Syria Is Playing the Long Game – Developing Strategy for the Potential of All-Out War
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 27 Nov 2023
23 Nov 2023 – In-Depth Analysis of Syrian Military Developments Since 7 October
“While red lines in politics are mostly colorless to provide more room for maneuver, red lines in the field are drawn with iron and fire and colored with blood, making these lines unbreakable.”
— Ibrahim Wahdi – SAA soldier and journalist
October 7th has sent shock waves throughout the world. The invincible Israel with, allegedly, the most powerful military and intelligence capability was proven to be a paper tiger by a weaker and less well equipped Palestinian Resistance coalition.
The effect has been dramatic on regional Resistance factions – triggering a regional wide engagement with Israel or with the illegal US military bases in Syria and Iraq. As a result, there has been an unprecedented military escalation in the region that has largely gone unreported with all eyes on Gaza and the ongoing Zionist ethnic cleansing in both Gaza and West Bank.
Israel is in disarray with internal divisions threatening the Netanyahu extremist coalition government. Netanyahu is unable to acknowledge the military and intelligence failings despite pressure to do so, even from within his own military.
Instead Israel has resorted to the familiar sadistic war against women, children and innocent civilians for almost two months. The ongoing brutal massacre on an hourly basis, the targeting of hospitals, UNRWA refugee centers and schools, humanitarian convoys, ambulances, paramedics, civil defence headquarters are a litany of war crimes.
Of course any admission by Netanyahu would signal the end of his political career and bring him to trial for corruption. Despite the knowledge that his military would suffer horrendous losses in a ground operation in the sprawling urban landscape of the Gaza enclave, Netanyahu gave the green light to invade. He relied on the daily horrific civilian death toll to break the Resistance resolve.
The message was “to resist is futile” but just as the entire globalist axis led by the US and UK failed to factor in the determination of the Syrian people to prevent regime change in Syria – the world has underestimated the strength of the Palestinian Resistance against decades of apartheid, oppression and trickle expansionist ethnic cleansing by the Zionist entity.
Hezbollah in northern Palestine has skillfully and tactically occupied the Zionist forces in the north preventing their involvement in the Gaza operations and ongoing stealth ethnic cleansing of the West Bank.
Yemen has directly engaged by targeting sites in southern occupied Palestine. Iraqi Resistance factions have increased their attacks against US illegal military bases in Iraq and Syria resulting in the death of at least forty US military personnel. Most recently Yemeni forces have seized an Israeli owned vessel in the Red Sea holding the crew hostage.
Palestinian factions inside Syria have launched several missile attacks on Israeli occupation sites in the illegally annexed Golan territories and even attacked Eilat from Syrian territory.
In response, the US and Israel have mobilised their ISIS agents in Syria to attack Syrian Arab Army positions in the central desert areas.
Hayat Tahrir Al Sham (HTS), an Al Qaeda offshoot, have escalated attacks on the northern Lattakia countryside axis and intensified drone attacks in Western Aleppo, northern Lattakia and northern Hama.
Israel aggression particularly south of Damascus has increased with the latest attack on the Sayeda Zainab district of south-east Damascus yesterday afternoon (22/11). Aleppo and Damascus civilian airports are still closed, not because of the previous damage from Israeli aggression, due to the high risk of Israeli bombardment.
The US has directly engaged with the Syrian Arab Army in Deir Ezzor in north-east Syria. Syria has responded by directly engaging with the US occupation forces, targeting US military bases and shooting down US drones. Syria has expanded the operational area in Syria for all Resistance factions to enable the targeting of Israel from multiple and mobile fronts.
In this article the focus will be on the military situation in Syria. Syria has endured a 12 year Western-orchestrated regime change war that has decimated Syrian infrastructure, depleted the military capability, imposed unprecedented sanctions unilaterally on the Syrian people. The US occupies oil and agricultural resources in the north-east, their assets occupy the agricultural resources in the north-west. Their Kurdish proxies and Al Qaeda assets benefit from the trade of Syrian resources under the protection of US political and military endorsement and collaboration.
Syria’s refusal to abandon Palestine and willingness to expand the ability of Resistance factions to target Israeli facilities and installations has triggered serious recriminations from the US/Israeli axis.
ISIS aggression on behalf of Israel and US
On the 8th of November ISIS groups attacked Syrian Arab Army positions in the vicinity of the Homs, Hama and Raqqa triangle. The attack led to the deaths of 21 SAA soldiers and several injured. Military reinforcements were dispatched to comb the area and to eliminate the ISIS fighters.
