Syria Daily, March 25: Rebels Begin Battle for Idlib City in Northwest

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UPDATE 2000 GMT: A demonstration in Homs celebrates news of the rebel advances in Idlib and in Busra al-Sham in Daraa Province in southern Syria:


UPDATE 1330 GMT: Information from inside Syria indicates that Syrian forces in Idlib have lost their major line of defense around the city, the perimeter of the ring highway.

The inner ring defense has been overrun at a few points, with rebels now moving against barriers inside the city. To the south, Syrian troops are fighting at the last highway checkpoint.

Crucially, the road from Ariha to the south has been cut, hindering regime attempts at reinforcements from Latakia Province via Jisr al-Shoghour. The Syrian military is likely to put a priority on reopening the route to tip the balance in Idlib back in its favor.


Rebels launched an offensive on Tuesday to capture Idlib in northwest Syria, attacking the city from the north, east, and west.

The attack started with three vehicle-borne suicide bombings, two by members of the Jund al-Aqsa faction and one by a fighter from Jabhat al-Nusra, on regime checkpoints.

See also Syria Daily, March 24: Rebels Launch Attack on Idlib

Rebels claimed by Tuesday afternoon that they had overrun five checkpoints, seizing territory to the east of the city. Later reports said some fighters were inside Idlib.

Sources also indicate that the regime-held village of al-Fuah, to the north of Idlib, is cut off and the important road link to Ariha is almost unuseable.

Seven factions are involved in the offensive, including Jabhat al-Nusra, Jund al-Aqsa, Jaish al-Sunna, Liwa al-Haq, Ajnad al-Sham, and Faynad al-Sham.

Fighters from Ahrar al-Sham challenging regime forces:

Ahrar al-Sham forces advance on checkpoint between al-Fu’ah and Idlib:

The Syrian military insisted on State that regime forces were repelling “attempts by terrorists groups to infiltrate the outskirts” of Idlib.

Claims circulated on Tuesday that Syrian warplanes tried to counter the offensive with more chlorine attacks on opposition-held areas near Idlib. Syrian civil defense said the targets were Binnish (see photos) and Salh al-Rouj, while footage of victims was posted from Qmenas, east of Idlib:

“The casualties are unfortunately mostly women and children. Luckily, there have been no deaths so far,” said Rami Abu Zubeyda, a doctor at a field hospital in Binnish. The Syrian Revolution General Commission said 20 people, mostly children, were hospitalized in the town.

Video from Binnish:

Regime helicopters used chlorine gas last week on Sarmin, killing six members of a family and wounding more than 100 others.

The regime has held Idlib city, the provincial capital, throughout the four-year conflict, but rebels have controlled most of the province since 2012.

Idlib had a pre-war population of about 165,000. It would be the largest city to fall to the opposition since Raqqa — now controlled by the Islamic State — in autumn 2013.


European Diplomat: US Negotiating with Assad Regime Over Imprisoned Journalist Austin Tice

According to an unnamed European diplomats, US officials are negotiating with the Assad regime for the release of journalist Austin Tice, who went missing in August 2012.

The diplomat told the French newspaper Le Figaro that the talks started weeks ago, with “an emissary representing the US government” visiting the imprisoned journalist.

Tice disappeared while reporting for McClatchy, the Washington Post, and other news organizations. The Assad government has never admitted publicly to holding the reporter.

Le Figaro said the negotiations involve a “high-ranking American diplomat”, a Czech diplomat in Damascus, and Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mikdad.

The Czech Embassy has overseen US interests in Syria since the American Embassy closed in 2012.

Assad Hosts Iraqi Foreign Minister

President Assad hosted Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari on Tuesday, putting out a statement on “the successes made by the people and armed forces of Iraq and Syria against terrorist organizations”.

No details of the conversation were offered by State media. Instead, outlets highlighted Assad’s declaration of the “great importance to have a real international will to grapple with terrorism and face up to the countries backing it”.

AL-JAAFARI ASSAD

Sources: Rebels Claim Victory in Busra al-Sham in South

Rebels have taken the historic town of Busra al-Sham in Daraa Province in the south, completing the offensive that began over the weekend.

