Over the last week the Syrian government troops invisible to all over the world have won two major victories strategically comparable with the return of Palmyra. The new configuration allows the front to call the next major goal of Damascus - is located in the center of the scandal chemical province of Idlib. But the reasons for joy does not end there.
It all began in the south-west - on the border with Lebanon. Huge by local standards, the territory, which various jihadist formations held for several years, almost without a fight went under the control of Damascus. Most of the militants left the zone from Damascus to the Golan Heights and the Lebanese border by agreement with government forces and civil authorities and have already traditionally left for Idlib.
There were only two small settlements not far from the border, which so far failed to agree. These are the towns that had previously stubbornly maintained the siege for a long time and around which spun dance international organizations. But by and large south-western front virtually ceased to exist - in this direction danger remains only around the city of Deraa, and in a number of Circassian villages in the Golan Heights.
This operation has cost little or no shots, and therefore did not attract international attention. However, the operation in the northern province of Hama once again caused a wave of indignation at the media well-known principle "Assad bombing hospitals." And it was so.
The jihadist front, supported by the large city of Al-Latamina, remained impenetrable for quite some time. Several valleys in the north of the Hama open the road to Idlib, bypassing the mountain areas in the west of the province of Latakia - and therefore are of particular value. Two years ago, the very first attempt to organize a large-scale offensive, government troops undertook precisely in this direction - and extremely unsuccessfully. The fighting in a relatively straight sector of the front quickly turned into a massacre and degenerated into a series of frontal attacks from both sides. Sometimes jihadists managed not only to "straighten corners", but also to conquer new lands.
Support Russian VKS finally done its job and the front in northern Hama became a so-called lip lataminsky - nearly isosceles triangle jihadist positions, wedged in the position of the CAA, and within which lies the town of Al-Latamina. This is almost a complete copy of debaltsevskogo projection, only bigger in size and with less side.
On Friday and Saturday, government forces at a speedy pace cut off the most outstanding part of the "Latin ledge" and by Monday came to Al-Latamn at a distance of 2-2,5 kilometers, that is, practically at the distance of the mortar round. The defense of the jihadists, which lasted three years, collapsed instantly. True, the Jebhat al-Nusra and Tahrir al-Sham factions nevertheless showed organization, their command, recognizing the disaster in time and avoiding complete encirclement, began to take the militants from the front inside the ledge to the city. But if the government troops retain the previous rate of offensive, the question will be only one - on what new frontier the jihadists will be able to gain a foothold.
Now they are experiencing a serious shortage of manpower and are forced to retreat in order to preserve at least the available ones. Attempting to gain a foothold from Al-Latamina will lead to the creation of a new front, that is, force jihadists to move to static defense. But while the SAA has on this sector of the front superiority in all respects - from the number to the quality of weapons, so that the transition to a new front line will only provide jihadists with a new blow. In Idlib, new units are urgently being formed, but the potential reserves of both An-Nusra and Tahrir al-Shama were milled during April, so they have little chance of success.
In this situation, the entire so-called southern front of jihadists and "moderate" may collapse on a wider area than on the "Latamian ledge" alone. For example, their positions crack at the Christian city of Ma'an, which for two years also was the "sick tooth" of the entire war and several times passed from hand to hand. Under the threat of defense was Morek, and all this is practically the southern outskirts of Idlib. In this area, jihadists find it difficult to find a new "narrow" position, which could be defended by the forces that remained at their disposal. It is possible that such a position can be found in Helfaya, but in any case, at last a real threat is created for the main stronghold of jihadists - Idlib. That is what happened, about which so much talked and argued after the liberation of Aleppo - what to do with Idlib and whether it will become the main goal of the new offensive. It seems that he has. And it can not but rejoice.
At the same time, the SAA continues to exert pressure on the jihadists west of Aleppo, diverting the enemy's last reserves to this sector. In March, their groups tried to compensate for the failure of Aleppo and Palmyra to attempt a counter-offensive on the "Latin ledge", almost breaking through the defense of the government forces. But the consequence of this was an excessive tension of forces, and stretching the front to a strategically dangerous ledge only led to a deterioration in their position. The government troops were used to tactical retreats and, having waited a little, regrouped - and literally crushed the enemy. Now the road to Idlib can be opened almost in a few days. The most active part in this offensive is taken by both Russian military aviation and the Syrian Air Force.
Naturally, this has caused an emotional wave from Western opponents of Assad, whoever they were. Strategic defeat of the opposition is now visible to the naked eye, even if it does not look as bright as the liberation of Aleppo. Hence another "Assad bombing hospitals," although such objects there is simply no.
Already we can say that the government army managed to regain territory lost in this sector in the year 2016. Only preliminary estimates in this area is concentrated to 10 thousand militants that is unprecedented for a lot of this kind of field operations, defense in eastern Aleppo was conducted not in the steppe and desert, and urban environments. At the same time the offensive conducted mainly through the efforts of the two most combat-ready units of the Syrian army - 5-Corps actually created by Russian advisors, and "Tigers".
As compensation for the jihadis have attempted a counter-offensive in the Hula Valley in the province of Homs in the direction of the checkpoint Al-Kunnifiya. First - without success. But on Monday coming up government reserves regained the checkpoint and to restore the status quo, however, we were not able to fight off the captured equipment. In principle, this can be regarded as a tactical success of the jihadists, if viewed under a magnifying glass.
As for the situation under Palmyra, the terrorists went over to the tactics of the sniper war. Only in one day the government forces lost five people from sniper fire at altitudes north of Tadmor. And, it seems that IGIL * prefers to throw on the front line a small group of well-trained shooters, which works literally two or three hours, and then leaves back into the desert. The front does not change this, but it irritates, and government troops (like, indeed, many other forces in the Middle East) are traditionally sensitive to the psychological problems that such sniping attacks entail. Who suggested this to the Igilovites and where they took such snipers is a new issue for intelligence.
The world community did not notice and the rapid advance of government forces east of Palmyra towards Deir ez Zor, which ultimately caused tactical attacks by Igilov snipers on the flanking positions of the SAA. Having freed the palmir elevator, the power station, the Wadi al-Ahmar district, the Mustada mountain ridge and the gas-bearing fields of the same name, the government forces reached the fork of Talil. Up to Deir-ez-Zor there are 160 kilometers left, and since the beginning of the offensive from the airfield of Tias, 70 kilometers have been passed. A number of experts considered what was happening the beginning of the offensive on Deir-ez-Zor. This is possible, but it will mean a new spraying of so few efficient forces.
In addition 5-Corps and the "Tigers", on the main lines as a free reserve forces can be expected to 18-Panzer Division, a brigade of "Al-Badia", the National Defense Force, parts of "Hezbollah" (which, however, are now carried away "arrangement" liberated from the jihadist areas on the Lebanese border), various volunteer units, joined by Bedouin tribes shaytat. For these inhabitants of the desert war with LIH around Deir ez-Zor - business vendetta.
Several years ago, for no apparent reason, jihadists the genocide shaytat tribe - like orthodox Sunnis, organizing mass executions of 700 men at a time. to 900 people - subsequently the mass graves of those killed, where a grave had been found. Most likely, the LIH just did not want to share with the freedom-loving Bedouins oil and gas area, but in the end they got furious "blood feuds".
About shaytat tribe went wildly rumors that they brew head igilovtsev killed in order to make a lunch soup Shurpa right at the forefront. He has an ally, but the militia leaders of shaytat on demand rather quickly accepted military discipline and were even entrusted responsible offensive operations. And one of the tribal warlords had already gone down in history - on the media dispersed photograph hoisting the flag on it captured from LIH fortified village.