Syria Daily, May 23: Has Regime Turned the Tide in Aleppo?

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LATEST: UN’s Ban “We are Prepared to Send Aid Through Crossings Outside Regime Control”

FRIDAY FEATURES

Only last month we were writing of insurgents putting pressure on the Syrian regime in Aleppo, moving in from the northwest and threatening to take positions to the south.

This morning the headline situation is reversed after President Assad’s forces broke the months-long siege of Aleppo Central Prison (pictured), just to the north of Syria’s largest city. The opposition effort to take the facility, freeing thousands of detainees at risk of starvation or death — adding to the many hundreds who have already died there — appears to be over.

But that is only the start of the story. Syrian forces are reportedly preparing to move to the west of the Prison, attacking the long-held insurgent position in Hraytan, and there are unconfirmed claims that they could take the Sheikh Najjar industrial area to the northeast of Aleppo.

If the regime succeeded on both fronts, it could cut off supplies to insurgents in the eastern half of Aleppo, a siege that could tip the balance in the 22-month stalemate in the city.

An Army statement declared, “The new achievement is highly important as it serves to tighten the noose on residual terrorist groups in the eastern and northeastern outskirts of Aleppo city and cuts off supply lines that terrorist gangs were using for movement from the northern countryside towards the city.”

Just before the regime breakthrough, insurgent commanders spoke of difficulties as they faced massive regime firepower with inadequate arms.

“Everybody knows the rebels don’t have high quality weapons, we have normal weapons. We don’t have enough ammunition,” said Abu Bilal, the military commander for the leading insurgent faction Liwa al-Tawhid:

They used the firepower from air strikes and shoot from far away. The airplanes normally come very high and bomb, that’s their strategy.

Abu Assad, the military commander for the insurgent bloc Islamic Front, added, “The reason for their advance is unequal power. We don’t have equality of weapons against the regime and their aircraft and the tanks.”

Syrian forces celebrating inside the Prison:


UN’s Ban “We are Prepared to Send Aid Through Crossings Outside Regime Control”

In a notable shift of position, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said on Thursday that the UN is prepared to send aid via border crossings outside regime control.

The UN has refrained from such shipments to date because of Damascus’ warning that it would halt co-operation on any aid deliveries.

The UN said eaerlier this week that 85% of food aid and 75% of medicines have gone to regime-controlled areas this year, in contrast to a 50-50 split in 2013 between regime-controlled and insurgent-controlled neighborhoods.

In recent weeks, the US and Britain have responded to concerns about inability to get aid to millions of displaced and at-risk Syrians by saying they would work with groups outside the UN.

Ban’s report said that, as the Assad regime has “failed” to care for its people, “We are ready to put in place arrangements at key border and line crossings to facilitate, improve and monitor access,” the report says, including at crossings “currently outside the government’s effective control.”

Ban said about 9.3 million people, including 6.5 million displaced by fighting, are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance within Syria.

Meanwhile Mercy Corps has confirmed that it has been forced to close its operations in Damascus after Syrian officials demanded that it halt work in insurgent-held areas of the country.

The Corps halted its efforts on April 30, It assisted more than 350,000 civilians in the south and more than 1.7 million in the north.

Video: Insurgents Inside Regime Tank Base Captured on Thursday

Insurgents walk through a regime tank base near Morek in Hama Province, overrun by an opposition counter-attack on Thursday:

Syrian forces have been trying for weeks to take Morek, on the highway from Hama to Idlib Province in northwest Syria.

See Insurgents Kill Scores of Assad Troops Near Morek in Hama Province

Video: Islamic Front Makes Islamic State of Iraq Prisoners Undress to Prevent Suicide Bombers

Fearing suicide bombings, the insurgent bloc Islamic Front makes captured Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham fighters undress:

ISIS has carried out a series of suicide attacks using members wearing explosive belts.

Video: Kafranbel Protest Denounces Russian Veto of UN Resolution

The Friday protest in Kafranbel in northwest Syria responds to last night’s Russian veto of a United Nations resolution to take the Syrian case to the International Criminal Court:

See Russia & China Veto Latest UN Security Council Resolution

A direct message for Russian President Vladimir Putin:

KAFRANBEL PUTIN

Russia Sending Observers to Presidential Election

Russia said on Thursday that it will help ensure a free and fair Presidential election with a team of two observers for the June 3 vote.

The Chairman of the Russian Duma Foreign Affairs Committee, Alexey Pushkov, said, “Moscow will send Chairman of the Property Committee at Duma Council Sergey Gavrilov of the Communist Party and Member of the international Affairs Committee Ivan Kveita of Unified Russia Party.”

Iran has said that it is also considering the despatch of monitors.

Syria sent letters of invitation for observers to 11 countries: Russia, China,India, South Africa, Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Armenia.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. I would say that regime has turned the tide at its favour basically everywhere in the country. Even the south where rebels had made good gains is seeing a fierce comeback by the regime. The fall of nawa could be the next major turn there.

