Syria Daily: Russia Announces Aleppo Ceasefire

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PHOTO: President Assad — “Crying, wailing, and begging for a truce are enemy’s only political discourse now”


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UPDATE 1800 GMT: Russian Foreign Sergei Lavrov has announced an effective ceasefire in eastern Aleppo city.

Speaking in Hamburg, Germany, Lavrov said President Assad’s forces have suspended “active military activities” to enable the withdrawal of civilians from the city.

The Foreign Minister made his announcement after a meeting and follow-up phone call with US Secretary of State John Kerry. He said talk “between our [Russia-US] military experts and diplomats” should complete negotiations of American proposals presented last week.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said, “Based on the US side’s declared readiness to facilitate the withdrawal of militants from that city, the sides agreed to look into practical details of this process at the expert level in the nearest future.”


UPDATE 1545 GMT: The Conflict Intelligence Team, a specialist on the Russian military, says a
second Russian colonel was killed recently in Aleppo.

The Russian Defense Ministry acknowledged three deaths — two female medics and Colonel Ruslan Galitsky — from rebel shelling on a mobile base last weekend.

However, CIT says President Vladimir Putin honored four personnel who were killed. The fourth, Colonel Skvortsov, was a brigade commander in Spetsnaz, the Russian special forces.

Skvortsov in the 2016 Victory Day parade in Tambov in western Russia:

skvortsov


UPDATE 0845 GMT: The pro-opposition Local Coordination Committees documented the killing of 61 people in Aleppo on Wednesday. “Most of them” were slain in fighting with pro-Assad forces; however, there were also casualties from regime bombing of districts such as Mash’had, Sahet Baza, Salhin, Maadi, Kalaseh, and Ansari.

The deaths were among 97 documented across Syria, including 21 children and 17 women. Among the casualties were 20 in Raqqa Province, most from US-led coalition airstsrikes.


ORIGINAL ENTRY: As foreign forces and the Syrian army close on retaking opposition-held eastern Aleppo city, President Assad has rejected a ceasefire and insisted on total victory.

The opposition local council has proposed a five-day truce for evacuation of all civilians who wish to leave, and there are signs that Assad’s key ally Russia will consider this. However, the President rejected any possibility of a ceasefire in an interview with the pro-regime al-Watan newspaper, published on Thursday:

Other powers still insist on calling for a truce, particularly the Americans, because their proxies, the terrorists, are in a difficult position. That’s why crying, wailing, and begging for a truce constitute their only political discourse now, in addition, of course, to talking about humanitarian aspects.

Assad insisted that total victory in required over rebels and their backers, notably Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan:

Liberating Aleppo from the terrorists deals a blow to the whole foundation of the project [to capture] Damascus, Homs, and Aleppo. That way the terrorists and the countries supporting them are deprived of any real cards….

Because Turkey has thrown all its weight, and Erdogan laid all his bets on Aleppo, the failure of their battle in Aleppo means a total transformation of the course of the war throughout Syria, and consequently the collapse of the outside project, be it regional or Western.

Assad also rejected any pursuit of a political resolution in which he did not set the terms, saying that intermittent talks since 2012 were “not based on fighting terrorism; rather this process was only an instrument to enable terrorists to achieve what they could not achieve in the field.”

He declared, “We support dialogue between the Syrians when it is a Syrian-Syrian dialogue between Syrians who do not belong to foreign agendas and do not support terrorism.”

The President evaded the question of whether Syria had become a “Russian satellite” because of Moscow’s military intervention that propped up the regime and turned the course of hte conflict, instead pointing at the US: “The West thinks this way because it lives such a condition. You know that all Western states are now satellites of one master, America.”

Pro-Assad Forces Take 75% of Opposition Territory in Aleppo

Foreign forces — Iranian troops, Hezbollah fighters, Iraqi, Pakistani, and Afghan militia, and Russia support units — as well as Syrian military and paramilitary elements made further important gains in eastern Aleppo city on Wednesday.