Since the double earthquake tragedy that struck Syria and Turkey on the 6th February there have been a number of ISIS attacks on Syrian military and civilians. This attack of the 8th November and the one that preceded it are the most intense.
On 18th October, ISIS launched a wide-scale assault on the SAA and allies in the Al Sukhnah area of the eastern Homs desert. ISIS took control of SAA positions along the main road and the Dubayyat gas field. This from a Carnegie Middle East Center report in 2015 when ISIS was gaining ground in Syria (before Russian intervention in September 2015):
Faced with dense regime defenses around Shaer, the Islamic State shifted its focus to Palmyra, which has been the site of the most development in Syria’s gas sector since the mid-1990s. Fields in the area were expected to eventually produce 9 million cubic meters of crude gas per day. These included the Arak, Dubayat, Hail, Hayan, Jihar, al-Mahr, Najib, Sukhneh, and Abi Rabah fields, which according to a former industry insider have collectively been producing half of Syria’s output of natural raw and liquid petroleum gas. Palmyra is also the transit point for pipelines carrying gas from important fields in Hasakah and Deir Ezzor provinces in northeastern and eastern Syria respectively.
The US appears to be recycling their strategy of pre-Russian intervention to control the ‘hub between the extraction or transfer of virtually all of Syrian gas production and the processing and power plants further west that supply electricity and gas for domestic and industrial use’ to the most populated areas of Syria that are under the control of the Syrian government and military.
The SAA was forced to withdraw and to await reinforcements from the 18th Division and allied forces.
The ISIS terrorists were counter-attacked and the Syrian positions were recaptured in the southern outskirts of Al Sukhna. ISIS forces were routed with a high casualty rate.
Units of the SAA pursued the remnants of ISIS terrorists targeting them heavily with artillery to force their retreat to the 55 km exclusion zone established by the US occupation forces around the US allied Al Tanf military base on the borders of Iraq and Jordan.
ISIS terrorists were also besieged in small pockets around Al Dubayyat gas field. Russian and Syrian warplanes concurrently bombed ISIS groups emanating from the area of Al Tanf that were trying to reach Al Dubbayat to break the SAA siege on their militants.
On November 16th, Deputy Head of the Russian Reconciliation Center, Vadim Collet, gave a statement that:
“Armed groups trained at Al-Tanf base are planning to carry out sabotage acts in southern Syria against Syrian forces on main roads and fuel and energy facilities” adding that “the leadership of both Russian and Syrian forces will take preemptive measures to prevent armed provocations”
On the 13th November, at night, the SAA again repelled an ISIS attack on Point 10 in the Ja’ideen area in the eastern desert of Raqqa, on the administrative border with Homs province.
The joint Russian-Syrian warplanes targeted ISIS terrorists, forcing them to withdraw again to the open desert within the US controlled Al Tanf 55 km exclusion zone.
The Syrian Arab Army secured the area between the Al-Rasafa Castle and Al-Zamla village less than an hour after the failed infiltration operation, which demonstrates a significant improvement in the Syrian Arab Army’s ability to respond and deal with these attacks.
Later on November 14, an ISIS cell attacked a Russian patrol with an RPG on Al-Shaer gas field road in the desert. Three Russian soldiers were injured in the attack.
The level of attacks being carried out by the ISIS terrorists is indicative of both their presence in the areas occupied by US allied forces and of the control that the US alliance has over this terrorist faction operating in Syria and Iraq.
The ISIS attacks must be seen in conjunction with the US and Israeli direct attacks on SAA and allied military positions.
Israeli aggression against Syria since October 7th
After five Israeli attacks in October, four of which targeted civilian airports in Damascus and Aleppo, putting them out of service, Israel has attacked more than three times in November.
On November 8th at 22.50 Israel launched an attack on the positions of allied forces in the farmland extending from Sayeda Zainab and Aqraba, south-west of Damascus. They also targeted radar systems and air defence positions in Tal Qalib and Tal Al Massih in the Sweida district, southern Syria – scene of the most recent separatist protests backed and instigated by the US and Israel. Three civilians were injured in the Sweida attack.
In the early dawn hours of November 10th, Israel bombed two positions of the Syrian allies in the vicinity of Shanshar, south-west of Homs. This led to the deaths of seven Hezbollah soldiers and significant material damage.
Vanessa Beeley is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. “The pursuit of peace and progress, with its trials and its errors, its successes and its setbacks, can never be relaxed and never abandoned.”
This article was co-written with Ibrahim Wahdi.
Tags: Gaza, Israel, Palestine, Syria, Warfare
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