By Chris Tomson
July 11, 2016
[Pundita note: See second report for an outline of the Islamists' standard attack strategy in Syrian battles, which is by now well understood by the Syrian Army coalition; the knowledge played a large part in stopping the offensive in Aleppo city today. Note the first two phases of the strategy lean heavily on suicide fighters.]
Around dawn today, Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda group) and several other rebel groups launched a series of attacks on positions held by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) just west of the Aleppo citadel in central Aleppo. According to information obtained by Al-Masdar News, rebel forces did capture about ten buildings near the Al-Morour building (police station), Amir hotel and Souq Al-Hal (food market) during the morning.
The offensive was spearheaded by a major tunnel bomb blast.
Seven Al-Qaeda fighters emerged from another tunnel behind enemy lines in an effort to ambush the SAA; these militants were later killed as they seemed to have been sent on a suicidal mission by their commander to combat and inflict casualties upon SAA troops.
Shortly after, the SAA retook all lost buildings and managed to push the Islamist rebels back to their initial positions. Picture of the deceased rebel fighters can be seen here. [Visit website for link]
During the afternoon, the rebel offensive was officially over – sniper fire and booby traps had proven too costly for the Al-Nusra Front and its allies. Minor clashes are ongoing. Insurgents still remain under siege in Aleppo due to the SAA’s Tiger Forces enjoying fire control over the Castello road, the last rebel supply line to the city itself.
From Izat Charkatli's riveting report today for AMN, How the Tiger Forces became the most effective fighting force in Syria. Here I focus on his discussion of the IS attack strategy:
Jihadists rely on three types of units: suicide bombers, “Inghimassiyeen” (suicide fighters), and “Moqtahimeen” (storming forces).
Suicide bombers are typically men who volunteer to drive armored VBIEDs into enemy front lines to break them and scatter their morale dealing a ton of damage in equipment and lives with their explosives-packed vehicles. They’re usually sent at the beginning of any battle.
Then come the Inghimassiyeen (suicide fighters). Those are entire suicide teams sent to infiltrate the enemy front lines and blow their suicide belts up, further fragmenting the defensive positions and trenches of the opposing force, demoralizing and breaking them, potentially forcing them to flee and abandon their positions.
Following the previous two waves of suicide units, the Iqtiham units (storming forces) begin their attack. Those are regular infantry given the task of seizing and fortifying the enemy positions targeted by the bombers.
This whole combination of attackers makes the jihadists a formidable and fearful force ...