NEO – How Russia and Syria Turned the tide on terror

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Russian fighter_rockers

by Jim W. Dean, … with New Eastern Outlook, Moscow

The seven golden domes of St. Petersburg
The seven golden domes of St. Petersburg

[ Note: This was sent in to NEO about five days ago, but I wrote it as a retrospective piece and not as breaking news. We had been publishing a lot of short news clips, all of it from Gordon’s exhaustive screening of 20 new sites to cherry pick the best material, and some days having to do that two and three times. So I wrote this to stitch together some of the combat tactics that were emerging from those reports.

Gordon has submitted a new major NEO article after learning that the timing of the Russians going in was to preempt a Saudi, Israeli, Turkish plan to take Damascus with a blitzkrieg type attack. It would begin with a Turkish and Jihadi assault in the North to cut off Latakia to draw the Syrian Army north, and then a major attack on Damascus under Israeli air cover.

We learned there were early airstrikes much earlier south of Damascus to bomb the command centers and staging areas for this attack. We should have that story up in a few days, another Gordon home run. Our two articles on the captured Israeli general in Iraq are over 150,000 reads on VT, and still a corporate media blackout on it.

War coverage is one of our specialties now, after getting into it up to our eyeballs in the Libyan War, with our own deep throat, a Libyan family with members in government, the military and expats who kept us abreast of both sides. The expat began doing humanitarian supply missions, where he got shot up one night and played dead after getting out of his burning car in the nick of time.

He went back later with a combat squad, and on his last day was at Gadaffi’s capture in Sirte, after which his crew drove to Cairo and flew home, modern citizen soldiers. We have never heard from him sinceJD ]

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– First published  …  October 28, 2015 –

Dean


The world has watched in surprise as the leader of Syria, who would not abandon his country in war time, and the leader of Russia, a country that refused to be isolated, stood together in Moscow against the arrogant powers.

Iran and Iraq watched from the wings, taking care of business on their end from similar geopolitical aggressions from the Western-Israel-Gulf State musketeers, who have been wreaking havoc across the region.

There is an old military saying, “Never underestimate your enemy”, where the updated form of that would be “never underestimate your victims”… because these Russia and Syria never chose to be anyone’s enemies. The musketeers chose them to be victims.

America’s fall from grace as the spreader and protector of freedom and democracy is almost complete. A small Russian air wing, but a highly competent one, has turned the whole Syrian terror war upside down, with a combined operations display with the Syrian army that no one saw coming.

And the most bitter pill of all, they have done this completely within the United Nations charter and international law, which their persecutors have treated with contempt.

But today I wanted to cover the combat tactics that were so crucial to turning the Syrian situation around as the blizzard of short combat action reports have blended into a blur for most readers. What we have seen happen is something that will be taught in military academies for a hundred years, like Confederate generals still are from our own unfortunate Civil War tragedy.

Precision bombing left Western media no recourse that to make up fake civilian targets
Precision bombing left Western media no recourse than to make up fake civilian targets

The first surprise came when the ground assault began after only a week of airstrikes from a modest number of planes, but long enough for Russia to put its precision bombing skills on display, that avoided civilian casualties and collateral damage that we have not seen from other parties.

We learned soon after that the planning for this offensive had been going on for some time, timed to be kicked off after the recent UN event speeches just before the battle began.

Central Syria had to be cleared first to have safe lines of resupply for the major battles awaiting in the north. The jump off point was from Homs, heading north on highway 5, the city that I was assigned to as an elections monitor in June of 2014, a memorable day in my life as I watched an undefeated people re-elected a war time president.

And it was an honor to help with the English translation of the final report of the monitors certifying the election as representing the Syrian people.

The first Jihadi defense line was just north of Homs. The US made TOWS were waiting for the Syrian armor that had to charge straight up the road, and we hear 30 tanks were killed that day.

But we have video now from both the Syrian side and the Jihadi’s, some of it from rooftops so airstrikes could be observed. The Russian planes had left the command bunkers in this defense line untouched until attack day so they would be full.

2CFD1F5600000578-3257288-Russia_has_been_accused_of_only_targeting_areas_controlled_by_U_-a-7_1443793582252

The second surprise came when the Syrians launched a left flank attack split east and west, one force blocking any jihadi reinforcement being able to come down from the hills, and the other taking the jihadi positions west of highway 5 from the rear, making them fight in two directions.

The initial battle was mostly over the first day as the surviving terrorist units pulled back to their next line, the Hama area on highway 5, and in the process learned what is was like to be under bomber and MI-24 helicopter attack while on the roads.

