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Mosul Battle Report – May 9, 2017: Operation Approaching Its Final Phase

mar, 09/05/2017 - 07:38
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Voiceover by Harold Hoover

The US-backed military operation against ISIS terrorists in the Iraqi city of Mosul is approaching its final phase.

Iraqi security forces (ISF), backed up by US-led coalition warplanes, attack helicopters, and special operation forces, have made significant progress against ISIS terrorists in the northern and southern parts of western Mosul, out-flanking the Old Mosul area and nearby neighborhoods which remain strongholds of ISIS terrorists in the city.

The ISF advance in western Mosul is on-going amid heavy clashes with ISIS terrorists who actively use suicide bombers and snipers. At the same time, experts note a lower frequency of the usage of suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (SVBIEDs) by ISIS in comparison to the early stages of the battle for Mosul. This means that the terrorist group is suffering from a lack of explosives and vehicles which could be used for creating SVBIEDs. This, as well as the shortage of weapons and ammunition, predetermines the results of the battle.

However, the current progress of ISF, actively backed up by the US-led coalition, shows that ISIS is still capable of defending its positions in heavy urbanized areas. The terrorist group has a motivated infantry. Furthermore, ISIS members actively use the favorable environment of western Mosul.

Meanwhile, ISIS has increased guerilla activity in Syria and Iraq. Earlier this month, 5 ISIS suicide bombers attacked the Kiwan military base operated by Kurdish Peshmerga forces and the US military in Iraq.  The ISIS-linked news agency Amaq claimed that the base was being used by US forces to oversee landing operations against important ISIS sites or commanders in Syria and Iraq. Amaq claimed that ISIS members managed to destroy two Humvee vehicles during the attack after infiltrating the base. One of the attackers blew himself up at the entrance to the base. Two suicide bombers blew themselves up along with some Peshmerga forces inside the base. Amaq argued that the clashes continued for two hours ending with the killing of all the attackers.

Earlier, another group of ISIS suicide bombers attacked several positions inside the Syrian city of Hasaka, controlled by US-backed Kurdish forces.

The collapse of ISIS as a terrorist state in the territory of Syria and Iraq will push the terrorist group to revise its Middle East strategy. It will likely halt attempts to keep formal control over villages and towns and focus on guerilla warfare and terrorist attacks against military and civilian targets.

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Catégories: Defence`s Feeds

Military Situation In Eastern Qalamoun After Recent Gains By Syrian Army

lun, 08/05/2017 - 22:39

Syrian government forces have been successfully developing an advance in eastern Qalamoun. So far, government troops have captured more than 70 square kilometers near the al-Seen Military Airbase.

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies got control over Beir al-Siba, the Mount Sabahiyat and the Rishi, Tal Shahab, al-Sabab Biyar and the Zaza Checkpoint.

The SAA and its allies are now aiming to reach the strategic Busairi crossroads from the both northern and southern directions. By doing this, government troops will prevent a possible militant advanc in the direction of Damascus and will secure the southern flank of the strategic Palmyra-Homs road.

Click to see the full-size map

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Catégories: Defence`s Feeds

Syrian Army Captures Beit Naim Village In Eastern Ghouta – REPORTS

lun, 08/05/2017 - 22:22

FILE IMAGE

Reports from various pro-government sources argue that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has managed to capture the village of Beit Naim in the southwestern part of the Estern Ghouta region near Dammascus.

So far, SF can only confirm that the SAA has managed to capture some 6 points that had belonged to Jaish al-Islam in the village.

From its side, Jaish al-Islam released a statement claiming that the group had repelled an attack of the SAA on the village. Pro-militant sources also reported about intense strikes by the Syrian Air Force and artillery units on the village before it was stormed by the SAA. Jaish al-Islam also claimed that its members managed to destroy a T-72 tank of the SAA.

Click to see the full-size image

During the past few days, Beit Naim witnessed violent clashes between Jaish al-Islam and the Al-Majdi Brigades, which recently joined the Al-Rahman Corps. Thus, it seems that the SAA decided to take advantage of the ongoing infighting among militant groups operating in Eastern Ghouta. This advancce is a violation of the safe zones agreement that includes Eastern Ghouta. However, the agreement remains very successful in the rest of the regions.

Most likely supporters of the agreement understand that the SAA will not stop its operation in the vicinity of the Syrian capital. Especially after Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and Jaish al-Islam violated the previous ceasefire agreement  launching an attack that threatened Damascus.

The post Syrian Army Captures Beit Naim Village In Eastern Ghouta – REPORTS appeared first on .

Catégories: Defence`s Feeds

Kurdish YPG Repels Attack Of Turkish-backed Militant Groups In Northern Aleppo

lun, 08/05/2017 - 21:54

On Monday, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Jaish Al Thowar repelled an attack by the Turkish-backed militant groups of Ahrar al-Sham, Sultan Murad and Jabhat al-Shamia on the villages of Tal Refa’at and Al-Sheikh Issa.

