Syria Daily, May 6: Regime Seeks a Military Breakthrough near Damascus & Aleppo

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LATEST: Insurgents Kidnap Failed Candidate for Presidential Election

TUESDAY FEATURE

Insurgents Carry Out 40-Ton Explosion in Idlib Province

The Syrian military is continuing to seek a breakthrough both east of Damascus and east of Aleppo.

Pro-regime outlets declared on Monday that Syrian forces “destroyed most of the terrorists’ dens and gatherings in al-Mleha town”, east of Damascus, and that they were succeeding in attacks near the Sheikh Najjar industrial area near Aleppo.

On both fronts, however, EA sources confirmed that insurgents were still holding lines, “resisting all attacks” in Mleha and bringing in reinforcements in the “fierce clashes” outside Aleppo.

The Syrian military has been trying for months to clear insurgents from a crescent of territory around Damascus, through a combination of ceasefires, sieges, and bombardments. The capture of Mleha would open up the rest of the insurgent-held area of East Ghouta.

Footage of destruction in Mleha:

Near Aleppo, the regime is counter-attacking after insurgents moved on the northwestern front and threatened to cut off Syrian forces in the western half of Syria’s largest city. Seizure of Sheikh Najjar would reverse the situation by isolating insurgents in the eastern part of Aleppo.


Insurgents Kidnap Failed Candidate for Presidential Election

Insurgents in Daraa Province in southern Syria have kidnapped Mohammad Kanaan, a military officer whose bid for candidacy in the June 3 Presidential election was turned down by the Constitutional Court.

A video showed Kanaan, seated on an armchair with three armed, bearded insurgents in fatigues.

“The Tabarak al-Rahman Brigade has arrested one of the presidential candidates,” said one of the men.

Kanaan said he is a colonel in the army’s 1st Division tank battalion, and was stopped by a Free Syrian Army patrol while travelling from Damascus to Daraa.

Asked why he registered for an election that the opposition has mocked as a “farce”, Kanaan said the regime coerced him into running.

Human Rights Watch Criticizes Lebanon for Deporting Syrian Palestinians

Human Rights Watch has criticized Lebanon for deporting about 40 Palestinians to Syria last weekend.

HRW also condemned strict restrictions placed by Lebanese authorities on Palestinians crossing over the Syrian border.

“Such a policy violates the international law principle of nonrefoulement, which forbids governments from returning refugees and asylum seekers to places where their lives or freedom would be threatened,” HRW said in its Tuesday statement.

Lebanese authorities detained 49 Syrian and Palestinian refugees at the Beirut airport for allegedly trying to travel with forged documents to an unidentified Arab country. They were interrogated to reveal the “network of individuals forging travel documents, and whoever is involved in the case”. Most were deported back to Syria the next day.

There are more than one million registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Evacuation of Insurgents from Homs “Could Take Days”

Homs Provincial Governor Talal Barazi said on Tuesday that the evacuation of insurgents from Homs city may take days to arrange.

The regime and opposition announced a provision deal on Sunday for the fighters to withdraw to areas north of Homs, allowing Syrian forces to reclaim 13 districts for the first time in more than two years.

On Monday, reports circulated that the fighters would be allowed to leave on buses, carrying one personal weapon each. United Nations and Iranians representatives would supervise the evacuation, as the Syrian military watched from distance.

Barazi told Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV:

The conditions are helpful and the atmosphere is suitable for achieving positive steps toward settlement and reconciliation and the exit of armed groups, but we have not set a date yet.

The next few days will witness, God willing, steps like this, and we hope there will be a date soon.

Hezbollah Commander on Allowing Insurgents to Leave Homs “We Will Kill Them in the Countryside”

A Hezbollah commander who fought in Homs until late April explains the decision to allow insurgents to leave the city, rather than defeat them with force:

They were fortified and fanatics who are ready to die. We would lose too many men.

It’s better to kill them with planes in the countryside.