The offensive reclaimed all of the Old City, long split between the regime and opposition, and several other neighborhoods. Rebels have now been pushed backed into about 25% of the opposition territory held before November 26.

Although an estimated 50,000 civilians had left for regime or Kurdish areas of Aleppo, more than 200,000 are believed to have been compressed into the remaining opposition neighborhoods.

“It’s been a tragedy here for a long time, but I’ve never seen this kind of pressure on the city – you can’t rest for even five minutes, the bombardment is constant,” a resident said on Wednesday. “Any movement in the streets and there is bombardment immediately.”

The resident, who declined to be identified, said people were desperate for food or water.

A Russian-regime siege was reimposed on eastern Aleppo in late August, and any aid attempts have been blocked, including the bombing of a UN convoy on September 19.

“The dead are everywhere,” Ibrahim al-Haj, a spokesman for Aleppo Civil Defense, said on Wednesday. “There are dozens of bodies lying on the streets, buried under the rubble and even more now behind enemy lines.”

He adds, “Simply put, we’ve lost track.”

Footage from the Old City on Wednesday:

The al-Sha’ar district:

Russia said last week that it was discussing an American proposal for the removal of all rebels from east Aleppo, and claimed that discussions were to continue in Geneva by Wednesday. However, amid a Russian veto of a UN resolution for a ceasefire, the US said the talks had not been scheduled.

However, US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Hamburg on Wednesday. State Department spokesman John Kirby said the two “discussed ongoing multilateral efforts to achieve a cessation of hostilities in Aleppo, as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid”.

Kerry told reporters after the meeting that he and Lavrov will “connect” on Thursday morning.


Islamic State Claims Deadly Attack on Regime Forces in Homs Province

The Islamic State is claiming a deadly attack on regime forces in eastern Homs Province.

The ISIS news service Amaq claimed more than 50 troops were killed as the Islamic State took a series of checkpoints in the Jazal Mountains, near the city of Palmyra.

A pro-Assad website insists, from “local media”, that the attack was repelled, with ISIS losing more than 60 fighters and eight armored vehicles.

Pro-Assad forces retook Palmyra, famed for its Roman ruins, from ISIS in March.

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16 COMMENTS

  1. Scott, if NATO’s JI-Joes had just taken 85% of Damascus within a fortnight and were poised to grab the rest inside ~5 days, would you recommend they sign a truce with Assad so he could rally his forces for a fightback to reverse their gains, or vote to press on and have his head on a pike?

  2. Syrian Army Suspends Combat Operations in Aleppo – Lavrov

    © Sputnik/ Morad Saeed Middle East 20:08 08.12.2016 The Syrian army suspended combat operations in Aleppo on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “Today, active combat activities by the Syrian army in east Aleppo have been suspended because the largest operation during all the time on the evacuation of civilians from east Aleppo is being carried out. A column of about 8 thousand people, it’s a tremendous operation. The route is some 5 kilometers.” The Russian foreign minister said that Western states have not proposed any concrete steps to solve the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo. Lavrov said that Russia is aimed to “fight terrorists in Syria till the end” based on a UN Security Council resolution. He said that the United States does not target al-Nusra Front terrorist group. Lavrov also said that Russian and US experts will discuss militants’ pullout from Aleppo during a meeting in Geneva on December 10. The Russian top diplomat called on UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan De Mistura to stop “sabotaging” the Syrian political process.

    Read more: https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201612081048331257-syrian-army-lavrov/