    • You always think that every time the Regime wins a mini-victory. Rebels simply win more. The more troops Assad ties up in Aleppo, the better. Rebels will wear ’em doWn eventually while grabbing stuff all over the map in the meantime.

      Where is the “comEback” by the regime in Nawa where Assad’s forces have been taking splendid losses? And how about the hammering above Hama? Why can’t the regime even drive the rebels out of its core territory in Lattakia.

      • Latakia? Rebels are relegated around kessab and thats it. No tower 45, no mt.chalma no samara beach. Regime mini victories?? Rebels are beeing hammered in every area or by SAA or isis. If queintera front crumbles too with the fall of nawa even southern front will be in jeopardy. You continue to bomb us with info of small gains here and there from the rebels whwn in reality who is making huge macro gains is Assad’s regime. I think these months with this turn in aleppo rappresents one of the lowest points ever for the armed revo. Hoping really something changes from the outside if not total defeat will not be far.

        • even in the unlikely scenario asad regains the whole of syria he still got to hold it against an insurgency, and the reality of this war is that it will last as long as there are allawite recruits to fuel assads war the rebels so what ever happens in the short or medium term asad will eventually have to withdraw to his heart land so rebels should concentrate on killing allawites even if they are civillians and not holdind terrain which is succeptable to air attack

          • You guys underestimate by far the domestic support Assad has. And this more than any foreign help, iranian, iraqi, russian or lebanese has made a difference in these 3 yrs. A huge sector of Sunni’s in syria are NOT at all against Assad and its regime. Actually most of the middle and high class sunni’s are mostly in favour of Assad since their economic fortunes and destiny are directly connected with the regime. Its mostly the poor part in the countryside which fueled the revo on the sunni part. Let alone the other minorities such as druzes and christians clearly on Assad side. So thats why you will never see in damascus or aleppo a libyan type scenario victory with rebels storming the cities with the support of the whole nation. In syria its not a sunni vs the rest scenario. That is plain rubbish…Assad unfortunately has a lot of support coming from the sunni’s themselves.

  2. MORTAR ATTACK BRINGS HIGH CASUALTIES TO REGIME’S CAMPAIGN SITE IN DARAA

    Lots of injuries and deaths reported as regime gots a taste of its own medicine in Daraa on a day when Assad again used chemical weapons on three towns and dropped barrel bombs on civilians all across Syria with Obama’s tacit approval.

    https://twitter.com/RamiAlLolah/status/469633759361249283/photo/1

    ALAWITE TANK COLUMN GOES UP IN SMOKE

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXdnmk1-FhM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    MANY CEOs DUCK PUTIN’S “INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC CONFERENCE IN PETERSBURG

    Anything that helps develop Russia’s economy will help his plots against neighbors using lies, extreme Russian nationalists and special forces minus insignia. That’s not in our national interests.

    http://rt.com/business/160612-petersburg-spief2014-economic-forum/

    A CHRISTIAN LIEUTENANT DISGUSTED WITH ASSAD’S THUGGERY DEFECTS TO REBELS

    Upset by regime crimes, defector Michelle Dayoub switched sides in Morek. Source: Paradoxy.

    RUSSIA DRAWS UP PLANS TO TARGET WESTERN FORUMS WITH PAID FAKES

    Milosevic and Syrian have done the same. All use American names and the pronouns “we” and “us.” They copy Goebbels’s Big Lie technique to fool the Less Bright Among Us.

    It’s a one way process since such tyrants censor the media and allow no criticism. Another difficulty is that people aren’t exactly breaking down doors to learn the language of Putin’s Backwardia. English–not Russian or Serbian–is the world’s lingua france even that infuriates Putin.

    http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/the-kremlins-trolls-go-west/500641.html

    WHAT MAKES OBAMA LOOK FOOLISH

    Every time the regime launches a new chemical attack and every time Obama tells us “I got a great deal!”

    Instead of wasting time on the phony issue of Benghazi the GOP should hammer Obama for his Neville Chamberlain kowtowing to West-hating powers. The GOP does not want to offend isolationists like Rand Paul or its elderly, white neo-fascist core–the same element that supports Putin and Assad in Europe.

    Democrats who can’t stand the Koch Brothers-owned Party of Theocracy, Vote Rigging Racism and Tea Party nuts cases can punish Obama and the Democrats by staying home until 2015 when Hillary runs and one can vote Democratic again without fear of jeopardizing national security.

    Obama could change his policy in Syria and back moderate rebels 100% bu it wouldn’t undo the damage and radicalization he has caused over the past three years. No matte what he does, we’ll stay home until 2016 then vote straight Democratic.

  3. You live in a fantasy world if you fail to grasp Assad’s unpopularity–an underpowered word because it is more than unpopularity: It is deep and well-deserved hatred which the Alawite people share.

    Assad has less than 20 percent and 80 percent hatred. The domestic support is limited to Alawites and some minorities who also despise him in many ways. The ONLY reasons he survive are three things: inported Shia Islamist sectarian fighters, training and arming of Alawi Militia by the same foreign powers, a monopoly of air power and a near monopoly of artillellery and missiles.