Filmmaker on Aleppo Documentary: “We Need to See Syrians Outside Lens of Extremism”

Filmmaker Michal Przedlacki spent 44 days in Aleppo in summer 2013 for the documentary Aleppo:Notes from the Dark, about the lives of seven people in the escalating conflict. He tells Syria Deeply:

We need to see Syrians in the same lens as we see ourselves and outside the context of radicalization. By only showing Syria under the lens of extremism, we can make the justification for not doing enough.

If we turned this narrative upside down, and showed attacks on schools, people would be absolutely shocked about what is going on inside Syria. To us, the most important thing is to bring the film to as many people as possible, to remind people of what is happening in Syria, to people caught up in the midst of war, trying to survive and exist. The film is about showing the real image of the war and how it transforms the lives of ordinary people.

Trailer “Aleppo. Notes from the dark” from Studio Szumowski on Vimeo.

Another Insurgent Faction Seen with US-Made TOW Anti-Tank Missile

Yet another insurgent group, Liwa Fursan al-Haq, seen with a US-made TOW anti-tank missile:

SYRIA US TOW MISSILES

The TOW missiles have been appearing in Syria since last month, with at least four groups now posting videos or photographs.

Liwa Fursan al-Haq is linked to the Supreme Military Council and operates in Idlib Province in northwest Syria.

See At Least 20 US-Made Anti-Tank Missiles in Hands of Insurgents — More to Come?

Claimed footage of another TOW, on Mount Chalma in Latakia Province:

Regime Promotes Children’s Festival in Damascus

State news agency SANA declares that 7,000 children from southern Syria took part in a festival, held by the Vanguards Organization of the ruling Ba’ath Party, in Damascus on Monday.

The head of the Organization told the audience that Syria faced “takfiris” who were trying “to subvert children’s thoughts and nip their dreams in the bud”.

SANA assures, “Children interviewed…, among them sons and daughters of martyrs, said they are determined to defy terrorism that is robbing them of childhood and shattering their dreams.”

CHILDREN'S FESTIVAL SYRIA

US Hosts 10-Day Visit by Opposition Leaders

Opposition leaders, including the heads of the Syrian National Coalition and the Supreme Military Council, arrived in Washington on Monday for 10 days of talks with American officials.

The opposition is seeking an increase in US support, notably military aid, after months of indecision by the Obama Administration.

In a gesture of support on Monday, the a “senior Administration official” declared that the Coalition’s office in Washington is now a foreign mission. He said the Administration is seeking another $27 million in non-lethal aid from Congress, bringing the total to $287 million.

The official said, “We have enhanced our coordination with key regional allies to provide assistance to the moderate opposition.”

However, he did not refer to any specific provision of military weapons or equipment, simply declaring, “We recognize that (the Free Syrian Army) need to have what they need to change the situation on the ground.”

He further dampened any expectations of assistance, “We continue to believe there is no military solution to the conflict.”

Insurgents Carry Out 40-Ton Explosion, Killing 40 Regime Troops in Idlib Province

EA sources confirm footage of an insurgent attack with 40 tons of explosives on a regime position in Idlib Province, killing at least 40 Syrian troops:

See Insurgents Carry Out 40-Ton Explosion in Idlib Province

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17 COMMENTS

  1. Re: Assad seeks a breakthrough in Mlieha and Aleppo.

    To seek isn’t what counts. Many regime offensives bog down from the start. Others start fast, get slowed to a stop and then roll backwards with serious losses. That’s been the pattern in Aleppo (see June and December 2013). But why?

    It comes down to this: if given time, rebels can and will reinforce in Aleppo. Assad cannot. Thus regime offensives can’t afford any slowdowns because this big rebel advantage comes into play. EA’s report that rebel lines are holding in both Damacus and Aleppo is more ominous in the latter case for that reason.

    In Mleha both sides can reinforce to some extent. This is a place where it is difficult for either side to gain and hold territory. However, tying down regime forces and inflicting anything close to equal casualties is a strategic victory for the side with plenty of manpower over the side with very limited manpower.