We next saw elements of the Iranian trained Syrian national guard reserves quickly put into the battle doing clearing operations on both sides of highway 5 to clean out any stay behind jihadis that could ambush supply columns. This also allowed the attacking units to keep pushing north in tight formation.

The jihadis began breaking up into smaller units and spreading out to make themselves less visible to air strikes. But this also destroyed their ability to maneuver and support each other while under ground and air attack.

This week we saw some of the first jihadi footage from dead or captured jihadis who had been hoping to record some home movies to be shown to grandchildren someday. They showed poorly trained fanatics with poor radio discipline in total chaos. Here some jihadis learn the hard way not to congregation around heavy weapons during an airstrike to watch the action. It can be fatal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvHgEDURSb0

It almost looked like a contest as to who could recite the most religious slogans while filming bombing strikes and amazing low level MI-24 strikes that sometimes were below the minarets. I had heard they were heavily armored, and they seemed to be totally unconcerned about ground fire.

Jihadis found that congregating in large groups brought a visit of 500 lb bombs
Jihadis found that congregating in large groups brought a visit of 500 lb bombs

While the jihadis were filming and chanting slogans the Syrian Army was of course maneuvering around them, to cut them off from retreating north. This prevented a flow of reinforcements flowing to new terrorist defensive lines, ending the long tactic of the Syrian Army pushing them out of an area but not destroying them, so they lived to fight another day.

Anti-aircraft fire was mostly from twin 20mm technical trucks, a dual ground and air defense versatile unit. The videos show them wasting ammo at targets too far away, sometime even shooting through low hanging clouds in frustration where the poor cameraman searches for something to see.

My first big surprise was to see not only SU armored bombers at fairly low altitude but the Flankers, also. I had thought that to avoid MANPADS they would be bombing from above 15,000 feet. Some of the planes could have been Sryian Army ones, and they were definitely making low level bombing and strafing runs. I assume these may have been necessary to for quickly attacking retreating columns while they were exposed.

Some of the most dramatic footage I saw showed some of the planes flying through 20mm tracer fire, and sometimes taking some hits that had no effect. The Russian helicopters seemed to be bulletproof, and there were no MANPAD plumes in any of the footage.

To the amazement of all, the small Russian air wing, along with the remaining Syrian air force was fighting a multi-front air war, continuing the precision bombing targeting to continue degrading the terrorist infrastructure while still flying close air support for the attacking Syrian army columns.

Russian military expenditures are hugely more cost effective than the US and NATO's
Russian military expenditures are hugely more cost effective than the US and NATO’s

You all have seen the footage of the Russian Navy strike by the small 2000 ton ships that had never been used as long range cruise missile platforms.

Water based platforms do not come under the intermediate range missile restrictions and the smaller size allows them to be deployed on some of Russia’s rivers. The 26 missile salvo demonstrated that Russian could support Mideast allies with that firepower, which caught military experts by surprise.

The Syrian counter attack to reclaim their country continues to roll north while clearing operation south of Bagadad has had jihadis surrendering or running back to their paymasters in Jordan. Those in the Damascus suburbs have been doing the same, but where the walk to Jordan is a bit longer.

The National Guard forces are again taking over clearing operations, so the regular army troops can be fed into the major fighting still ahead in the north. The Syrians are attacking on multiple fronts, including a western line of attack designed to cut off Turkish supplies that have long been flowing into the Aleppo area.

The Kurds are holding blocking line north of Aleppo and have been air supplied by the US with munitions there. The plan seems leave a possible retreat line east to Raqqa which would become a Turkey shoot for the planes if that happens. Below is a screen grab.

The Kurds have a strong force north of Aleppo blocking Turkish supply lines there
The Kurds have a strong force north of Aleppo blocking Turkish supply lines there

Reinforcement convoys from Raqqa have been attacked and destroyed, even at night. The Russian drones seem to be doing a good job and denying the enemy the ability to move without losing more fighting assets. Syrian forces are within a few miles of the Kuweires airbase, close to breaking the longest siege of the war, two years now.

Turkey will do all it can to derail the current anti-terror progress in Syria, and NATO will be helping. But they would have to do this without getting caught. So far it seems the Gulf States have no such concerns.

Little Qatar has floated a call for invading Syria, with Saudi help I would suspect, and the US and Israel, too? That would be a new level of aggression, openly in support of terror forces. Might that be the straw that could break the back politically of the Western-Israel-Gulf State axis of evil?

Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, was in Iraq recently trying to hold that flank from using Russian anti-terrorism services, and claims he got a commitment it would not.

But on the same day the Iraqi Parliament seemed poised to easily pass a resolution to request help from Moscow.