The clashes had been ongoing for more than 6 hours. Separately, YPG fighters managed to target a Turkish army position in Mara’ village while militants of Jabhat al-Shamia destroyed two bulldozers belonging to the YPG with Konkurs anti-tank guided missiles in Al-Sheikh Issa and Ain Dukna.

Click to see the full-size image

The Turkish-Kurdish tension raised again after the Turkish Army deployed large forces in the areas of Kielis, Hitai and Al-Dulbah near the border with the Syrian province of Idlib.

At the same time, sources linked with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) claimed that the Turkish forces in Jarablus and Al-Bab arrested a number of civilians on charges of communication with the SDF – the YPG is a core of the SDF.

On Monday, according to local sources, 930 refugees arrived from the areas controlled by Turkish-backed militants to the YPG-heled area of Afrin. It is believed that there are now over 300 thousand refugees in the YPG-held area. A large part of them fled the areas under control of pro-Turkish militants in northern Aleppo, including the towns of Al-Bab and Jarablus. The reason is a corruption, crimes and endless harassments against civilians in the Turkish-occupied area, according to local sources.

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Catégories: Defence`s Feeds

Jaish al-Islam And Al-Rahman Corps Continued Its Infighting In Eastern Ghouta

lun, 08/05/2017 - 20:12

Jaish al-Islam issued an official statement accusing the Al-Rahman Corps and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in following up the fighting against it in the Eastern Ghouta region near Damascus despite the announcement of a ceasefire among militant groups.

Jaish al-Islam accused the Al-Rahman Corps of protecting, hiding and supporting HTS militants who attack positions of Jaish al-Islam in Eastern Ghouta.

Click to see the full-size image

Jaish al-Islam called on the Al-Rahman Corps and HTS to stop the campaign of arrests and harassment against supporters of Jaish al-Islam and the families of its members and demanded the Al-Rahman Corps to hand over the commanders of “Jabhat al-Nusra” (now known as HTS) under its protection.

The statement also accused “Jabhat al-Nusra” in plotting bombings and assassinations targeting civilians and commanders of Jaish al-Islam in Eastern Ghouta.

In the end of the statement, Jaish al-Islam announced that it would continue its military campaign against the Al-Rahman Corps and HTS in region.

Meanwhile, the Abu Musa al-Ash’ari Brigade issued a statement saying that all its previous problems with the Al-Rahman Corps were resolved. It also announced that the brigade had joined the Al-Rahman Corps and will participate in all its battles.

Click to see the full-size image

It is believed that small factions operating in Eastern Ghouta, such as the Abu Musa al-Ash’ari Brigade, chose to support the Al-Rahman Corps after the group had repelled the attack by Jaish al-Islam in the region.

The Al-Rahman Corps and the HTS had proved to be an influential force in Eastern Ghouta and proven that Jaish al-Islam was not so influential in Eastern Ghouta as it was believed by its supporters.

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Catégories: Defence`s Feeds

Syrian Democratic Forces Liberated “District 1″ From ISIS In Tabqah (Videos)

lun, 08/05/2017 - 19:19

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), have liberated the District 1 from ISIS terrorists in the town of Tabqah after violent clashes that lasted for several days.

#الطبقة فيديو جديد يظهر الشارع الرئيسي حارة معمل البلاستيك في مدينة الطبقة خالي تماما من تنظيم #داعش بعد دخول قوات #سوريا الديمقراطية #قسد pic.twitter.com/usbtKbBc2Q

— قوات سوريا من الجبهة (@QSD_Jabha) May 8, 2017

The SDF also managed to capture the national hospital in the northern part of Tabqah.

سيطرت #قوات_سوريا_الديمقراطية على المشفى الوطني في مدينة #الطبقة pic.twitter.com/Z4ocbRwPOh — قوات سوريا من الجبهة (@QSD_Jabha) May 8, 2017

Meanwhile, the SDF has repelled a new ISIS attack on the village of Safsafa west of Tabqah. SDF fighters have allegedly killed 20 ISIS militants and seized some weapons and ammunition during the clashes.

The US Marines artillery continued to shell the District 2 and the District 3 in the town of Tabqah.

From its side, ISIS claimed that its members have killed and wounded many Kurdish fighters during the clashes in the District 1 in Tabqah and its snipers killed 2 Kurdish fighters in the village of Fatess Al-Kasoun in the northern Raqqa countryside.

According to local sources, US-led coalition warplanes carried out four airstrikes on the Justice Palace area in the ISIS-held city of Raqqa.

Furthermore, Russian Aerospace Forces warplanes bombed ISIS positions in the villages of Debsi Afnan and Debsi Faraj in the western Raqqa countryside.

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Catégories: Defence`s Feeds

Iraqi Security Forces Liberated Industrial Area In Western Mosul

lun, 08/05/2017 - 18:45

Iraqi security forces (ISF) have liberated the industrial area east of the Al-Tanak district in the western part of the Mosul city. ISF have also captured the Wadi Akbar cemetery and 90% of the Al-Haramat district in the same area.