    • furthermore the regime can hold territory using heavily fortified fire bases and by concentrating forces in a particular area , but when they advance these forces become dispersed by the very nature of an advance so they become easy to eliminate hence all regime offensuves eventually grind to a halt and then are slowly reversed with huge loses to the regime in terms of manpower

      • Haven’t hundreds of fortified bases have fallen to the rebels. Sometimes defenders flee and defect. There are only so many loyalists. The regime must maintain too many isolated checkpoints in order to slow rebel advances and prevent suicide bombings which then hit the checkpoint instead of some place down the road. i

        Part of your argument above is that defense is natually eaiser than offense. Why would that not apply to the regime as well as everyone else? On offense you often need three to one ratios or more to have a chance at gaining the object. That’s a big problem for the regime because of lack of manpower and it applies double in Aleppo where manpower is in even lower supply. I assume you know that casualties contribute to that shortage but they are not the Prime Cause. What is?

        When the regime is on offense, leveling an area with air power and/or artillery helps attackers a bit even though defenders can hide in the rubble. In Aleppo the regime has far less high ground artillery than in a place like Damascus, which explains why it relies more on barrel bombing. Even so, accuracy is difficult, air bases fewer and high speed jets can’t stick around long. There are too few helicopters and they are becoming fewer. They also have duties in other places and–where land supply routes are cut off–they must use some supply missions.

        In Quneitra, Daraa and Aleppo rebels are working on taking away high ground–for good–so the Alawite egime’s ability to target nearby Sunni communities dimishes accordingly. I think they are about ready to do start mass neutralization of airports and aircraft based at same. Can the regime send a division to every threatened air base? It won’t have any troops left to defend other vital locations let alone go on the offensive..

      • I forgot to mention that the immobile side, as in static fire bases, is at greater risk from mortars, rockets etc than the mobile rebels whose position varies.

        • Unless there are reinforced concrete bunkers in these bases.Making mortars and rockets innefective.

  2. A DIRTY BOMB ATTACK SCHEME IN THE UKRAINE?

    The SBU claiims to have detained 10 people caught with 1.5 kilo of radicocative materia transported from Transdnestria to Chernivtsi for a dirty bomb.

    Obviously the plotters needed Putin’s help to steal and transport the material. The bomb would have made Kiev uninhabitable for centuries and knocked off many of the Russian residents Putin pretends to care about. The intent was to intimidate neighbors with the implicit message that “You can be next.” I’m sure some are capable of responding in kind re: Moscow. The link below is in Russian. French is my limit.

    http://www.sbu.gov.ua/sbu/control/uk/publish/article;jsessionid=AF63E112C872DD2340E6758203D4E23E.app1?art_id=124766&cat_id=39574

    BUSINESS WEEK: Why Putin’s Ukrainian “New Russia” Could Be an Ungovernable Mess

    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-05-05/why-putins-ukrainian-new-russia-could-be-an-ungovernable-mess?campaign_id=yhoo

    BLOOMBERG: Ruble Plunge Hitting Russians Speeds Slide to Recession

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-05/ruble-plunge-hitting-russians-speeds-slide-to-recession.html?cmpid=yhoo

    PUTIN TO SHIP NEW BATCH OF YAK FIGHTERS TO SYRIA

    Assad will be receiving first batch of #Russia|n Yak-130 end of 2014..—Source: Rami Al-Lolah

    https://twitter.com/RamiAlLolah/status/463310856810283008/photo/1

    This is another reason why rebels must eliminate as many air bases as possible now. Obama’s official position is, “Always let Putin and Khamenei get away with anything.” His Impotency could thwart the scheme by sending advanced manpads to Syria now and doubling the allocation if needed in 2014.

    AN ASSAD OFFICER EXPLAINS WHAT MOTIVATED HIS DEFECTION

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8m8vsYPRMJI&feature=youtu.be

    SURREALISTIC ANNOUNCEMENT FROM GENOCIDE REGIME

    Regime announces a “prosperous” tourist season in Homs,days ago 1 minister spoke of “great investment opportunities in this sector!!!