The sources claim the last regime troops in Busra are holed up in the Roman ruins, with the Syrian airforce trying to save the situation with barrel-bombing.

The opposition’s advance in Busra, with a pre-war population of about 15,000, opens up the route to Sweida Province and to another crossing point on the Jordanian border.

The Southern Front rebel bloc announces the liberation of the town:

Rebels at the Roman theater:

REBELS BUSRA

And in the National Hospital:

Busra had a pre-war population of about 15,000. A significant town in Roman times, it retains architecture from the period.

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48 COMMENTS

  1. Big progress in the battle for Idlib by the rebels in the last hours. No doubt since the rebel forces engaged are nusra and hard line islamists, hence the best of the best of the rebels as fighting force. Will be a hard fight to get to the centre, i dont belive Assad will leave it like that on a silver plate.

    • Actually, the center of Idlib will be the easy part. It’s densely packed old houses with narrow streets, where machine guns are ineffective, tanks can’t even enter and the close quarter fighting makes bombing a double-edged sword. In that kind of environment infantry is of paramount importance.

      The really hard part will be the southern districts.

      • The question I have are what checkpoints do the regime still hold around Idlib. I don’t think they control any checkpoints in the north effectively cutting of Al Fuah. The rebels were already close in the west and have taken those checkpoints. The industrial area in the east is confirmed as rebel controlled. The regime still control the two checkpoints directly south of Idlib city. However those checkpoints are already heavy attack.

        I’ve seen that the regime are sending reinforcements to Idlib. The question is are those reinforcements coming there to try to take back Idlib or to secure a route for the regime to evacuate. My guess is that the regime are working a plan to evacuate and get their troops out of there. I’ve said for a while I don’t see how the regime can hold Idlib in the long run.

        • The south is definitely the hardest part to crack. Last offensive failed miserably and if i remeber well main attack was through the south axis. Today’s battle for Idlib although comes as a much more organized and well prepared battle plan with thousands of rebels taking part. All major islamist groups are fighting as one under Nusra. I am curious to see who else is in this battle from rebel side, i have seen videos with IF logo on coming from idilb so i guess their in too.

          • The failure of the first offensive was brought about because the SRF attacked JAN and the latter called off the attack on Idlib to deal with them. From what I can tell, the battle plans for the two offensives appear almost identical.

            • Yes thats the main cause of the sloopy outcome of the first offensive, offensive which suffered anyways its biggest casualities on the south side. I was just remarking your fact that the southern axis will be the hardest to crack.

              • The first offensive did not attack the city from the south at all, the fighting was in Mastumeh (south of the city) with mixed results and in the east where the defenses were completely neutralized.

              • Ivan obviously made a mistake and know better. I do that all the time. As a speed reader, I tend to think ahead. I’m the world’s lousiest proofreader as well, as you may have noticed. I confess.

      • re: “The really hard part will be the southern districts.”

        That’s what most twitters I saw yesterday seemed to suggest. But it is going to be tough for regime defenders as other parts of the city fall and rebels are able to concentrate on what remains. Reports of rebels closing the main road south of Aleppo tend to suggest the regime will be hard put to rescue any of the forces presently in Idlib.

        • I made no mistake. What I said was that Idlib city was not attacked from the south, what was attacked was the town of Mastumah, which is south of Idlib.

  2. BATTLEFIELD SITUATION AS DAWN ARRIVED IN SYRIA

    Part I: IDLIB ONLY

    I completed this two parts around 10 pm last night, Pacific Time which should be dawn in Syria. Given how rapidly things are happening, some—but not all—will be outdated by morning. Sure enough, the word “begins” in today’s Syria Daily headline may already no longer fit the situation.

    1. Abdel Rahman wrote that rebels seemed to control most of Idlib with remaining regime sources besieged in the citadel. At least one report from a pro-rebel source claimed they had already raised the rebel flag over the Citadel.

    2, On the less optimistic side (but only slightly): a JAN fighter posted this at 8:45 pm Pacific time (dawn in Syria?): “At the moment the mujahideen are not gaining ground any more in Idlib city. InchaAllah more good news to come!”