If that were to happen then Israel and “others” could not continue VIP reinforcement flights to ISIL in Mosul. I think the Russian air force would frown on that especially if the Iraqis gave them that sector to defend.

We could easily have one incident that spins this all out of control, and we know the Israelis are staying up late working on various schemes to do just that. So the dance of death continues, with a happy ending still much in doubt. Our prayers are with the righteous.

Jim W. Dean, managing editor for Veterans Today, producer/host of Heritage TV Atlanta, specially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Mr Dean, This is probably among the most brilliant analysis of the Syria Sitrep. Superbly broken down explaining the political details. Obviously, what you have brought out clearly is that there is a military objective, sequenced with political and economic objectives. These objectives are best understood only by military men with intellectual clarity. Clearly you are one of them. America still has hope so long as there are few men of honour like you standing and willing to be counted ! Hopefully human beings like you are not the last of the Mohicans.

    • Yes Shivkumar, as we say in the business “layers withing layers”. Even the FSA is included. Their numbers are small as the West only paid them $200 a month and the others paid twice that plus combat bonuses, and of course they took their weapons with them. The FSA alone should have had a big Congressional hearing but those folks have put their OK on it all, with McCain being the big terror-meister. I never served in the military, but come from a old military family, from our Rev War, lots of Confederates, WWII and up to Vietnam.

  2. We should not forget in the excitement that long before Russia and Iran became involved, Hezbollah was on the ground fighting the anti-government mercenaries.

    • Yes, and this combat experience, rotating their Lebanese fighters in and out, has put them in a much stronger position to resist an Israeli attack and the Zios know this. As the Israelis found out in that last Lebanon war, green troops going up against well trained troops on defense, well led and with decent weapons, usually don’t fare too well. And the Zios, to cover that failure did their usual crime against humanity thing by bombing civilian infrastructure, killing a bunch of civilians, and the sowing south Lebanon with cluster bombs to try to have the Lebanese angry at Hezbollah, like they were the real enemy.

  3. We had a great day with Gordon hooking up the South Front narrated map combat reports today. This is part of our future strategy to really cherry pick who we bring into VT. Readers only have so much time to read and they don’t want to wade through a 100 staff writers. They want screened material by people they trust. So this was a good day. I ran the Snordster piece because we loved his stuff and had not heard from them in a while, not an unusual thing for VT people who have full lives, but I was glad to find out he was not dead and still producing,

  4. Great break down of the tactics Mr. Dean, showing off your forte. Looks like your critics have been completely dazzled, some were unable to even finish their sentences. To me, but, it all reminds me of a song by the Mamas and Papas; Creeque Ally: “And no one’s gettin’ fat except Mama Cass.” Substitute military industrial complex for Mama Cass and it works for me. They should remember how she ended up, that works for me too…

    • Thanks Jack, but the battle front is evolving since I wrote that. The Aleppo progress has slowed down. I see no big flanking movements to deliver a knock out punch. So they have not committed the reserves, or they have but are spread out too much, with Damascus remaining well protected out of fears of a large Saudi attack. If the Russian has 200 planes it would be different. What they have done with a really small force is incredible. ISIL has been launching counter attacks, which surprised me. They have not made gains, but have made the Syrian Army slow down, so that tactic worked if the goal was to buy time for a bigger counter attacks being set up for.

    • Unfortunately Mr. Dean these guys are no idiots either. The Israelis very well may be but the British and the Americans, just like the Russians, have century’s of experience in the most brutal warfare imaginable. Hell who was it that produced all those brilliant Confederate generals your talking about. Just because they went over to the dark side doesn’t mean they lost a step. I fear this is going to get out of hand even though no one ever intended it too. Anyone still for a “New American Century?” just like Henry Wallace told them; “a century of fear.”

  5. from the preface it sounds like Russia jumped in right at the crucial moment to begin stopping these fully supported terrorist mercenaries. I have zero pity for the false leaders in turkey, saudiland, izrahell, DC and more, they DO need to be brought to justice!

  6. Jim, what a mess or clusterf##K ~ as Charles Peirce describes it in Esquire ~ “If you’re keeping score at home, in Syria, we’ll be fighting alongside the people against whom we’ll be fighting in Syria. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. And the friend of my friend is the enemy of the enemy of my friend. And the friend of the devil is a friend of mine. This isn’t foreign policy. It’s a Lewis Carroll poem, and it’s getting to be a longer one.”

  7. Yes, those Russian Choppers are something aren’t they?
    lol, I think the Russian’s have developed an Allah Akbar seeking bombs.

  8. “America’s fall from grace as the protector of freedom and democracy is almost complete’
    That is the biggest line of shit I have ever read, that is the last think Murder Inc. is.

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