    FROM LEBANON’S NOW: As America retreats from the Middle East, it is transformed into an area of nascent caliphates.

    https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/commentaryanalysis/545975-disrupting-the-cosmic-clock

    FOREIGN AFFAIRS: NATO’s Biggest Mistake–The Alliance Drifted From Its Core Mission — And the World Is Paying the Price

    http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/138432/michael-e-brown/natos-biggest-mistake

  3. NEWS FROM THE DESERT FRONT

    The fallen base east of Dumayr was a tank and ammuntion base (Base 559) and /or a Science Research base. I’ve seen both claims. Tazi Morocco. reports It was loaded with underground bunkers containing dozens of tanks and ammo. Nearby, regime Forces suffered heavy losses trying to reopen Damascus – Baghdad Highway

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a60UwrK1d6I&feature=youtu.be

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PX4D8e6rwdA&feature=youtu.be

    TM believes Assad will not attack rebels in the desert because he only wants to secure an Alawistan between Latakia and Damascus).” I’d say he simply lacks capacity. Assad must see how a successful desert offensive would threaten his dream.

    ALEPPO FRONT

    Two interesting videos from the pro-regime Zahra neighborhood inear the near Airforce Intelligence command-and-control site. Brigade General Mohammad-Mahmoud was killed during clashes in that neighborhood

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAI0MPRo_RA

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sk0ZyRmYvA

    BRINGING DOWN THE REGIME REQUIRES SPOTTING VULNERABILITIES

    For very different reasons, the fall of either Aleppo or Damascus would be fatal. But which can be taken more quickly and at the lowest cost?” See these five factors and you decide:

    #1: Size of the target city.

    #2: Ability to neutralize airports within range.

    #3: Less problems with hilltop artillery

    #4: Demoralized, crippled and highly vulnerable enemy forces.

    #5: A far greater ability to reinforce while preventing the regime from doing the same.

    Whatever the target, the rebels need to complete most of the desert campaign and neutralize as many air bases as possible before making the big move. Once engaged, they must also keep the regime busy on other fronts.

    • 1st video shows 3 tanks that look like they have been stored for a while with what looked like an airstrike hitting the base.2nd vid shows 1 tank driving around and a couple crates of ammo.Where is all this stuff you say was captured.Some more vids if you could find them would be great.Until then its 3 tanks with 1 driveable and a few boxes of stuff.

      • Right. I get it. Denial, denial! The tank base had no tanks and the bunkers were empty. Minimize big rebel victories, maximize anticipated regime victories that nevere occur and pyrrhic ones that do. Anticipating such regime propaganda, Tazi Morocco posts:

        “… video of Bataillon 559 taken by Syrian Rebels, i count 9 tanks. Footage of small part of the base.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1Wvv9QVnNA

        By the way the tank in the video was the one Alloush arrived in from what I can tell. Meanwhile, tank crews in Mlieha, unescorted by infantry, continue to commit suicide like the one in sitting duck in this video. Note how close the rebel gets:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LmvNvWUsKs

        • That video is from the 20th of march.Was the base taken 7 weeks ago?There were a few tanks there.Not in denial.I just like 2 see things as evidence.I thought the base was a recent victory.

        • The tank did not seem to get knocked out.Looked like something was coming up from behind.Possibly to recover the tank and crew?

  4. ARREST VIDEO

    The FSA Has Arrested Presidential candidate Colonel Hassan Mohammed Kanaan

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?
    v=7lrhOfxDH2c&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    NORTHERN FRONT

    Islamic Front reports a BMP & a T72 Tank was damaged in Zahra rebels captured ammunition & killed 25 regime forces—Johnny Six

    DESERT FRONT

    Rebels have removed dozens of tanks from captured Base 559. –Tazi Morocco. They were stored three to a bin. The tanks will be handy against desert airbases. Rebels killed the commander of the 559th.

    https://twitter.com/SQORALSHAM/status/463722276412608513/photo/1

    DAMASCUS FRONT

    Rebels are Targeting regime strongholds in the 81st Signal Regiment located near Damascus International Airport.—Johnny Six

