Syria Daily, Nov 19: Insurgents Announce New Offensive in Southwest, Near Israeli Border

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LATEST: US Airstrike Hits Insurgents in Idlib Province in Northwest Syria

WEDNESDAY FEATURE

Analysis: Has the US Stopped Its Covert Arming of Insurgents? — The PR Behind the Headline

After months of gains in Quneitra Province in southwest Syria, insurgents have announced a new offensive aimed at one of the area’s largest towns.

The opposition said it would on Khan Arnabeh, close to the Golan Heights and the demilitarized zone with Israel.

Khan Arnabeh, northeast of Quneitra city, had a population of 7,375 in 2004 and is the administrative center of an area of 19 towns and villages with almost 43,000 people in the last census.

Since the spring, insurgents have taken most of Quneitra Province and Daraa Province in southern Syria, including significant victories this month. H

The regime remains in control of Quneitra city, but was attacked at the start of the offensive on Tuesday by Free Syrian Army units with mortar shells and heavy machine guns.

Campaign videos from the insurgents, including armored vehicles, posted by the channel of the Horan Brigade:


US Airstrike Hits Insurgents in Idlib Province in Northwest Syria

The US military has again hit Syrian insurgents with an airstrike, bombing the town of Harem in Idlib.

Several insurgent factions are present in Harem. Contrary to an Associated Press report, the town is not “controlled” by the Islamist Jabhat al-Nusra, which been attacked by US bombs and missiles on three other occasions since September 22, although the group’s fighters are among those present.

The Local Coordination Committees confirmed the attack. There was no immediate word on casualties.

The US military has previously said that it is targeting the “Khorasan Group”, which it claims is planning terrorist attacks in America and Europe.

UN Committee Condemns Assad Regime Over “Grave Deterioration of Human Rights”

The UN General Assembly’s committee for human rights passed a resolution on Tuesday condemning “the grave deterioration of the human rights situation” in Syria.

The resolution was adopted by 125 to 13, with 47 abstentions. It condemned the use of chemical weapons and torture in detention centers, and demanded an end to attacks on civilians including barrel-bombing.

Syria’s Ambassador Bashar al-Jaafari Syria’s Ambassador Bashar Jaafari said the resolution was biased and politically-motivated and suggested that the committee investigate Saudi Arabia or Qatar over rights abuses.

“They align themselves against Syria as long as Saudi oil runs through their veins,” he alleged.

Video: Islamic Front Prepares Roads for Winter in Aleppo Province

The Islamic front prepares roads for the coming winter in Aleppo Province, seeking to ensure routes for supplies to civilians and movements of insurgents:

Activists: Regime Bombing Kills 34 and Injures 85 in and near Aleppo

Activists of the Local Coordination Committees report that 20 people were killed and 65 injured on Monday night by two barrel bombs on the Islamic State-controlled town of Al-Bab, northeast of Aleppo.

One bomb struck the entrance to the city and a second hit a restaurant, also causing explosions from fuel sold nearby by vendors, in the city centre.

On Tuesday, barrel bombs on the Qabr al-Inglizi area of Aleppo killed at least 14 people and wounded 20, activists said.

Fuel Crisis as Winter Approaches? A Clue from State Media

A brief article from Syrian State news agency SANA, on a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, gives a clue to regime worries over fuel as winter approaches:

Chairing the session, Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi reviewed the government’s efforts in various fields, asserting that there will be an improvement in the availability of cooking gas and heating fuel very soon.

Facing the loss of most of its oilfields to the Islamic State, and pressure on its major gas field in central Syria, the Government sharply raised the prices of diesel fuel and heating oil by up to 33% last month.

See Syria Daily, Oct 31: Economic Difficulties in Damascus — “Unimaginable Prices for the Winter”

The Cabinet also approved a bill allocating 50% of job vacancies in State establishments to the families of military martyrs, of injured personnel who suffer from full disability, and of “those who are of equivalent status”.

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24 COMMENTS

  1. DARAA: As predicted, regime defections continue

    Paradoxy writes that more regime defectors from Ezra (Izraa), Daraa have been secured by the opposition today. Taking Ezra would cut off dozens of regime units further south.

