by Jim W. Dean, VT Editor
Heavy rains in NW Syria have literally dampened the Syrian coalition offensive to take the M5 highway section from just north of Khan Shaykhun up to Maraat al-Numan, the next major city.
Air cover operations had ceased and the SAA does not like to move without the full engagement of the Russian aerial surveillance to find and target enemy equipment, ammo dumps and headquarters.
The Syrian army is filled with combat veterans, and Assad guards his soldiers’ lives with the Russian command that has great resources in both intelligence and operationally to provide full spectrum battlefield support.
The non-jihadi civilian group hostages have made attempts to leave Idlib, preferring camp life in Turkey versus Syria where at least they are not getting shot at.
The Syrian offensive has concentrated on capturing the SE area of Idlib to begin capturing the M-5 highway to Aleppo to open it up to regular commerce. This will push the remaining jihadis north and northeast and put a lot of potential refugee pressure on Erdogan, who is still fighting with the EU to get his promised refugee care funds.
The SAA has retaken 350 sq kms and is poised to move on Maarat al-Numan, the next big city on the M5 highway. With the advantage of air cover, the Syrian coalition will grind forward. Assad has promised that every inch of Syria will be liberated no matter how long it takes, and I believe him.
VT had covered a number of times that there is a lot of oil in Idlib to be developed, which is why Erdogan has wanted to keep proxy terrorist and militant proxies in control. The same has gone on with the jihadis in Africa to keep oil competition in the ground and off the market.
As for the Turkish-backed jihadis in Syria, some are already fighting south of Tripoli for the GNA against US and Qatar backed Haftar forces. VT predicted that all the combat experienced jihadis from Syria, when that war cooled down, would be shuffled around like the game board pieces that they willingly are.
Russia and Iran are both playing a quiet game over Erdogan’s support to militants and terrorists in Syria, mostly in Idlib, now but their days might be numbered, as Russia does not want to keep its men fighting like the US does, a decade or two and playing permanent policeman.
Putin wants to morph his military effort into a rebuilding one, and we have seen that with the announcement of Moscow agreeing to explore two offshore Syrian oil tracts for development, already planning ahead to secure more oil resources to help fund a long term rebuilding program.
When VT was in Syria during our three trips, we saw a complete media blackout on how, despite the war horrors, the country was spending down its national fund to keep the free colleges’ medical care going.
As the US shooting war cranks down, we see it escalating the commercial wars, which I don’t find in the US Constitution “to do” list.