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Monday, January 25

Syria Sitrep at Sic Semper Tyrannis plus don't miss the video

SYRIA SITREP: Rebel Defences Crumbling In Latakia Province by Patrick BAHZAD, Jan 25, 2016. Sic Semper Tyrannis

In one sentence, the Syrian Army coalition is on a roll but be sure to pick up all the details. At the same time I was reading the sitrep I had one of my five eyes on Al-Masdar's breaking news ticker tape -- yes yes I know one isn't supposed to multi-task -- and so it happened that at the same time I was reading this passage from the sitrep:
To make things worse for the Salafi and Jihadi groups present in Latakia province, the Turkish border, which used to be as open to them as a saloon door (the PC slang being "porous") has now turned into their enemy, as the Turks have now closed it in parts, thus making it impossible for these groups to retreat towards their logistical rearbases and sanctuaries North of the border. No doubt, Erdogan is not keen on sheltering groups and individuals who might possibly turn against him, if they think they are not getting proper support. He may certainly be willing to help out his own proxy militias (mostly Turkmen groups and components of "Ahrar al-Sham"), but he knows of the dangers that the lose cannons of various Jihad franchises represent.
Paul Antonopoulos at Al-Masdar News was reporting:

Suicide attack on terrorist group in Aleppo
The Daily Star [I think that's in Beirut but don't quote me] has reported that a suicide bomber belonging to an unknown group drove [into?] a fuel tank, blowing himself up on Monday.  
[Update: Reuters report 12:41 EST described attack as "a suicide bomber driving a fuel tank truck"]
The target was a checkpoint belonging to the Islamist group Ahrar ash-Sham, who are allied with Al-Qaeda affiliates, Al-Nusra Front.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reports that 7 members of the terrorist group died, in which 4 were commanders.
The SOHR also reported that three nearby buildings were destroyed and dozens of people were injured and stuck under rubble.
Seems like somebody really wanted to take out those commanders. I wonder if they were part of the "components" of Ahrar ash-Sham that Patrick wrote are a proxy for Erdogan's crew. Surely it's the same group despite the slightly different spellings.

Anyhow, that's four commanders who won't be showing up in Geneva for negotiations. If I recall Ahrar al-Sham was one of the groups Kerry had at least originally wanted represented and Moscow had nixed the choice. 

Before I sign off, I want to mention this report from FARS datelined today

Military Strategist: Syrian Army Readying to Free Besieged Shiite Towns in Aleppo

Makes a good companion read for Patrick's sitrep. Also, from this weekend, this dour headline from Associated Press: Russian-backed Syrian army advances imperil peace talks 
And this video from Al-Masdar News:

Al-Masdar Jan 24 SAA battling ISIS on Deir Ezzor Frontline (Video)

Incredible footage has captured the Syrian Arab Army’s battle with ISIS in recent days in Deir Ezzor.

The city is an enclave of government held territory completely surrounded by ISIS.

The defense of the city is led by renowned General Issam Zahreddine. The video shows the General leading his troops in an intense battle against the terrorists.

Despite early and initial successes by ISIS, all the gains made were overturned by the Syrian Arab Army.

* Warning: the video contains graphic footage*

[*Pundita Warning: the video contains music accompanying the action.* Sounds to me like a Russian technician got a little carried away]


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