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International Military Review ~ 05 December 2015

Over the past week [November 26- December 4], Russian aviation has carried out 431 sorties from the Hmeymim airbase and conducted strikes on 1,458 terrorist targets including command centers, training camps, ammunition depots, and strongholds. 12-fuel transfer stations ad 8 terrorist controlled oil fields were also destroyed.

Only in the past 48 hours, the Russian warplanes hit two truck convoys near Aleppo and Raqqa, destroying up to 40 terrorist vehicles modified to transport oil products.

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The US is reportedly establishing an airbase in northeastern Syria. The forces deployed there should assist to the so-called “Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)”, de facto Syrian Kurds, to make gains in Syria. The airbase is located southeast of the town of Rimelan – one of the YPG’s main strongholds and largest arms and ammunition depots. That US unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) had already flown from the facility to test it. The report also said that two helicopter landed eight US military specialists at the airport on November 24.

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At the end of October, the U.S. was sending about 50 special operators to Northern Syria. Then, in December, President Obama ordered the deployment of additional special operations forces to both Iraq and Syria.

The Turkish army reportedly invaded the Syrian territory and took control of the hill Tal Ziyab. Troops crossed the border accompanied by bulldozers to build fortifications. Also, 3 battle tanks, 2 armored infantry fighting vehicles and several SUVs were deployed there.

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Considering the location of Tal Ziyab, Turkey wants to cover the smuggling route of the Syrian oil which is taken out of the ISIS-controlled Raqqa. It seems that Ankara has decided to escalate the situation further after the Ministry of Defense of Russia were released pictures and videos of oil delivery convoys at the border between Syria and Turkey.


Foreign Policy Diary ~ 04 December 2015

The recent developments show significant changes in the strategy of the Western countries involved in the Syrian conflict. The US has sent ground forces, including special operations units, into the region. French Air Force has sharply increased the number of sorties, and France’s rapid-reaction troops and naval units are being moved closer to Syria.

The United Kingdom has also begun to participate in the US-led anti-ISIS coalition strikes on Syrian soil. Likewise Germany has begun to deploy its aircraft and relocating almost 1200 quick-reaction troops to the Syria-Iraq battlefield. Turkey is deploying a large military attack force, including a number of armored units, at the border with Syria.

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It seems that NATO powers have realized the strategy aimed at Assad’s ouster by a diverse range of militant groups including ISIS which is backed by Turkey and the US has failed.

According to the initial scenario implemented by the West, ISIS and other militant groups, deceitfully called the moderate opposition, were to carry out a Libya-like scenario in Syria and oust or preferably kill Assad and plunge the whole country into chaos. Then the US-led coalition would start a full-scale military operation to stop the terrorists threatening the “moderate opposition” in Syria, deploy NATO forces on the ground and take control of the crucial oil and logistic infrastructure. Western oil corporations supported by NATO would then restore the state of affairs as it existed more than 40 years ago. Syria would fall victim to total exploitation by overseas powers. The Mediterranean would become Alliance’ internal lake.

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Now it’s clear that Syria won’t fall under terrorist group pressure. The Syrian forces backed by Russia and Iran are gaining momentum, recapturing cities and facilities earlier controlled by militants. The NATO allies urgently need a new plan to hold control at least of the northern oil corridor from Iraq and try to take advantage of this opportunity to involve Russia in a long expensive war, in other words, to accomplish that which they failed to do in Ukraine. It means that the NATO contingent must occupy crucial infrastructure including oilfields before the Syrian government forces liberate it. Anti-government, meaning anti-Russian and anti-Iranian, forces would be established in parts of divided Syria. The need for an excuse to implement the changed approach could be the reason why the Nov.13 Paris attack wasn’t prevented by the Western special services.

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The implication of the Western plan to divide Syria in a number of vassal entities leads to 3 main scenarios:

1)   Military buildup and escalation in the region could lead to open military conflict between NATO and the alternative anti-ISIS coalition that is led by Russia. This regional conflict could easily lead to a global war. Moreover, Turkey, a NATO member state, has already shown that it’s ready to escalate the situation to defend its illegal oil business linked with ISIS.

2)    If the Syrian Arab Army with support by militia forces, Iran, and Russia isn’t able to show a significant success on the battlefield, Syria could be easily divided by the Western-backed ground forces supported by NATO airpower and intelligence assets. A direct military intervention to take control of the oil structure and crucial logistical points also remains possible. Even if NATO and its regional allies successfully take control of a significant part of the country, this escalation is unlikely to be avoided. The situation will become more acute due to the establishment of an aggressive puppet regime on the Syria’s territory. Considering that the alternative anti-ISIS coalition won’t lay down its arms, an open conflict could be easily provoked by the interested powers.

3)   If the Syrian government forces supported by Russia and Iran take control of the country’s key areas, the US-led coalition will face the fact that Syria is de-facto liberated from terrorist groups. It could prevent a direct military intervention by NATO. In this case, the NATO countries would strengthen their presence in Iraq and use it as a foothold to launch further destructive actions against Syria. However, it’s the safest scenario most likely to avoid a global escalation.
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RELATED
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International Military Review – Syria-Iraq Battlespace, 4/12/2015


International Military Review – Syria, 3/12/2015


Iran: Either Victory or Martyrdom



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By South Front
International Military Review 5/12/2015
Foreign Policy Diary 4/12/2015
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