    ALEPPO

    Islamic Front blows up a building full of Genocide Army troops

    http://youtu.be/zzLv0ex0KCo

    THE REAL REASON FOR PUTIN’S INVASION OF THE UKRAINE

    http://www.interpretermag.com/for-putin-ukraine-is-all-about-maintaining-his-own-power-shevtsova-says/

    ARROGANT OBAMA SLAPS AN ALLIED LEADER

    Nevertheless we are supposed to respect this president or feel sorry for him because he’s screwed up so badly and doubles down on mistakes, especially when it comes to licking Khamenei’s shoes.

    http://online.wsj.com/articles/greg-sheridan-a-mystifying-obama-climate-slap-at-a-u-s-ally-1416269694

  2. Your propaganda has become a laughing stock among the few who actually bother to read the folderol. Der’ah Province is mostly under the control of the Syrian Army. There are no advances for the terrorist rats in Qunaytra. And the Islamic Front does not give a hoot about civilians. You are false journalists. We know who pays you and why you spread lies about our army and people. Long live Dr. Bashar Al-Assad and the great Syrian Army.

    • Yes, Yes. The ever popular Genocide Army (aka the Iranian Proxy Army) has also taken possession of a key crater on the moon. The murderous regime also has full control of Damascus, Darra Province, Quineitra, the desert, etc. It has no manpower problem and is running successful offensives on many fronts, not fighting defensively. Nor does it rely on Hezbollah, Iranian fighters and hired mercenaries paid by Iran to survive. Everyone lies about how things are going these days. Also it never was allied with ISIS nor did Assad ever release hundreds of extreme Islamists from his jails while shooting, arresting, imprisoning and toruring pro-democracy demonstrators at the same time. Everything is progressing glowingly for a regime beloved by 99 percent of all Sunnis.

    • A LOOK AT HOW BAD THE SYRIAN ARMY REALLY IS

      The Syrian army is now a foreign entity fully controlled and armed by Iran and alles as everyone knows today. It has very little support among Syrians by comparison to the rebels. It would be more accurately called the Syrian Proxy Army or the Genocide Army–great against unarmed civilians but lousy against the rebels. It stinks so badly that despite having six allies including ISIS, a monopoly of air power, hundreds of tanks and endless artillery and all the supplies it could ask for from Putin and Assad, it actually lost control of so much of the country to rebels who had none of the above. How good can it be? By contrast the extent of territory and regime equipment captured by the rebels in spite of such handicaps is amazing. Imagine how well they’d have done with such advantages!

      If the Genocide Army (aka the Iran Proxy Army as Sunnis see it) had to fight on its own without all the advantages above, it wouldn’t have lasted three months. Much of its army has defected and more would like too, especially among Sunni conscripts south of Damascus just as I predicted would happen more than a year ago if rebels advanced in that area. Most Syrians (except from favored insiders equivalent to kapos) would overwhelmingly prefer to fight Assad even more than ISIS and you can’t blame them. The latter can wait. They know this regime has as much legitimacy as the second Mussolini government after that dictator was rescued by German commandoes. In some places like Aleppo the so-called Syrian army is half made up of Hezbollah, Iranian and Afghan mercenary forces while the Syrian part that remains consist mainly of militia thugs similar to Milosevic’s White Eagles.

      Armies hated by most of the population and who set out to murder and cleanse the latter cannot be popular. Armies with incredibly low morale compared to the enemy–cannot be good. Increasingly the regime is arresting officers–even engaging in preventive arrests of Sunni officers–and executing men for balking. Rebels don’t do that. Their soldiers aren’t conscripts fighting with guns at their heads. By contrast to the regime, whose own soldiers know how filthy it is, rebels have the best motivation in the world: intense hatred for the regime for its crimes against their families, neighbors, classmates, friends, pets, breadlines. To the Sunni majority (except for a few kapo-like collaborators) the regime looks exactly the way ISIS does to Alawites after Tabqa or the way the SS looked to Jews after 600 concentration camps.

