The Syrian fronts are full of news - both good and rather distressing. On the one hand, the generals of Assad adopted a number of mature solutions, which will help to avoid unnecessary blood. On the other hand, they frankly underestimated the enemy. Meanwhile, Turkey is again trying to enter the conflict, and, quite considerable forces.
At the moment, the Syrian government troops are successfully developing an offensive in the east of the country, destroying the last stronghold of IGIL * in Syria. However, in the last week, the intensity of the resistance of jihadists has grown dramatically not only in the east, but practically on all fronts of the country. In some sectors, various groupings (including IGIL and Jabhat al-Nusra) made successful counter-offensive attempts, while the SAA suffered serious losses and was forced to retreat. But first things first.
Government forces came very close to the settlement of Maadin, the new informal capital of IGIL on the banks of the Euphrates, slightly to the south of Deir-ez-Zor. Behind Maadin, only Abu Kamal, followed by Iraq. That is, the zone of responsibility of the US and the coalition led by them. At the same time, the Syrian army began to advance south of Deir-ez-Zor, without waiting for the complete liberation of the city and its demining. This decision was taken by General Zakhreddin, and Damascus approved it, so as not to allow the enemy to turn Maadin and Abu Kamal into fortified centers that are usual for IGIL.
It seems that this decision was correct. SAA now bypassed Maadin from the west and advances to the south-west, taking the city airport. This will cut the city from the desert, through which jihadists and carry out basic tactical manipulation.
The underestimation of the desert factor last week already led to the tragic defeat of the SAA on the M-7 (Palmyra as Sukhna-Deir ez Zor) - jihadists were able to cut the track in three columns and squeeze out government units north of the road. On the supply of Deir-ez-Zor and the forces advancing on Maadin, this did not affect, since after the liberation of the city the SAA was able to accumulate there strategic reserves of food, water and ammunition. But the lightness with which IGIL could create in the desert in broad daylight (there is a photo evidence of how the advancing columns were formed) confuses the grouping sufficient for an effective offensive strike.
Before VCS of Russia and the Syrian Air Force had time to notice such preparations at the stage of column formation. But this time, apparently, were focused on other fronts - there too, there was an unpleasant.
Several attempts have been made from the "Idlib Reserve" to counteract a different degree of fortune. The history of the town of Abu Dali, which is on the border with the province of Ham, is interesting. For several years this settlement served as such a market - formally it was controlled by a small garrison of government troops, consisting of local, and in fact became an informal center of contraband trade for all warring parties and groups.
His relatively fortunate fate was decided after the jihadists from Tahrir ash Sham (or nevertheless an-Nusra, in order not to get mixed up in the ever-changing self-names) took the neighboring town of Mushayrif and thereby cut Abu Dali from the main territory controlled by Damascus. Goods for sale ceased to arrive, Abu Dali lost the status of a neutral TC and jihadists quite easily took it, attacking from several sides at once. The garrison of the city suffered great losses, several dozen soldiers were captured, one tank was lost. The Russian military security services inflicted 20 air strikes on Islamists, but the region was still lost.
Syrians are justified by the mass use of suicide bombers, but suicide bombers in this war are common. It is possible that the local command simply did not want to incur losses, keeping the town of dubious reputation.
Also from the Idlib "reserve", Hama airport was bombarded, and, from Grads. Did not hit, damaging the surrounding farms, but the sediment remained. Long-range missiles jihadists continue to use and Deir ez-Zor, apparently, as part of a psychological attack. The question is, where do they now take them, and even in such quantities. Now the terrorists are suffering huge losses, especially from air strikes, however, the accumulated stocks of weapons, equipment and fuel proved to be more significant than previously thought.
In the last 48 hours, the situation at the front in the province of Khama and on the approaches to the "reserve" in principle remained complicated. Jihadists continue to hold El-Karjatein, but nothing has changed in the positions of the so-called Latin protrusion, which threatened to turn into a cauldron six months ago. Almost all of the offensive units of the SAA are now transferred to the eastern front, and positions in the north are held mainly by Russian aviation, which literally floods the neighborhood with corpses of terrorists. Despite this, some towns and villages continue to pass from hand to hand several times. Abu Dali is just one such example.
Perhaps now, the SAA will remove individual parts from the Latam projection, to cover the dangerous areas north and northwest.
At the same time, there is growing talk about the fact that the race "from the river" (that is, the simultaneous withdrawal of government forces and the Kurds supported by the Americans on the eastern shore of Efrat) is connected solely with the control over the oil fields in the area. This "oil determination" customary for the conspiracy theory is still not necessary in this case. The war in Syria never went for oil in its pure form. It can make a difference for the Kurds in the light of the referendum and further political trade, but this is not the main factor driving the confrontation.
Now the 4 mechanized division, almost entirely crossing to the eastern shore, occupied the town of Hatla Fukkani, which "locked" the Euphrates, and thus entered into direct contact with the territory controlled by the Kurds.
On the highway M-7 and around As-Sukhna, fighting continues, and it's still too early to talk about overcoming the crisis in the rear of the advancing troops. Government sources, however, have already reported about the complete restoration of control over the road, but so far it is hard to believe. Of course, this is a matter of a couple of days, but especially in this sense, already strains the traditional game of "Syrian rake", from which only some of the AAA generals were cured.
Yes, the communications are stretched. Yes, there are not enough reserves. But there are other ways not to receive unexpected strikes from the desert over and over again, as in the times of Lawrence of Arabia, who was amused by such terrorizing Ottoman communications. There is, after all, aerial exploration - drones do not fly just for the sake of telecopy.
In the last two days Turkey has become more active. At the same time, we do not know what exactly the agreements between Moscow and Ankara are now working on Idlib (which is important to know in light of the sad story with El-Bab).
First, President Recep Erdogan announced the holding of a ground military operation in the "reserve", and already in the middle of the day 9 October the first Turkish units crossed the Syrian border in the direction of Idlib and along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. In fact, this means a new attempt to join Ankara in a large-scale war. According to some data, through military intelligence, the Turks entered into negotiations with former "moderate oppositionists" from the remnants of the Syrian free army and should occupy that part of the territory of Idlib, which they are still controlling.
The rest of the "reserve" is taken by Russia. Perhaps, as a result, there will be located contingents of the Russian military police, since the "reserve" is a "zone of de-escalation". However, the truce does not apply to the grouping of ash Sham and other terrorists, that is, on 2 \ 3 of the territory of the "reserve", including the city of Idlib itself.
The day before the chief of the General Staff of the Turkish army, General Akar Hulusi, and the head of military intelligence, General Hakan Firdan, arrived in the province of Hatay, in which, apparently, the headquarters of the Turkish offensive will be located. The operation involves the 5 Panzer Brigade with headquarters in Gaziantep and, presumably, up to two mechanized brigades, including the 39 of Iskaderun, as well as parts of the military police and special forces. In the case and the largest in the country PMC SADAT, which has experience of coordination with the Syrian armed opposition.
Separately note the columns of tanks "Leopard" of German production, although they have not proved themselves in battle with El-Bab and the same Dzherbalus.
In Ankara, they emphasize that they operate within the framework of the agreements reached in Astana.