  3. #International: “Russia’n Foreign Minister announce temporal cease-fire for #Aleppo city after #Assad rejected it” – markito0171
    .
    So I take it that means Russians jets will be inactive but regime barrel-bombing by helicopters will still occur? Now if the Iranians state they’ll be subscribing to a ‘cease fire’ also Assad may have to accept with a surly ‘not fair’ countenance.
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    #Aleppo: 1) “besieged Rebels managed to fend off pro-Regime assaults on several fronts despite intense shelling. 3 armours taken out.” – QalaatAlMudiq
    .
    Rebels outside Aleppo city need to realise that the rebels inside Aleppo won’t be able to defend themselves for much long if they (ie rebels outside Aleppo) don’t launch multiple decoy offensives (ideally on those regime positions that either can be quickly isolated – such as expaning operations on the Ithirya-highway spreading closer to Nayrab and further south – or are strategically important like Abtin and jabal Azaan) across southern Aleppo and re-activate the front in northern Hama against vulnerable sites like brigade 66/67. The purpose of such a decoy offensive would not be to break the siege or to capture territory permanently the purpose would be to divert as many regime troops away from eastern Aleppo so the rebels inside Aleppo have fewer regime troops to fight against. And if rebels do launch such decoy offensives it’d be wise for them to use/create a force that’s entirely mobile (e.g. light artillery mounted on vehicles, motor-bike assault teams, TOWies mounted on dune-buggies, tanks, VBIEDs, mortar and IED/land-mine/infantry units that have their own truck transport etc) so rebels can attack multiple regime positions as well as disperse from them before regime officers can call in aerial support with their comms. Furthermore such decoy raids using mobile tactics will work doubly well if it’s not only done during night-time but also simultaniously rebels send behind-the-line special-ops teams to regime positions nearby the regime position they’re going to assault with the specific aim of de-mobilising regime troops (e.g. planting IEDs on regime supply routes, planting land-mines on known regime assembly areas, booby-trapping buildings regime troops will have to capture from rebels in order to stop rebel offensives/raids, creating road-blocks/barriers in contested neighbourhoods so as to limit regime vehicle/troop movements into using roads/areas rebels have TOWie teams operators, targeting all senior regime IRGC/Hezbollah/SAA officers who organise regime offensive/counter-offensives). This link – though it’s on hybrid warfare – has an interesting study (ie see page 56 of the below link) on Chechen urban warfare methods which were effective in fighting the Russians.
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    http://calhoun.nps.edu/bitstream/handle/10945/5865/02Jun_Nemeth.pdf?sequence=1
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    It should be remember however rebels must try to keep a brigade (ie 3000/4000) of troops in reserve (who can be brought in to replace front-line troops and swap around with them after a number of days) or they’ll risk exhausting themselves like they did in 3000 apartments.
    .
    Finally in their planning rebels shouldn’t just use google earth, apply logic to it also: this leaked officer’s manual on how the US army picks targets for operation is rather instructive:
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    http://fas.org/irp/doddir/dod/cjcsi3370_01.pdf
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    So for instance north of Abtin and east of Sabiqiyah concrete walls have been built to stop rebels VBIEDs from isolating regime positions through surprise offensives. Possible way around this would be infiltration/multiple underground tunnel land-mines or to by-pass those areas (e.g. by going for Abtin and Shugaydillah and holding it temporarily – using the same scorch earth tactics of booby-trapping buildings/IED on roads into town/concealed snipers/road-block and land-mines on all avenue of approach to town – whilst main rebel force move quickly down south to Al-Jumaymah whilst rebels from Al-Eis tie down regime fighters in in Al-Haider after Shuqaydillah has been secured) and heading straight for the jugular. The aim of such an attack is to panic regime officers into sending troops away from eastern Aleppo and towards southern Aleppo.
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    2) “Mount Nabi Idris is the most important artillery position w/ a permanent base provided with at least 6 howitzers & 5 MRLS (likely BM-21)” –
    .
    As I’ve said before the siege of Aleppo won’t be broken permanently by rebels untill they capture permanently Jabal Azaan, Jabal Zurzur and Jabal Nabi Idris. But if secured by rebels then the road to assaulting Nayrab airbase and Safira opens up for rebels. Jabal Azaan/Jabal Mount Nabi Idris should be infiltrated by rebel agents for intell as they’re strategically important.
    .
    #Homs: 1) “Taking advantage of Russia & Regime focus on #Aleppo #ISIS launched offensive E. of #Palmyra, taking 8 barriers, 3 tanks, #ATGMs & cannons.” – QalaatAlMudiq
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    And.
    .
    2) ” Reports that all Russian servicemen are withdrawn from Palmyra. Report a few minutes ago that Palmyra is now completely besieged..Palmyra Roman Theatre, which hosted Russian propaganda concert in May this year, is under heavy shelling these minutes.” – fuadhud
    .
    So Palmyra might be the next city to be isolated? After big PR fanfare the Russians made last year you’d think they’d concentrate on securing this city first?