      Speaking of Tabqa, Division 17 etc., how about the way Assad pulled out favored big shots and left the rest to die? What kind of army is that? How about Alawite rage over the crime? How about the arrests and torture of Alawites who complained of it.? Everyone in Loyalist Land knows what the regime did?

      How about 17-year-old platoon leaders getting theselves killed in Aleppo? How about moving to conscript any males between 16 and 42? How about draft dodging so bad the regime has to send out patrols everywhere trying to scrape up balking manpower?

      The site you note is open to all, including pro-regime phonies in disguise and Galloway types that back an Assad, an Iran and a Putin type regardless of crimes and turn the Bad Guys into heros. A similar article on the EU could have been written by Moscow’s FSB. Here’s the header for that: “The EU is advancing its image as a “benevolent neighbour” and “democracy promoter.” Is this a reflection of reality, or good public relations?” Putin would love it as Assad and thugs surely love the site. I’m reminded of how the far left backed Stalinism and made excuses for its crimes or covered them up. Everyone knows–except Obama and his clueless 2nd string advisors– that to beat someone like ISIS you’ve got to eliminate, not feed, the element driving people to join ISIS by its crimes: The Assad Regime.

  3. Tehran Friday Sermon: Threats to Raze Tel Aviv, Haifa, U.S. Bases to the Ground (Video with subtitles)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtjpp2NnlRk&feature=youtu.be&utm_content=bufferba9f4&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

    This is a regime which rightly can’t be trusted with nukes as is apparent in the video. The problem lies with a Khamenei loving president infamous for “giving away the store” (see chemical weapons deal and aftermath. See 5 for 1 Afghan deal. See frequent backstabbing of rebels designed to help Assad, Khamenei and Putin. )

    Hardly anyone in the West trusts the man in charge of negotiations with Iran when it comes to protecting national security. The exception to that consists of diehard partisans who refuse to own up to the reality of Obama’s nature. Placing hands over their eyes, they chant: “I will not see. I refuse to see what is in front of me. It cannot be true, etc.” Iran has behaved as if he were a virtual Iranian mole up to this point. Everyone complains about it.

  4. MORE INTERESTING DEVELOPMENTS IN SUWEIDA PROVINCE TODAY. WATCH THIS TREND!

    Paradoxy reports: “Things escalating in Sweida following clashes between locals & military security. to free detainees, regime cuts of power & fires rockets at town.

    Clashes? You hardly need to be Alexander the Great or Napoleon to predict certain problems or to foresee obvious moves by the rebels in given circumstances. You can never be certain of any predictions but sometimes I’m even surprised to see how well things can work out and the speed at which they do so.

    #1: I’ve predicted trouble for the regime with Druze in Sweida Province for some time as things go sour elsewhere. Discontent seems to be swelling at a head-spinning rate.

    #2: For over a year I’ve argued that any rebel offensive in the south might have a “cutting through butter effect. I wrote that positions there (as in the desert) have to be thinly manned and stuffed with Sunni conscripts the regime can’t trust elsewhere, along with shabbiha minders.

    For the regime, so long as the south remained a “safe” backwater, that would constitute best use of such regime haters, freeing up serious regime enthusiasts to fight (and get knocked off) on other fronts. I argued that any serious rebel offensive that If rebels made gains in the south was likely to produce serious defections and surrenders.

    #3: As that happened, the regime would react in its standard way (as much brutality as it takes to stifle a problem) but as in its genocidal nationwide campaign against Sunnis–the consequences would be opposite to what it hoped for. When intimidation fails, the backfire consequences tend to be severe and irreversible.

    4. The rebels are no dummies. A few days ago after I suggested we might see a new coastal offensive near Latakia (and possibly elsewhere) simply because it is the logical move. You cannot top it as a way to add to pressure on an overstretched regime. Assad can’t allow such an offensive to succeed and the only way to prevent that is by shifting substantial forces from elsewhere at a time when the regime is staggering on too many fronts. If Assad keeps lot of forces in Latakia you hit elsewhere. If not, you hit the coast. As in his Desert vs south of Damascus plight, Latakia poses another Yo-Yo situation. Any move Assad makes he loses as rebels make the logical countermove.

