The Battle for Aleppo is fully engaged, with the US pretend-a-ceasefire in the rearview mirror. After several days of targeted bombing attacks and several more days of probing attacks on East Aleppo’s flanks, September 28th was announced to begin the full scale offensive.
With pressure on multiple points on the jihadis’ lines, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) attacked in central Aleppo near the citadel to close a deep insurgent pocket extending into the old city. With the SAA attacking at the base of the pocket, the jihadis were forced to do a quick fighting withdrawal to avoid being cut off, saving its fighters for prepared defenses that they have had a long time to plan for.
We are watching the roll out of a well thought out campaign that is taking advantage of Damascus’ extensive on the ground eyes and ears in Aleppo, and that knew the complete disposition of all the opposition forces there. The Veterans Today team was privy to see some of the jihadi order of battle during our Syrian trip last fall, just before the Russian air campaign was unleashed.
The initial Syrian bombing campaign was concentrated on the opposition command and logistics centers, with the Russian command stating that only precision-guided munitions were being used on those targets.
Flexible battle tactics
The Syrian coalition is using multi-pronged attacks to spread the opposition forces out, while defending their perimeter and burning up ammunition that cannot be resupplied as easily as in the past. The Syrian coalition began by advancing from the south into the Sheik Saeed district, flanking opposition forces to their west to encourage them to pull back or risk being cut off.
In north Aleppo, the Handarat Palestinian refugee camp was attacked and cleared, but drew the opposition into a counterattack, which might have been the diversion that the Syrians wanted. Wednesday morning found the Syrian forces battling once again for the destroyed camp that is of no strategic importance at all, other than pulling reserves away from its attack on the Old City jihadi pocket.
Another joint Syrian-Kurdish force began moving north from Aleppo’s Kurdish district toward the forces that initially took Handarat and cut off opposition forces in the NE corner of Aleppo. These initial battles consolidated the SAA interior lines of movement, while observing the opposition’s movements via drone surveillance.
Western media declares war on Syria
While bullets and bombs fly all across Aleppo, barbed words are flying in national press conferences and electrons in cyberspace, with Western media trying to portray the Syrian coalition as if it were invading a neighboring country to loot and pillage, as opposed to driving terrorists out of its own territory. We have seen all of the old anti-Damsacus propaganda smears in action, including the age-old barrel bomb and gas attack stories, with the usual jihadi false flag executed ones, where they rush in to shoot media for the press.
But the Syrian coalition is not flinching. The bitter taste of US duplicity still remains after its total failure to control its opposition and terrorist proxies as it had pledged in the agreements with Russia, and as we could read in the full report released on Tuesday.
The US-sponsored insurgents refused to disengage from their former al-Nursa compatriots, including those that signed onto the ceasefire for the expected air cover it would provide them. It did not take long to learn that FSA and former al-Nusra people fighting under the Army of Conquest black flag were not about to disengage from each other. That idea has been a bad joke, and is now exposed to the world.
From the EU in Brussels we have comments devoid of any professional discipline, using age old propaganda slogans like, “indiscriminate suffering”, “breach of international humanitarian law”, “fire bombing and shelling”, and “deliberate targeting of an aid convoy last week”. Ouch!
The Dunford Doctrine is born – Guilt by association
This last charge was over the top, as its clear inference was that Syria or Russia were responsible when not only has no proof whatsoever been submitted by anyone to validate the claim, but even the UN people in the convoy claim they cannot say for certain who was responsible.
They were later joined by the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dunford who said he “suspected” that Damascus was responsible, and Russia derivatively so because it supported the Syrians. But with all his high-tech surveillance and intercept tolls, he also had no proof to put on the table.
This was a huge mistake by Dunford, because the same convenient blame game thinking could easily be used on the US, due to its terrorist proxies being responsible for many atrocities. The Free Syrian army has been an arms conduit for al-Nusra, with whom they shared their TOW missiles from the US, and as al-Nusra shared the ones it got from the Saudis, Qatar and Turkey, all allies of the US… so the US must be responsible, right?…according to the new Dunford Doctrine?