    Many people doubted rebels would take Idlib, let alone in less that a week. Amazingly, the ground offense almost pulled it off in under a day which is virtually impossible. This was well organized. The regime could only wish for such triumphs, especially quickies. Few people imagined they’d take it in under a week.

    With daylight, knowing the MIGS are coming, things will slow down a bit as the above twitter indicates. A widespread saying goes, “rebels own the night, regime owns the day” but it didn’t apply Tuesday. The best the regime managed was a mild pushback in one or two areas. That won’t suffice.

    As I went to bed, regime supporters were claiming “massive reinforcements had arrived” but I can’t see how given rebel control of the roads, Chances of a successful regime ground counterattack look poor and any failure will drain defensive forces in nearby towns. Aside from losing a provincial capital the regime can expect unusually high losses in men and equipment since most exit route are closed and those that remain lead to no place where survival is likely. Woe is Assad today.

    Such collapses are typical of the 1945 phrase of a fight. I’ve written many times that unglitzy strategic success often draw little attention at the time but rot away the house producing rapid collapse later. This would be a good time for Alawites to consider abandoning Assad and war criminals and making a deal with rebels against ISIS because these two big victories will soon enable others. Rebels should follow up as soon as possible giving the regime more body blows before it can adjust.

    3. Does Aleppo have a big prison that might have been taken? I ask because of this tweet from Ali Umar: “a friend just told me that 700 people were released in idlib.”

    TWEETS OF SPECIAL INTEREST (The first one I translated from the French)

    –“Seven cars rigged with explosives targeted regime positions yesterday Rebels are preparing 30 more. More than 150 regime troops have been killed near the town center and more than 13 checkpoints captured.” Source : Abou Musa.

    –“Rebels must have been cooperating with regime moles/defectors to be in Idlib. That’s the only way to explain how their gains are so rapid.”—Source: Karim. (The regime has a similar problem in northern Dawa recently).

    –“It seems Idlib will be free tonight after rapid collapse of Assad army.”—Source: Omar Shakir.

    –“A ground-to-ground regime long-range missile reported missed its target and struck the Turkish city of Rayhania. Source: “Omar.” That seems pretty far off course to me.

    –“City is seperated (sic) in three defensive lines. The first line are the checkpoints which the mujahideen have taken now.”—Source: Indo Mie. (If rebels still do control three sides, that means regime forces are being condensed into a smaller area and have little room to back up).

    • Honestly to say Idlib will fall in the next 24hrs is a bit hyper optimistic at the least…..From the videos posted on twitter, as of today, i dont think rebels are inside Idlib city center from neither axis. They are for sure progressing, but i expect a fight from the NDF or whichever other alien entity fighting there for the regime. Far to early to predict the outcome of this, i think it will fall but for sure not in 24hrs.

      • Dude, get your cities straight! There is no citadel in Idlib. And yes, there are actually two prisons in IDLIB. One west of the city, taken by the rebels last year, and one inside the city, between Qussor and city center.

        • @RT, @Ivan – I think you are talking about the Roman Theatre in Bosra city being surrounded. Bosra city is probably completely rebel controlled by now.

        • Ivan re: “citadel You’ll have to take your complaint up with the original twitter source. Not having been in Syria, I leave it up to readers like yourself to pick out such things. Words can have more than one meaning. Could Abdul have been referring to regime troops withdrawing to a heavily fortified location of some sort–a “citadel” though not in the traditional medieval sense? See James’ post below on Abdul’s possible intent. The surrounding part fits as well.

          • And after that you asked if ALEPPO has a prison, which you should know by now it does and where it is, so it’s still quite clear you got your cities mixed up.

            • Idlib may fall – or we may end up with a prolonged stalemate as we’ve seen repeatedly elsewhere in Syria (e.g. Jobar, Daraa City, Aleppo).