    In Jobar, rebels have found a regime tunnel and flooded it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ig2mwC2hgN4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    In Mlieha the regime offensive seems to be sputtering again. Markito says rebels destroyed three regime tanks today on the outskirts of Mlieha. Tahrir Sy reports: “The opposition gained control on some of their old positions in Mleha, and captured 35 SAA soldiers and Iraqi militias. JN source told us.” –Tahrir Sy. Orient TV reports rebels are in control of the Air Force Intelligence detachment in Mleiha.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZ6YyK1qxAA&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Failed offensives are costly and the regime has failed many times here in last two months. Nevertheless it can throw more reinforcements into the fire and keep trying. That’s no easy in Aleppo where the regime is making its third attempt since June. Assad’s local reserves have been used up and supply/reinforcement lines cut, so if and when the regime stalls, regaining momentum becomes very difficult as rebel reinforcements begin to change the odds.

    JOHNNY SIX ON HOW REBEL WEAPONS HAVE IMPROVED LATELY

    “(Grads”)…. are very accurate if you know how to use them & the rounds are devastating like artillery. I’ve been watching them perform some quality fire missions lately even with grads. They learned something.”

    “Brand new mortars. Pine box hasn’t even dried out yet.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTa8CkTT9Pw&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    JS loves to keep track of regime tank losses which have been incredible. Few crews survive. Another JS favorite are “flying shabbiha” vides. This one is #41.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I98lZhEPQmg&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    There was a time when the rebels had no tanks, no rockets and missiles, few mortars and no ATGMs. Look at them today. Most, includuding ATGMs, have been captured or handed over by defectors. Meanwhile the regime’s tanks, crews and airbases continue to shrink.

    SOAR ESTIMATES 70,000 Alawites Have Died Since the Conflict Began

  5. ASSAD KEEPS PLAYING THE SAME OLD TRICK ON THE REBELS & THEY KEEP ALLOWING IT

    “Convoy (several buses) of regime-reinforcements arrived at norther entrance of Daraa city. Markito0171.

    Rebels will be rope-a-doped with the same trick.until they wise up and concentrate where it can’t be employed. When we gloat over the fact that convoys shipped off to places like Daraa or Aleppo are unlikely to return we need to consider Assad knows the risks. His goal is to prevent a domino victory that could end the “dynamic stalemate” for good.

    Damasus doesn’t meet the key requirements. Aleppo does but its size is the key concern. That leaves Idlib, smaller but also cut off, as a prime candidate for a “quickie.” Both Aleppo and regime basees near Maarat al-Numan would be easier afterwards. When they, so does the regime. Dominoes!

    Before lauchning any major assault on Idlib, rebels would be wise to put the regime on the defensive in Aleppo by reinforcing moderately. Rebels also need to finish up a good part of their desert campaign. If a few airbases can be neutralized, so much the better. A “must” is to strengthen blockage of the highway west of Idlib and all routes leading to Aleppo.

    AN INTERESTING REPORT FROM IDLIB TODAY

    The sound of clashes has been reported in Idlib city.

    • Breaking News!!! REBELS WIN A TANK BATTLE IN THE DESERT!

      I’ve been wondering what ever happened to the convoy reportedly dispatched from Tiyas Airbase two days ago in a futile effort to save Base 559. As someone noted at that time, base defenses had to e weakned accordingly. Now we apparently know how the story ended:

      “Rebels destroyed 9 tanks + killed many #Assad-forces of army-convoy who tried to regain control of Battalion 559 storages.”—Markito0171.

      THE NORTHERN FRONT

      According to Tazi Morocco and Johnny Six, Tow missiles have been blowing the daylights out of regime forces trying to advance in Aleppo. What’s interesting is that they’ve also appeared in Lattakia and…Idlib (see post above)

      WESTERN QALAMOUN: Actual Fact vs. Regime Fiction

      In spite of the withdrawal of many factions, large parts of Western Qalamoun and Lebanon border are still firmly in Rebels’ hands—Tazi Morocco.

      SOUTHERN FRONT: The battle for three tells (hills) near Nawa continues.

      CONCEALING SECRETS IN RAQQ

      Taking what Desert Fire refers to as a “dead men tell no tales approach, ISIS had been crucifying defectors from Division 17 while claming the defectors are regime loyalists. I’ll bet photos of the crucified are then shown to members of the division to deter defections.

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