Translated by Sufyan Jan for Fort Russ
27th January, 2016
Damascus seeking to claim Latakia “As the first Liberated Governorate”
– Russia is not in a hurry to reach a negotiated settlement in Syria.
– The disintegration of Jaish al Fath (Army of Conquest) is expected soon.
– Russia considers the Kurds as an essential part of Geneva talk despite Saudi Arabia and Turkey rejection.
Russian special forces reinforced by “Howitzer Artillery” and aerial support, collaborating with Hezbollah and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) alongside the National Defense Forces (NDF), participated in fierce battles in and around the cities, heights, and hills of Latakia. The importance of this area is not only down to protecting the Syrian Coastline in which Russian positions and Naval bases are located, Russia can use the Latakia Governorate to track the movements of NATO forces on the Turkish-Syrian border; in case an advance occurs these posts will be to warn the Russians.
Sources inside the joint operation command consisting of Syria, Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, confirmed that “The Russian joint chiefs of staff made significant changes to military strategies, by transitioning the Syrian army and its allies from a defensive to an offensive strategy, to reclaim crucial positions. Attacking forces are engaged in ten strategically important positions. These are: to the east, south, and north of Aleppo, in the Latakia countryside, Dara’a, and Sheikh Miskeen, on the outskirts of Damascus, Homs, and the Kuweiras Airport. New fronts are expected to be soon engaged against Jahbat al-Nusra (al-Qaeda in Syria) and its allies on strategic fronts. The battle is prepared to retake also Kinnsaba and Bedama, 8 Kilometers from Bab al-Hawa, as the next imminent target. Moreover, the main crossing point of Bab al-Hawa (Gate of Winds), that is used by Al-Nusra and their allies in the “Army of Conquest” is the aim of the attacking forces to regain in order to cease all logistic support to the Jihadists and their allies. ”
The Source further explains “The Russian forces are using Howitzer artillery, having proven to be more effective than aerial bombardment in killing the insurgents, thus allowing the SAA and Hezbollah to advance from city to city, and from town to town without facing strong resistance from the insurgents. Strategic errors have been made by Al-Nusra and Ahrar Al-Sham to conduct a counter offensive in the town of Salma. As these have lost it to the benefit of the Syrian Army, the failure of the counter offensive cost them heavy losses in moral and men. Instead they should’ve fortified their positions that they were in to prevent further advancements by the SAA. These serious military mistakes caused a collapse across the entire front after further aerial and ground shelling, the few who survived fled to other areas in land”.
The source considers “The fall of Rabi’ah and other towns so quickly, is an indication that other fronts will also fall as fast since the highlands of Latakia are the most difficult in this war as one Russian General says. In Latakia high ground and hills, the insurgents were well established since years and had all the time too get familiar with the entire area, to dig holes, trenches, and to use caves which are more readily available than in any other area”.
The source continues “the SAA and its allies are advancing in Khan Tuman southwest of Aleppo, waiting for further forces to arrive from the Latakia countryside to encircle the Ghab Plain in the Jisr ash-Shugur area. The priority lies in taking the highlands overseeing the Ghab plain and Hama’s northern countryside, to be in a better position to besiege other targeted areas. It is expected that, not only Jisr ash-Shugur, but also the Ghab plain fronts to collapse since Al-Nusra are lacking in man power to continue fighting. Al-Nusra alluded to the possibility that it will adopt guerrilla warfare tactics when the disintegration of the “ Army of Conquest” will take place (expected soon), since Al Qaida and Ahrar Al-Sham cannot build nor sustain an offensive made by a regular army backed by its air force, infantry units, and an elite special forces on several fronts. None the less, a guerrilla warfare against an Arab army is futile, because the reaction is usually different from that known to western armies, especially towards citizens and cities that the guerrillas use as a base. So a quick and resolute collapse of the fronts will follow after aerial and ground bombardment”.
The source ends by saying “Russia is not in a hurry to reach a negotiated settlement in Syria because the development on the ground is in its advantage. The military operation will continue regardless the Geneva peace talk until a general cease fire is agreed. Russia insisted on the inclusion of theSyrian Kurds into the main body of the opposition along with the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) that was formed in Riyadh and other opposition groups who were excluded by Saudi Arabia. Moscow imposed Hatham Manna’a and Qadri Jameel along with others to the Geneva talk. Moscow supports the kurds and considers these as an essential partner in Syria despite Saudi Arabia and Turkey rejection to their participation to Geneva peace talk. Russian officers are visiting Al-Qamishly, 50 Kilometres away from the American officers present in Hasakeh as a message to these that they are not welcome, no matter how small and insignificant their number is, because Syria is now the Kremlin’s backyard”.
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