            • How would I know by now? I would assume it would have a prison. Unlike you, I’m not directly familiar with these locations. When I began here, I didn’t know where Deir Ezzor or Latakia is located, let alone streets or buildings. Now I can draw a reasonable map of Syrian major cities in my head, unlike 99% of Americans, Europeans, Chinese, etc. Once a little background is acquired and you have any sense of strategy, it easy to see why certain locations are imported. How many people can have visited everyone? Are they all to be disqualified from analysis? A background in history, economics and military history goes a long way.

              This is the second time today and in your previous hissy fit you didn’t look closely at the post. I harsh (deservedly) criticism of His Incompetentcy, Mr. Dithers, in the Oval Office does offend his fans but my criticism is never based on how he looks or how he wears his clothes or what he likes to eat. I can be quite biting in Obama’s case. It’s based on his outrageous policies and his NIxonian-style behavior. I see a vindictive. lying, buck passing character who enables genocide, radicalization and sectarian war and acts like an Iranian mole and seems determined to sell out our national security and that of our allies deserves a ton of satire. Having noticed that, how can I be critical enough? Obama is already responsible for tens of thousands of deaths that wouldn’t have occurred in the Middle East or in the Ukraine if he has shown an ounce of backbone. He has enabled ISIS and Al Queda as much as Assad, Putin and Khamenei who could never have committed their crimes without his negligent behavior, No apologies for that. In fact it would be wrong of me not to be outraged, knowing what he is done, seeing his incapacity for change and knowing what he proposes to promote and keep intact. You should be indignant too.

  3. Part II: SYRIAN BATTLEFIELDS OTHER THAN IDLIB AS DAWN ARRIVES

    Aleppo Province

    1. The Nusra Front several regime infiltrators posing as rebel fighters. They are charged with “dealing with the regime forces and communicating with them in order to facilitate their infiltration to the front.” Those arrested were handed over to the courthouse for trial.—SOAR

    2. FSA killed 10 Regime fighters at Burjyiat Arrous—Ikhwan Syria English.

    Raqaa Province

    The Kurdish YPG knocked of 28 ISIS fighters in the village of al- Jalabiyya–SOAR

    Daraa Province

    1. Many sources, official and otherwise, report rebels have completely taken Busra Al Sham and the regime was attempting to counterattack yesterday. Pro-regime Leith Feidel (sub-par reliability), disagrees and offers this assessment:

    http://www.almasdarnews.com/article/the-syrian-arab-army-regains-full-control-over-the-busra-al-sham-castle-fierce-clashes-ongoing/

    2, Charles Lister notes a rebel claim of killing nearly 30 Shabiha and capturing 11 including an Iranian. I’ve seen other reports of shabbiha fleeing which would have complicated things for defenders. Shabbiha are great at at killing and terrorizing unarmed civilians (their main function under the regime) but can’t go tow-to-tow with rebels.

    Hama Province

    Pro-regime Hassan Riddhah reports that regime defenders in the Ismaili capital of Salimeyeh include SAA, NDF Tiger_Forces. Apparently these guys are at risk from ISIS on the eastern side and rebels to the west. They have a number of concerns whicht the regime must address: opening supply lines to Aleppo, breaking any siege of Tadmur Airport and avoiding being cut off themselves.

    Everywhere in Syria

    A good question is “What effect news of this double whammy will have on the loyalist support base and on morale of troops in Aleppo, Salimeyeh, Deir Ezzor, southern Daraa Province and remaining regime positions near Idlib?

    Rebels need to finish off most remaining positions in the Idlib area while defenders are reeling in shock, dispatch some forces to Latakia and Aleppo to preclude any hope of good news to the regime from those locations.

    The bulk of troops need to head for Hama Province, complete the cutoff of regime forces in the desert area to the east and break open supply lines to rebels between Homs and Hama. Large numbers of regime forces could be trapped in Salimiyeh and Aleppo. Of course, the regime could attempt to withdraw from one or both, but that would be tantamount to admitting this war is lost. Those forces need to consider a deal with the rebels–made without approval from Damascus.

    CONCLUSION: If today wasn’t the regime’s Stalingrad, it comes awfully close.

