Thursday, March 10

IS fighters in SE Aleppo fall back to Raqqa; reported uprising against IS in Raqqa; more war reports

Chris Tomson's report today for AMN; see website for map:
ISIS retreats towards Raqqa as government forces widen Aleppo supply line – Map update 

Over the past few days, ISIS’ defensive line in southeastern Aleppo has completely collapsed as government troops keep pushing towards Islamic State heartland in ar-Raqqah province. Earlier today, the Syrian Arab Army’s 555th Brigade of the 4th Mechanized Division captured the villages of al-Hayat, al-‘Aala, and Al-Kabeerah from ISIS forces east of the strategic town of Khanasser.

Just two weeks ago, ISIS cut the Aleppo supply line and temporarily captured Khanasser from the Syrian Arab Army. However, militants loyal to the Islamic State were since repelled and suffered heavy casualties in the process largely due to the Russian Airforce and redeployment of elite Tiger Forces.

Within days, government troops recaptured the Khanasser-Aleppo road; meanwhile, ISIS forces lost hundreds of their fighters. Subsequently, the Islamic State now suffers from inadequate manpower in the region. Meanwhile, the 4th Mechanized Division has received reinforcements from elsewhere in the Aleppo governorate. Thus, a mismatch in avaliable soldiers explains why government troops are able to advance in southeastern Aleppo against little to none ISIS resistance.
From SouthFront's video report today on the war:
On Mar. 9 there reportedly were sporadic clashes between the civilians and ISIS militants in the city of Raqqa, the self-proclaimed Caliphate’s capital in Northeastern Syria. ISIS answered with setting up additional checkpoints and a new wave of arrests across the city. Earlier there have been a series of reports that some 200 militants switched sides and seized part of the city of Raqqa.

One has to consider the distinctive possibility such reports represent an effort by local Sunni tribes to establish a truce with at least one of the two main forces marching in the direction of Raqqa: the Syrian Arab Army or the Kurdish militias. Such developments represent the fact that ISIS has started to lose the influence even in [its] formally controlled territories of Syria.
SouthFront also reported that the Russian and Syrian air forces are intensifying air raids on IS positions in Palmyra. See the video for additional battlefield developments in the past 24 hours.

See also:

> Leith Fadel's report today for AMN, Rebel forces in serious trouble as the Syrian Army splits the East Ghouta [in Greater Damascus]

> Col. Pat Lang's March 9 analysis for Sic Semper Tyrannis, The Battle of Palmyra has officially started  

> The Atlantic's March 9 in-depth report, Behind the Islamic State’s Chemical-Warfare PlansThe militant group is suspected of using toxic agents in attacks in Syria and Iraq

> Sputnik's March 10 More Proof: Sputnik Obtains Exclusive Video From Daesh Chemical Storage

RT's March 8-9 report Syrian Kurds say jihadists used phosphorus in chemical attack in Aleppo; the YPG names specific groups involved in the attack.

> Sputnik's March 9 Shifting From Oil: Daesh Trying to Take Over Drug Trade in EU. The January 16 report from (U.K.) Mirror that Sputnik quotes and links to is in my view a 'must read' in its entirety, and its implications go far beyond the Syrian war and Iraq. (ISIS seizes £4bn drug ring from the Mafia to fund its brutal terror campaign)
More Syria-related war reports today, all from FARS English:

Heavy Clashes Reported between ISIL, Other Terrorists in Northern Aleppo

War-Making Blowback: Saudis Running Out of Cash

1200 Food Packages Distributed among Displaced of Yarmouk Camp (Large Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus that saw a major attack by Islamic State last year)

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