The United States sent multiple rocket launchers to the At-Tunph base in Syria. Their local allies are talking about creating a second base in Ez-Zakf. The reasons for the rush are clear: the months-long epic is moving towards the denouement, rates have risen sharply, and the situation in Syria is not in vain compared to the race in Europe in the spring of 1945.
The fact that the US military relocated missiles with a large range of action from Jordan to the Syrian base of At-Tanf, the media reported referring to intelligence sources. According to them, we are talking about lightened multiple launch rocket systems (HIMARS), which "will provide significant support for the US military presence."
These units are mounted on a wheeled chassis and can carry six missiles or one tactical missile. The limiting range is 480 kilometers, which is critical for Syrian conditions.
Americans for a long time did not develop new missile or artillery systems, believing that they are no longer needed in connection with the disappearance of the main enemy - the Soviet Union. On the development of HIMARS first talked in 1994 as a lightweight transportable version (loaded into a military transport aircraft C-130), which distinguishes it from the heavy version of the MZNUMXA270 RCDM based on the crawler "Bradley". But only in the 1-m Marine Corps finally agreed with the ground forces to transfer to him 2002 launchers - five-ton trucks, which are installed with a crane and installed HIMARS.
The first systems were deployed in Iraq in the province of Anbar and in Afghanistan in the province of Helmand. There, in Helmand, the first incident occurred, when two missiles fell into a peaceful house, killing 12 people.
In 2016, the US first used HIMARS against IGIL *, firing several missiles from Turkey. Recently, data have also appeared on the use of HIMARS to support the Kurds under Racco.
In fact, this is not such a terrible weapon, comparable (and even inferior in capacity and capabilities) to the modern Russian descendant of Grad. One-time use of even HIMARS batteries is unlikely to change the front in principle, it is not a Hurricane or Typhoon volley near Ilovaisk and Alchevsk. So in the case of At-Tanfom, the very fact of the location of this system, and its dislocation, is of interest. Even if we forget that the At-Tanf border crossing (the Americans call it Al Waleed - by the name of the point on Iraqi soil) - the territory of the sovereign state of Syria, and the unauthorized deployment there of the troops of another country is a violation of this sovereignty. On what Thursday the Pentagon once again reminded the Russian Defense Ministry.
As the VZGLYAD newspaper wrote, the advancement of Syrian government troops (according to a number of data, with the support of Russian VCS) towards the At-Tanf border crossing is a strategic event, not to say historical. Now in the SAR there are several fronts that have turned into places of conflict of global interests of major powers. You can to some extent see the analogy of the current situation with the spring of 1945 in Germany, when the Allied countries are engaged in the race, who will quickly take key points in the territory of the aspirating Third Reich. Georgy Zhukov would not be distracted by the army of the "young general" and "the last hope of the Reich" by Walter Wenck, you would see that Hamburg would be on the move. They would not rush to save Prague from destruction, could take Munich without a fight. Then there would be a single new Germany, and, consequently, a completely different geopolitical composition in Europe.
All this, of course, is very controversial from the point of view of history, in which there is no inclination through the "if." But something like this is really happening now in Syria, only, of course, on other scales.
The remains of the armed forces of what was formerly called the "moderate opposition" (the Syrian Free Army, SSA), supported by the American coalition, now hold only tiny territories. Without the support of US aviation, these people are prone to panic and surrender, followed by a bus ticket to Idlib.
Idlib himself and a small part of Deraa province have already turned into a reserve of goblins, i.e. jihadists. Behind the Kurds remains approximately 25% of the territory of Syria, and not always Kurdish purely ethnically, so that further trade is possible. Ultimately, with a favorable development of events, Damascus can regain control of up to 65% of the country's territory, which will create the basis for further negotiations on the future structure of the state.
At the same time, a significant part of the external border of Syria (for example, with Iraq) is de facto under the control of Shiite formations oriented toward Iran. At-Tanf in this situation was the last strategic point that would allow the pro-American forces from the SSA to gain a foothold in the Syrian territory and thus participate in the negotiations. Under the most promising scenario for the American coalition, it would be a matter of dividing the country, with which neither Damascus nor Moscow categorically disagree. So a tiny border crossing in the desert, which in its best days consisted of a couple of buildings and two ducats, suddenly turned into a strategic point, from the control of which much can depend.
In this scenario, the deployment of American artillery systems in At-Tanf is more demonstrative than military. So they mark the territory. Government troops in this sector of the front do not have artillery at all - they did not need them there at all, and it is difficult to supply it in the bare desert.
The Syrian army does not seem to have planned a direct assault on At-Tanf, but it's difficult to get around it in the desert: the IGIL fighters continue to fiercely resist, trying to keep the last oil fields behind - a real source of running low income. It is not possible to get through to Deir-ez-Zor for the same reason as to leave from the south to the Euphrates, where the race outside the territory also turned into a key moment in the war.
All this is not so evident as the epic battles for large cities, for example the same Aleppo, or the expulsion of Turks from under El Baba. Nevertheless, we are talking about almost the main hidden motive of most military operations in the SAR, even purely tactical.
The maximum capacity of pro-American forces is control over 10-15% of the territory of Syria, which will not add to them negotiating positions. Igil will gradually be squeezed out of the desert, but their positions are really strong only in the eastern provinces of Homs and Hama, which at some desire can be encircled, advancing north from the Palmer's ledge. The events near Deir-ez-Zor are a separate story, requiring careful analysis. And everything else is a desolate desert, although on the map it looks impressive.
About the same - on the map - think and the American generals, planning from the area of At-Tanf in the desert to expand the control of the oppositional groups under control to the north almost to the Euphrates and connect with Racco for more than 500 kilometers. For this, long range, but ineffective systems of volley fire were needed.
Leading the war on the globe is the privilege of Lieutenant-General Marine Steve Townsend, and not Generalissimo Joseph Stalin, who undeservedly attributed it. It will be interesting to see what will come of this, but the danger of a frontal clash between Syrian government troops and Americans is dramatically increasing. It is possible that much will depend on the degree of direct contact between Russian control centers and the same Townsend and its headquarters.
There is already reason to believe that verbal contact with Americans in the At-Tanf area is established. But in the end political inertia can outweigh pragmatic considerations.