    Syria’s rebels need to make as much progress as possible before Obama can make a giveaway deal on nukes and sanctions and before Iranian forces can finish up in Tikrit.

    Common “wisdom” (bullshit actually) promoted by the White House, Tehran and some analysts is that “Iran CAN and will do whatever it takes to prevent any rebel victory in Syria whatever it takes.” That premise governs White House policy.

    I don’t dispute Iran will try but I question whether it CAN pull it off without Obama’s help. Iran’s economic and military capacity under present circumstances. Rebels need to bear in mind Obama determination to save Iran and Hezbollah in Syria by changing circumstances in Iran’s favor. The best way to thwart the White House/mullacracy goal is via a fait accompli. Meanwhile let’s hope that France sticks to her guns and ISIS bogs Iran down in Iraq.

  4. MORE THOUGHTS ON IDLIB:

    To take Idlib in 24 hours would have required a miracle. Given that their ground assault only started yesterday, its fair to say rebels came amazingly close. By comparison the victory in Busrah, once a full scale assault was launched took a bit longer but was still impressive considering the forces the regime employed there.

    I’d like to skip over the strategic value of these victories in their respective areas to consider other benefits, starting with the psychological and morale impact on both sides. Even before Tuesday defections and surrenders on the regime side had been climbing. That trend should continue along with growing discontent and even panic among civilian loyalists. The possibility that Alawites will dump Assad and top war criminals before it is too late also jumps. Meanwhile the spin machines will have a big job in disguising these defeats.

    By contrast, rebel morale and confidence is surely headed upward. Can anyone doubt now where momentum lies? Will we still hear talk of stalemate–“dynamic” or otherwise?

    OTHER BENEFITS

    1. Iran’s quest for regional dominance, supported whether intentionally or not by White House policy–has suffered a nice setback.

    2. Watch Hezbollah get ground down as it attempts to compensate for the regime’s manpower losses by throwing more cannon fodder into Syria.

    3. Watch Putin, Khamenei and Assad push for a political settlement which would allow them to extract some benefits from their crimes while still possible. Watch Obama help them by threatening rebels If they fail to go along. Rebels must hold off until Alawites dump the war criminals on their own and create a non-tainted leadership with whom negotiation would be no problem. Russia and Iran must then be excluded from negotiations.

    Analysts say that when Jimmy Carter almost blew the Camp David accords by insisting, as appalled Israelis and Palestinians shuddered, that the latter wait for Russia to have a role. Fortunately they didn’t wait. Obama sometimes appears to have no history background and to operate entirely on theories.

    By insisting Putin and Iran, as guilty as Assad himself in genocide, should have any say at all in Syria after what they’ve done, Obama is stepping into the pile of crap Carter just managed to avoid. Fortunately, having contributed little to the rebel victory, he himself isn’t entitled to a say. Like Putin and Khamenei, he is totally distrusted by Syrians. Hillary or Petreus they might listen to but would Obama send them or allow them freedom of maneuver if he did so?

    • Hay at least Jimmy Carter chucked Anistasio Somoza jr under a bus when it was clear he was going down and after his goons killed US citizens in Nicaragua.
      Obama is so counterproductive that if there was a pro-democracy revolution in North Korea he’d send in Seal Team Six to rescue the dear leader and let the Chinese masscure the reblious North Koreans and call it progress.
      Which now that i think of it is ironic because seal team six are the only reason he was relected, if Osama binbag-Laden was still alive Obama’s political career wouldn’t be. Can Jimmy sever his 2nd term now, at least he couldn’t stoge it any more than Barrack can. But then agien Prince Geroge right now has better understanding of foregin policy as dose not think the politics of Nevil Chamberlan is indcation of a political strategy guide.

      • @NFL
        Longer post please.I only come here to see if you broke your previous spelling mistake record.18 in 1 post is your record so far.Keep up the good work.Anyone who has a name said in any way like a 1 direction pop star is a legend.