    TWO UNCERTAINTIES TO KEEP AN EYE ON

    1. The huge JAN convoy we saw in a video almost a week ago headed southward toward Khan Shughour.

    We may yet see a major attack on already battered and cut off bases there or the convoy itself may have been a diversion which would force the regime to siphon off forces from Latakia. The bases at KS appear doomed anyway so my strategic choice would be Latakia, depending on what the regime does. Flexibility is always important. Ditto when it comes to how far to pursue any such offensive.

    2. Will We See a New Obama or the Same Old One?

    Obama has always favored appeasing Iran and promoting a radicalizing stalemate as “the best way” to bring both sides to a table that he would control. That “strategy” is the prime source of every blown opportunity to date. Will Obama remain a slow learner who constantly doubles down or will he convert to realism and drop illusions as JFK did after the Bay of Pigs?

    One bad sign is his bombing of JAN just as it appears ready to undertake a coastal offensive. It creates the suspicion that our president is determined to bail the Genocide Regime out of hot water once again. Unless I see evidence to the contrary I wouldn’t put it past Obama to shut off the supply of weapons as he has always done when rebels show signs of being “too successful, blowing another great opportunity. I thought the relative unity, moderation and professional we are seeing in the south is exactly what the military says we need in the opposition.

  5. ASSAD’S CHEMICAL WEAPONS MAY HAVE BEEN MOVED TO IRAQ IF NEW REPORT IS TRUE

    Iraqi official claims Maliki and Assad agreed to move chem weapons to Iraq for storage, away from the eyes of international inspectors.

    TAJIK ANALYSIST SAYS PUTIN MAY HAVE FOOLISHLY CEDED CENTRAL ASIA TO CHINA SO HE COULD CONFRONT THE WEST.

    If so, Putin is doomed to be a loser in both directions. He’ll be a three time loser if China gets Siberia down the road as well. In that case the West must allow it to happen and Russia deserves it. Apparently Russians, nationalistic and otherwise, are well aware of the danger but Putin just ignores it.

    Here’s a sampler from the article:

    EXCERPT: Articles predicting in apocalyptic terms that Vladimir Putin’s deals with China will lead to Russia’s loss of Siberia and the Far East are now a regular feature on the Russian blogosphere. But more seriously and in any case more immediately, a Tajik analyst says, Moscow has already ceded its dominance in Central Asia to Beijing.

    EXCERPT: According to Mullodzhanov, China sees the current conflict between Russia and the West over Ukraine as an opportunity to expand its activities in Central Asia still further, and now as in the past, Russia is unwittingly helping it to do so precisely because Moscow remains so focused on the West and the US rather than on anyone else.

    (in other words Putin is getting badly outfoxed and the bill will come due down the road. In terms of strategic foresighted or a talent for making enemies and creating pariah status with all related consequences, Putin is much like Khamenei, Al-Maliki, Narallah, Assad and Obama the Great.)

    http://www.interpretermag.com/moscow-has-effectively-ceded-central-asia-to-china-tajik-analyst-says/

    • As I’ve pointed out before, the declared chemical weapons surrendered by the Syrian regime didn’t include any Sarin. If you accept that the Syrian government was behind the Ghouta Sarin attacks then the logical inference is they probably still retain their Sarin stockpiles.

  6. FIREWORKS COMING IN CONGRESS WEDNESDAY AT TONY BLINKEN HEARING

    Frustrated Democats and Republicans are expected to attack Obama’s clueless Syria policy at a hearing for the culpable Tony Blinken, a big-time Iran/Assad supporter.

    http://news.yahoo.com/frustrated-senators-have-questions-about-obama-s-islamic-state-strategy–on-wednesday–they-may-get-answers-150631229.html

    FAMILIES IN SHOCK AS ISIS LEADS THEIR KIDS INTO “BARBARIC MADNESS”

    http://news.yahoo.com/families-shock-islamic-state-lures-sons-barbaric-madness-160337748.html

  7. Military factions of the north unite under the name of The Free Syrian Army is One

    49 mins ago in News Leave a comment

    Military factions of the north announced uniting their forces under the name of The Free Syrian Army is One, and the formation of a Military Council and a Shura Council that are made up of all of the uniting factions. The factions said that their door is open to all of those who wish to join this new formation. The uniting factions are: Suqour al-Ghab Group; Squad 15; Al-Izzah Group; The 5th Legion; Khat al-Nar Brigade; Al-Ansar Brigade; Al-Haq Front; Squad 13; Abo al-Alamein Brigades; Hazm Movement; Al-Ghir al-Mayameen Brigade; Regiment 11.