    Plus he has the useful ISIS;/Al Queda (mainly foreigners) as a proxy. Rebels would have taken Aleppo, Idlib, Deir Ezzor and Raqaa already if not for the latter’s help to a regime which pretends to be fighting terror but actually inflicts it.

    When you look at those advantages, the rebel performance to date has been amazing and–like rebel numbers this is the ultimate proof of the regime’s irreversible popularity and explains why the rebels have seized much of the country.

    If Obama keeps backstabbing the rebel moderates and the latter continue to allow themselves to be played for suckers, the Syrian rebels ought to all give up on western democracy entirely and join wtith JAN;/Al Queda., wipe out ISIS and welcome Sunni fighters from abroad as Assad has done with Shia.

    [edited by moderator]

    • A lot of sunnis you like it or not, especially from the middle class upwards share a lot with Assad and the regime and hence back the regime. But of course you cannot know this. Forget completely or even think to see damascus rise like tripoli or beghanzi, there there was for real 3/4 of the population against the regime. And in fact the outcome of the whole revo in libya was “vaguely” different…..

    • Taking the Aleppo prison is a military victory and a huge propaganda victory. However, I wonder if the rebels have a plan to attack Assad’s forces from the east and besiege even more forces in and near the Aleppo prison. Assad is very isolated that far north and the rebels are strong there. I try to keep up with the war and look at both pro-rebel and pro-Assad sources.

      The TOW missiles have obviously been a bit of a boost for the rebels. The rebels need even more TOWS as they are still severely outgunned on many fronts (obviously east of aleppo city) with artillery, tanks, and of course airpower. Syria has a ton of tanks (many leftover from the fight against Israel). I know what the TOW can do and they can be a bigger boost to the rebels if they had more. They have a far greater range than most anti-armor and can pierce the armor even at the front of the tank. The US/Saudi Arabia has a huge supply of these TOWs. I predict to counter Russia’s aggression in Ukraine that far more of these TOW missiles will flow to moderate rebel groups.

      In the meantime the rebels need to stick to their guerrila warfare tactics. The TOW missiles are an ideal weapon for guerrila warfare as they can be mounted out of the range of the tank and then once the tank is hit they can easily be packed up and moved. If the rebels continue to destroy 4-5 tanks a day and maybe increase this with more anti-armor then they will be in a better position to take and hold territory.

      Here is an interesting note. http://www.globalfirepower.com/armor-tanks-total.asp. It is estimated that pre-civil war Syria had almost 5000 tanks with a population of 20 million. The United States with a far superior military and far bigger population has about 8500 tanks. Of course, the American tanks are far superior and many of the Syrian tanks are older Soviet Models (T55s) but the rebels are at a huge disadvantage with this. It partially explains why Assad has held on so long and even seems to be winning in some areas. He has a big ass military arsenal.

      These are my opinions. I enjoy reading this site and hearing the different sides.

  4. TERRIFIC NEW REPUBLIC ARTICLE TEARS INTO OMAMA AS A SHAMEFUL COWARD

    The article’s title is “Obama, the Shoah, and Syria: The president’s hypocrisy about genocide.” Check out how Steven Spielberg embasassed His Impotency when Obama came to accept a reward. The author of this peace suggerts correcty that a presicent who talks tough like George Patton but acts like Tiny Time should just shut up.

    When Obama gets blasted by Democrats on the left you know the party is going to be in trouble in November over Syria. If just 5 to 10% of “sure thing” democrats like myself or like readers of the New Republic stay home i November we can avenge Obama’s criminal foreign policy in Syria. The man reminds me of Erdogan in just this respect: his complete inflexibility in stickking to lousy policies and his inability to admit when something is not working and adjust, as JFK did after the Bay of Pigs..

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117853/obama-shoah-and-syria-hypocrisy-genocide

    BIG REBEL VICTORY AT MILITARY BASE NEAR NAWA ON TOP OF MOREK WIN TRUMPS REGIME’S PRISON VICTORY & ISIS/REGIME GAINS IN DEIR EZZOR

    Rebels claim to have taken over military base on Tell Umm Horan north of Nawa. The capture of the prison may get more attention but these dual victories are more significant. Here is why: Assad has zero chance of taking Aleppo or doing much with Deir Ezzor but if he can’t stop rebel advances in Hama and south of Damascus the regime cannot survive. He has too few forces to handle alll these fronts and ISIS can’t bail him out everywhere.

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

    REBELS FOLLOW UP MOREK VICTORY WIT A CODA

    Rebels destroyed BMP & Technical at eastern outskirt of the city today—Markito.

    http://wikimapia.org/#lang=de&lat=32.925996&lon=36.049490&z=15&m=b

    LAUGHING AT “HIS IMPOTENCY” IN USA, ASSAD DROPS CHEMICAL WEAPONS ON TOWN FOR THIRD TIME IS TWO DAYS

    It’s beinning to look like only JAN can save the rebels.

    Forget the West, Forget Obama . Forget his weakling FSA puppets whose begging and cringing before His Impotency only earns his scorns and achieves nothing.

    [edited by moderator]

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