        • My dear Magpie if want to know why I have so many spelling mistakes it’s because when I use the comments section on a uni computer it has no spell check, though dose at home. Also I have mild dyslexia and because I am so smart I don’t want come off as arrogant so I leave intentional spelling mistakes so fools who are jealous of me and my greatness can feel good about themselves by pointing out my mistakes. To let them feel better about themselves and not so unworthy to inhale the same argon atoms I do.
          Also there good spelling idiots out there but so many funny idiots so I fought I’d focus on the latter. That I say things like binbag-Laden and slang words like stoge. Also aren’t you the guy who never use a capital letter for his name? You know basic age 6 grammar. Pot and the kettle? Also what post did I break my record?

  5. NUSRA FRONT QUIETLY RISES IN SYRIA AS ISLAMIC STATE IS TARGETED

    http://news.yahoo.com/nusra-front-quietly-rises-syria-islamic-state-targeted-060121604.html

    Rebels, even moderate ones, need JAN as an ally if they wish to survive because, unlike their enemies, they’ve gotten little outside help. The least help went to those who bet on Obama; The moderates. So what are they supposed to do?

    Regime types will be unable to unspin the big rebel victories yesterday, so I’d expect them to concentrate on “the alliance between the ‘moderate’ rebels and Al Queda (JAN)” and how “we need Assad because he fights terror” (which he acutally fomented.

    So let me rebut the first point one more time, with its implications those who ally with JAN share its ideology. Rebels do so because they’ve been left with no choice and need JAN to win (and JAN needs them). The situation is akin to the US-Britain-USSR alliance against a greater threat to all three at the time. An alliance of necessity (convenience). It didn’t mean American and Britain had adopted or endorsed communism nor did it mean Stalin had become a lover of democracy. Same applies here.

    OBAMA SNUBS NATO CHIEF AT MOMENT OF CRISIS

    Both democrats and republicans have noted a Nixon-type vindictiveness on Obama’s part in which payback moves are often carried out by subordinates to maintain deniability.

    Among those who got the treatment previously are Israel’s Netanyahu, right wing tea party types (via the IRS), Hillary and Petreus (via Valerie), Syria’s rebel moderates and now the supreme NATO commander.
    Though he is in Washington for three days and Obama has an open schedule, he has been denied access. So cheap. So petty.

    The implied message in these little snits is always the same, “Never take a public position that contradicts my own.” At least Nixon was competent in foreign affairs and–unlike Obama–capable of adaptation. The movie character Obama seems to resemble most closely in his vindictive tendencies is Eddie Albert, playing the warden in the original and best version of “The Longest Yard.

    Sometimes Obama lets his mask slip and we see the real Obama causing public shock. Recall the Obama of the first presidential debate in 2012. Were you also among the surprised? If the US had as few checks and balances as Russia, Turkey or Iraq, Obama would have shut down the press by now and arranged a lifetime term.

    “http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-03-24/obama-snubs-nato-chief-as-crisis-rages

    • You know at this piont, how can anyone really be surpriesd at this piont. Obama’s nitwitery have sunk my respect for him so much not even submarines could find the wreckage of the last positive thought i had about they guy.

  6. SWEIDA PROVINCE

    1. Reports that the Druze Tribes in Sweida are alrendu negotiating with FSA a Ceasefire/Truce/Autonomy for the day after…(Busrah’s fall?) . Source: Tazi Morocco.”’

    2, Iran reportedly forming Syrian Druze militia

    The rebel Southern Front insisted that it did not seek to take its fight to the Suweida governorate

    https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/NewsReports/565033-iran-reportedly-forming-syrian-druze-militia

    HOMS/HAMA

    Isis launches assault on pro-Assad forces in western Syria

    Just what the regime needs right now. Opportunistic ISIS excels at jumping on a man when he is down. Lots of good stuff in this one. Here’s the part I especially like:

    Isis is likely to score victories in the eastern Homs countryside, which is not so well defended…“The regime is very weak and does not have the forces that it had in the past, so any alliance that attacks or launches a battle will advance,” a Homs-based opposition activist told the Guardian

    (On the other hand): “The regime is very weak and does not have the forces that it had in the past, so any alliance that attacks or launches a battle will advance,” a Homs-based opposition activist told the Guardian

    RT: ISIS should have attacked here long ago instead of wasting time on Kobane. It may have left things until too late, given the rebel gains in Idlib. Rebels may not want to move too quickly here. Let the Bad guys pound one another for nine rounds, then step in.

