorties, hitting 449 targets in the provinces of Aleppo, Damascus, Idlib, Latakia, Hama, Homs, Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor. The main targets were the Al Nusra terrorist group with allies and ISIS. The Russian Air Force has targeted a number of the terrorirsts’ supply routes from Turkey.

The Syrian forces intensified their military operations in Eastern Ghouta in Damascus countryside. Pro-government sources argue the army clashed with terrorists from Jaish al-Islam to the East of Harasta city. A large group of terrorists were reportedly killed.

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The Syrian army, backed by popular defense groups regained control over Tlol Um Kadom, Dahrat al-Said, Jabal al-Ramila and Tolol al-Sood in the Southeastern countryside of Homs.

Rasheed Bikdash, one of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) leaders, was killed in clashes with the Syrian army in North of Latakia. Sources said Bikdash is the highest-ranking defector from the Syrian army that has been killed in Syria. Bikdash reportedly coordinated the Turkey’s downing of the Russian Su-24 from the Turkoman terrorists’ side.

On Thursday the US-baccked group FSA issued a statement that demanded the predominately Kurdish “People’s Protection Units” (YPG) withdraw from 7 villages in northern Aleppo: Maryamin, Anab, Shawaghra, Tanib, Kashta’ar, Mirash,and Qanbriyah. The YPG has 48 hours to do this. The statement followed the recent tensions following the abduction of several members of the YPG and their allies from Jaysh Al-Thuwar in the Aleppo Governorate. If the Kurdish forces do not withdraw from the villages, the FSA and their allies from Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and Al Nusra will start a military operation against the YPG.

Considering the US relies on the Syrian Kurds in a possible advance on Raqqa planned by the Washigton, it becomes clear that, the US-backed terrorists have no will to confront ISIS and seek only power for themselves. Separately, it confirms that the US doesn’t have any reliable force to build an alternative to Assad power in Syria.


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