  8. I’m hearing rumblings that ISIS have retaken the Shaer Gas Fields in Homs. At the very least ISIS is threatening the area again. I’m losing count of all the active major offensives against the regime.

    1. Latakia
    2. Safira (southern Aleppo)- Restarted very recently
    3. Quneitra – Populated area NE of border crossing
    4. Sheikh Maskin
    6. Shaer Gas Fields (ISIS offensive)

    The opening of so many offensives tells me a few things.

    1. The rebels are probably still getting weapons contrary to the reports the US wasn’t arming the rebels anymore. I don’t think the rebels could execute so many offensives with just captured weapons.

    2. The strategy continues with going after softer targets and not hitting the regime head-on where they are strong. In my opinion the best approach. If they were in a stronger position they would most likely go after Morek or go directly for Izraa or further north in Sanamein. However, the offensive against Quneitra area means that the rebels want to continue to pick softer targets and continually degrade the Syrian military. Boring as it may be but the rebels need to continue this approach for more time than they initially projected.

    3. ISIS have turned their attention away somewhat from Kobane and Northern Aleppo. The primary ISIS fronts are now against the regime. To me this is a desired effect of the coalition airstrikes. The regime are presented as softer targets as they are not protected against coalition airstrikes. I’m sure to get some disagreement on this one but if the trend continues it would be hard to deny.

    4. Idlib is a mess. Idlib is a rebel stronghold and it’s very disappointing that the rebels can’t seize the current surplus of offensives to get one going in Idlib. The timing could not be better right now with the regime on the defensive in so many areas. Putting pressure on Latakia is nice but the real prize are the remaining regime held areas in Idlib. The rebels should have enough troops and weapons to start an offensive in both provinces.

    • The Shaer gasfield is still solidly in the hand of the Syrian Army. ISIS attempt to retake well 107 ended in a defeat as well, even if the second in command of the desert falcon died.

      If this Homs front is the where the main ISIS strikeforce is focused now, they are in deep trouble, because their offensive was stopped and reversed in less than one week by the Tiger forces and the NDF. They are on the backfoot in Iraq too, are losing in Kobane and have been stalled north of Aleppo since Kobane began.

      But I think that their main forces are still focused on Kobane. If they are on Homs front, then they have been heaviy overestimated.

      Also, there are no “major offensive” in Lattakia or Safira and the ISIS offensive in Hom has been checked and reversed.

    • I didn’t add the Deir Adas rebel offensive as that one appears to have died down. Why the hell are the Idlib rebels not doing anything? Would now not be a good time to do that?

      • @Genome45 – ISIS appear to be beginning to pull back from Kobane. I’m not sure how you could say that ISIS are overestimated in the Homs desert. Just a few weeks ago they took all major gas and oil facilities in the area and took areas around Tiyas. Sure they were pushed back but that tells me the regime underestimated ISIS in the area since they couldn’t defend their positions. The more the fighting continues in the Homs desert the better for the moderate rebels elsewhere. You can’t argue that there is heavy fighting happening in Homs desert now.

        • ISIS is doing everything in its power to lure western forces into the theatre of war. They believe with religious fervor that western powers will end in the same way that the soviets did in afghanistan, the final nail in their coffin.

  9. An enthusiastic article on the rebellion progress in the south. I didn’t realize the importance of Dili north of Sheikh Maskin until reading this article. The only downer I would add is that the success in the south is somewhat tied to the North. As rebels approach Southern Damascus, the regime are sure to fortify their bases around Western Ghouta and south of Damascus with troops and supplies from the north. The northern rebels need to put more pressure on the regime troops there to help out the rebels in the south.

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/11/17/247143_moderate-syrian-rebels-say-theyre.html?rh=1

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