    Astute Guardian observation: The regime always tries to play on the sectarian chord in such circumstances, and it may allow [Isis] to advance in order for many Ismailis to be killed before returning and playing its favourite game as a defender of minorities,” an opposition activist based in eastern Hama’s countryside said. “Time is blood.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/25/isis-launches-assault-on-pro-assad-forces-in-western-syria?CMP=share_btn_tw

    • RE: The Regime’s Strategy of Allowing Ismaelis to be Slaughtered Then Pretending to Come as Rescuers

      It’s likely on the regime’s part but may not convince Ismaelis so easily for or work as as the regime hopes.

      First, reports like the one in the Guardian and its repetition as in this case should alert Ismaelis to that danger. They’d be best off evacuating women and children now and seeking rebel help down the road..

      Secondly, If the regime is the only party currently in position to rescue the Ismalis and holds back like Stalin’s army to allow Hitler to crush the Polish Underground, won’t Ismaelis notice this ” “Assad or you die” trick? Arrival won’t bring gratitude.

      Finally, by the time regime forces do move in, it’s likely large rebel forces from Idlib could move in on their supply/reinforcement lines, putting those troops at risk from ISIS. Then what? How do they get out of that box?

  7. US FOREIGN POLICY TIDBITS

    1. US foreign policy is Ben Rhodes’ greatest experimental novel–Michael Weiss

    2. Exclusive: The U.S. is ready to back Iran with airstrikes against ISIS.

    http://thebea.st/1IvdFnN

    3. Iran might attack American troops in Iraq, U.S. officials fear

    http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/could-iran-attack-us-troops-in-iraq-116365.html

    4. “It speaks volumes that a WH furious w the PM of Israel feels no apparent anger toward Iranian leaders who facilitate slaughter in Syria.”–Michael B. Kelly.

    5, Frederic C. Hof at Atlantic Council: Iran’s Free Pass in the Region

    there is considerable doubt among America’s friends in the region—Israelis and Arabs alike—that the Obama administration fully appreciates and consciously opposes Iran’s regional machinations. Barely a day goes by without evidence of some sort seeming to support that conclusion.–Hof

    From RT: A standout characteristic of Obama’s presidency has been to be “threat unaware” or to underestimate same. Recall the Lakers JV team (ISIS) who Obama allowed to become powerful enough to rampage through the region. He now proposes to do the same for Iran.

    http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/menasource/iran-s-free-pass-in-the-region#.VRLOtf26G4w.twitter

      • JV team stands for junior varsity. Its a reference to college and high school sports. there is usually a varsity and a junior varsity team. Obama called isis a jv team meaning they re amateurish not that scary or exceptional. I’m not sure if The varsity junior varsity is only an american thing.

        • Used attributively in the UK to describe a sports team representing a university or college, or a match involving such a team.
          Used attributively in the U.S. and Canada to describe a sports team made up of older high school or college students (generally the 3rd and 4th years of a 4-year program), as contrasted with the junior varsity team made up of 1st- and 2nd-year students.
          Source: Wikidictionary

    • Hey Scott and EA posters I’m wondering I am the only one who suppects that the Regime and Daesh have political commissars in their armies? The Red Army and Whermarcht had poltical commissars to ensure that officers and troops remained politically loyal to thekir govermnets. Adolf even issued the commissar order for all caputed red commissars to be shot on sight.

      Is there any evidence that either
      Deash or the Baath Party have something simmler. Espically the later with all the defections, they need someone to keep them loyal Baathists right?
      If any one has any proof of this tell me i (Niall Fraser) Love to know if my hunches are correct.

        • Members of Parliament don’t fight on the ground like the Commissars did. Unless by MPs you mean military police, who have nothing to do with ideology of the troops, they enforce the laws of the army and function the way city police do but in the barracks. They do not arrest soldiers who complain about the government like the Russian and German ones did. If you really think following the laws of the army enforced by the military police is a form of political indoctrination, then I guess so is obeying a policeman when he tells you not to park on a double yellow line. But I assume your answer is a joke, and if so its a pretty lame one unlike mine. Now can anyone tell me if Daesh and the regime have Soviet style Commissars or a similar thing in there armies?