  4. 1. Why the August operation to lift the siege off East Aleppo was possibly the most fatal strategic mistake ‘rebels’ committed in this war:
    https://twitter.com/IzatCharkatli/status/806942263838445568
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    .
    2. Two Aleppan war reporters share their thoughts with Muhaysini and Abu Sheep:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIzlN3mJyoA
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    Pt.2 at end of this newsreel:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29UKgrQxR5s
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    3. Latest map update of E.Aleppo — Sheikh Sa’eed and Salheen neighbourhood [the chunk just south of Citadel] liberated today before SAA laid in a ‘short pause’ to allow civilians escape the greatly shrunken warzone — an offer of which thousands reportedly took advantage:
    https://twitter.com/MaximMansour/status/806973673445978113
    https://twitter.com/Ald_Aba/status/806937248394543104
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    4. The remaining JI-Joes are now crammed tighter than fish in a barrel … but the Aleppan correspondents provide touching counsel in Pt.3 of the series:
    https://twitter.com/MmaGreen/status/806930077019582464

  5. #Hama: “Despite huge reinforcements of Shia Jihadists from Iraq & Iran, pro-Regime forces still unable to fight on 2 major fronts at the same time.” – QalaatAlMudiq
    .
    This is why: A) Hama front needs to be re-activated (regime can defend every place at the same time) so regime is forced to shuttle troops down south from Aleppo and thereby give rebels on Ithriya-highway further target practice on moving regime convoys. B) The terrain of Hama being flat would be ideal (especially the south-eastern desert part) for the multiple small-unit mobile raiding approach (in order to hit every regime stronghold they’ve infiltrated with sleeper-cells/agents simultaneously – ie same day, same hours of the night – and then disperse during day time before Russian jets arrive) that I’ve outlined in the above/previous post. C) The pro-Iranian shiite militias make a big deal about protecting Shia shrines, if rebels can quickly isolate say Mount Zayn Al-Abideen they’ll be able to divert enough regime fighters to defending that area to not notice a quick offensive in Suqalabiya/Kernak or a quick raid on the regime depot centres to the east of Hama city.
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    #Aleppo: “Mount Azzan often believed as imp. artillery pos. is actually empty: artillery is in nearby Fatemiyoun Base in Khanat Assan.” –
    .
    Incredible complacency because the mountain dominates southern Aleppo. As I’ve said if the areas north of Abtin and east of Sabiqiyah can be by-passed and Al-Jumaymah as well as Shuqaydillah can be captured by rebels then Mount Azzan should be rebel’s next major target if they can attack it quickly.

  6. @realDonaldTrump Prominent AKP Deputy Ş.Tayyar: the biggest enemy of Turkish Armed Forces on the way to al Bab (Syria) is the USA, not ISIS.
    https://twitter.com/avagirhewawelat/status/806410302812209152 12/7/2016

    “Proposals for concerted operation among the powers at war with the Pyratical states of Barbary” was the title of an identic note written by Thomas Jefferson in 1786, when he was the American ambassador to France. It proposed an intergovernmental military alliance for purposes of instituting a naval blockade of the Ottoman Regency of Algiers, which allowed the Barbary pirates to attack ships. […]
    .
    According to Jefferson’s autobiography, Portugal, Naples, Venice, the Two Sicilies, France, Malta, Sweden, and Denmark all responded favorably to the proposal
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proposals_for_concerted_operation_among_the_powers_at_war_with_the_Pyratical_states_of_Barbary

    Our War video clip (Eugenio Finardi – Vittorio Cosma) 2016
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhT81sKIJC8 9/8/2016

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