Threats began leaking out today from unnamed US officials that the Syrian ground assault could trigger the US Gulf State allies to provide advanced weapons to al-Nusra and IS. This was nothing more than a sham to cover that they and Turkey have already been doing that. Where do people think the Jihadi tanks, APC’s and armor piercing munitions have been coming from? Have smugglers been hiding tanks in aid convoys?
It is true that large numbers of MANPADS have not yet been introduced, as the Western coalition knows they would immediately be black-marketed to the highest bidder, and would work their way toward being used against civilian aircraft near any number of airports, especially in Europe.
The State Department’s Mark Toner presented a reasonable press conference appearance by saying that introducing more weapons into Syria was like pouring gas onto a fire. But I am not aware of anyone at State outing the CIA for having provided a weapons UPS delivery service for the Syrian opposition for several years now.
US history of weaponizing insurgents
And certainly, Mr. Toner must know that under Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State, she oversaw a large weapons transfer program from captured Libyan stockpiles via Qatar’s close relations with the al-Qaeda elements in Libya, who helped destroy their own country as soon as Gaddafi was gone.
And when ISIS took Mosul, they spent weeks shifting tons of heavy weapons from captured Iraqi army bases into Syria without one US air attack that we know of, as if the US was pleased to see the Syrian jihadis receiving all of these additional arms.
But right in the middle of this Western crying towel charade about the monstrous Damascus regime, out of the blue came the German newspaper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger interview with an Al-Nusra commander in Syria going by the name ”Abu Al-Ezz”. He revealed that US allies were providing them funding, tanks and artillery, and that they especially appreciated the US TOW missiles.
This news traveled the world over before the day ended, yet the media spinmeisters just pretend it never happened. They stayed on topic and their lies and denials continued, saying that it was Assad mass murdering his own people; nevertheless, it has been the Western sociopaths and their proxies attacking the Syrians.
In all of the coverage I have read since the Aleppo ground offensive began, I have not found a single mention how many foreign jihadis are in Aleppo, like the 2000 Tunisians, for example. These key details are airbrushed out of the story and make a mockery of the West’s free press, which is now a tattered disgrace.
The Syrian coalition strategy seems to be one of cutting Eastern Aleppo in half to isolate both parts, while blocking military resupplies and compelling their surrender. While the early stage ground offensive was delayed 20 hours to allow civilians to get out and ethnic Syrian fighters to accept an amnesty, that did not apply to the foreign fighters.
Syria seems to be learning that just “pushing” these insurgents out of one position allows them to continue fighting in a new place after a few days’ rest. When my group of election monitors at the 2012 elections where meeting with the Syrian Speaker of the Parliament, he told us that they were holding jihadis from over 60 countries, which I think must be nearing 100 now.
The big payoff would be threefold if the SAA can retake Aleppo within a reasonable time. The civilians can begin coming back to what is left of their homes before winter sets in, and the Syrian military units can be redeployed to concentrate on the remaining opposition pockets in other areas.
The remaining insurgents might be much more motivated to partake in a real truce then, and work on a political settlement before the whole country is nothing but rubble, where everyone loses. The surviving jihadis would then either go back to their home countries to torment their fellow countrymen, or go to work for some Western intelligence agency as a rent-a-jihadi, like the Chechens are for the Americans.
Either way, I am afraid the long suffering civilians of Aleppo are in for some very bad weeks. The jihadis have used them all this time as human shields, and will probably continue to do so as they fight and die along with their dreams of being Aleppo jihadi warlords forever, with plenty of money and a private harem dying with them.
Thousands of Syrian insurgents have taken advantaged of Assad’s many past amnesties to stop fighting, and they will be around to play some role in rebuilding Syria. It will need all of its sons and daughters to begin putting the country back together again, a generation actually.
As for the foreign jihadis, I will look forward to their date with the bulldozers and final resting place, and an end to the scourge they have gouged upon this ancient and honored land. I will give the last line to Tolstoy. “If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.” – War and Peace
Jim W. Dean, managing editor for Veterans Today, producer/host of Heritage TV Atlanta, specially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.