          • “Members of Parliament don’t fight on the ground like the Commissars did. Unless by MPs you mean military police, who have nothing to do with ideology of the troops, they enforce the laws of the army and function the way city police do but in the barracks. They do not arrest soldiers who complain about the government like the Russian and German ones did.”

            In the Islamic State the police serve both functions.

  8. seems that zawahiri is in Idlib, cheering and leading the same guys as you.

    you know ayman, the succesor of “freedom fighter” osama bin laden

    yap we have come full circle

    • also pictures of the rebel that introducted the syrian rebellion and its sickness to the world stage.

      the organ eating Abu Sakkar, this time he is posing with two chopped head, guess its an after lunch picture

      • You know the man he chopped up was paedophile who had videos of him on his phone of him rapping two little girls and there mother before killing them right? So tell again who is in the right the child killer or the one killed the kid killer?

          • The U.S Nobel price is supporting Iranian and Iraqui shia fundamentalist militias in Tikrit, on what moral base can anyone now condemn this alliance with J.N?.

            I´m looking foward to the next desperate iranian propaganda wave designed to exorcise this paradoxical situation. I´m curious to know how will they spin the facts to fit their ongoing anti-U.S dialetic.

        • yes no doubt, no doubt.

          no it is not right to carve up a child killer and eat his organs, if i must explain that to you.

  9. IDLIB FRONT

    Governor of Idlib fled the city. A arge number of Regime Forces have been surrounded by Rebels at Factory Barrier between Idlib and loyalist Kafriya which got hit accidentally by a scud missile today. Sources: Tazi Morocco and Karim.

    From Archicivilians:

    Rebels say the Regime in Idlib City executed 36 soldiers who gave Rebels information for the offensive

    Rebels took full control of Maqbarat al-Halfa and al-Batal military checkpoints in the eastern side of the city and IF is attacking al-Jamarik and al-Mutlaq Military Checkpoints in the southern entrance. Rebel managed to control encircled area ‘SabahQtee’ checkpoint’. Also they cut Al-Fu’ah-Idleb road.

    Archicivilians maps below show the situation north and south of Idlib.

    https://twitter.com/3BOOOD9595/status/580731622296686593/photo/1

    https://twitter.com/archicivilians/status/580727628723671040

    ALEPPO FRONT

    Number of Rebels from Levantine Front were killed in a suicide attack by Daesh in Western Aleppo countryside while they were praying–Archicivilians

    TERRIBLE BLOW TO US PUBLIC RELATIONS IN MIDEAST

    The American Air Force has become Iran’s Air Force, targeting Sunnis in Tikrit to help Iranian milita every bit as criminal as ISIS or the shabbiha. Meanwhile Obama denies his strongly pro-Iran bias.

    Maybe Obama wants to save lives of Shia/Iran militians and IRCG types so they’ll be around to club more Iranians the next time Khamenei rigs an election.

    • “The American Air Force has become Iran’s Air Force, targeting Sunnis in Tikrit to help Iranian milita every bit as criminal as ISIS or the shabbiha. Meanwhile Obama denies his strongly pro-Iran bias.”

      The only reason I can find for this public suicide -beyond your unreliable “mole theory”- is that the U.S government actually considers sunni extremism an existential menace. Maybe even the K.S.A is willing to contribute with the air raids…

  10. A SIGN THE REGIME IS GIVING UP ON IDLIB

    News out from Damascus tells of orders issued to evacuate Assad cronies from Idlib. The expendable others will remain to the end.–Eagle Syrian

  11. If Nusra and Co take Idlib city in house to house fighting and along with airstrikes etc destroy the city and turn it into dust,will it be a “pyrrhic victory” or a devastating blow to the government?I will guess definitely the 2nd option.Probably infested with alawites and Shia,christians and Druze anyway.

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