Click to see the full-size map

During the course of their advance, ISF troops discovered dozens of ISIS arms manufacturing workshops in the industrial area, and captured Abu Qa’qa’a, an ISIS military commander.

Abu Qa’qa’a:

ISF troops are in the captured areas:

ISIS attacked gatherings of the Iraqi Army and SWAT forces with three VBIEDs in Al-Haramat and the industrial area, allegedly destroying two Humvee vehicles.

Meanwhile, ISIS attacked a position of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) with an armed drone in northern Al-Ratbah in the Anbar desert. Pro-ISIS sources claimed that a PMU fighter was killed in the attack.

The Iraqi Army has launched a large operation in the western desert of Anbar aiming to destroy ISIS hideouts, training camps and arms depots in the desert. It’s expected that ISIS will use the Anbar desert to regroup, organize and train its forces after the fall of Mosul.

The PMU announced that its killed  725 ISIS militants and destroyed 112 vehicles belonging to the terrorists during the last 30 days. PMU fighters repelled more than 31 ISIS attacks in both Salah Addin and Ninwa provinces and during the operation of Muhammad Rasool Allah in Hatar area.

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Catégories: Defence`s Feeds

Syrian Army Recaptures More Areas From Militants Near al-Seen Military Airbase

lun, 08/05/2017 - 17:58

© AFP 2017/ GEORGE OURFALIAN

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has managed to recapture over 70 square kilometers from western-backed militants in the vicinity of the al-Seen Military Airbase east of Damascus.

Government forces have captured Beir al-Siba, the Mount Sabahiyat and the Rishi and Tal Shahab in the area near the airbase. The SAA has also imposed a fire control over the Baghdad-Palmyra road in Badia Al Sham.

A rough look at the government advance in the area

The SAA has made their gains after minor clashes with militants from Assoud al-Sharkiah and the Forces of Martyr Ahmad al-Abdo that seized this area last month after rapid advance against ISIS. Indeed, ISIS terrorists just withdrew from a large area in the Syrian desert because of a lack of manpower and military equipment as a result of losses in Syria and Iraq.

Separately, the SAA has begun deplyoing more reinforcements, including battle tanks in order to develop the advance in the area.

The SAA aims to develop its operations and reach the areas controlled by the 5th Assault Corps in the area south of Palmyra, north of Sawanah village.

Thus, government forces are aiming to prevent various factions of the Free Syrian Army from liifting the siege from Jaish al-Islam in eastern Qalamoun. If militants succeed in this, they would threaten the al-Seen Military Airbase and the government-held area near Damascus.

Alleged photos of the government reinforcements deploying to the area:

Source: https://twitter.com/NatDefFor/

Source: https://twitter.com/NatDefFor/

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Catégories: Defence`s Feeds

Egyptian Navy And Its Mistral-Class Amphibious Assault Ships

lun, 08/05/2017 - 17:14

© AP Photo/ David Vincent, File

Written by Ahmed Sayed exclusively for SouthFront; Edited by Brian Kalman

On the 5th of January, 2017, the Egyptian President Abdel el-Sisi visited the port city of Safaga on the Red Sea and announced the establishment of the Southern Fleet. The backbone of the new fleet will be the two Mistral LHDs acquired from France. The vessel can carry up to 16 attack helicopters, 70 combat vehicles (including 17 main battle tanks) and approximately 450 marines. The vessel has a length overall (LOA) of 199 meters, a beam of 32 meters, a displacement of 22,000 tons and a cruising speed of 19 knots.

Since his inauguration, the government of el-Sisi began an ambitious plan to expand the power and scope of the capabilities of the nation’s navy. The Mistrals, a FREMM multi-purpose frigate, four Gowind 2500 Class corvettes, and four German made Type 209 diesel electric attack submarines (SSK) are at the heart of this effort. These investments exhibit an increase in coastal patrol and reconnaissance, and a marked focus on anti-submarine warfare (ASW). The FREMM frigate design is the result of a collaboration between DCNS of France and Armaris and Fincantieri of Italy, while the Gowind 2500 is a DCNS design.

Egypt leveraged its cordial and cooperative relations with both the French and Russian governments to reach an agreement to purchase both Mistral class vessels for only $750 million USD. The Egyptian government made the decision to realign its arms acquisitions from arms manufacturers in France and Russia, after relations with the United States became heavily strained after the deposing of Mohamed Morsi in the summer of 2013. The Russian government was pivotal in securing the deal between DCNS and Egypt after the French government refused to honor a contract to deliver the first two “Russian Mistrals”. In the wake of the Ukrainian crisis and the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula, and the resultant EU sanctions regime, France reneged on the legal contract to supply the two vessels and technical support services. The contract amounted to over $1.3 billion USD. Russian shipbuilders are currently working on a number of LHD designs to replace the Mistrals.

In fact, the Egyptian Navy requires the active support of the Russian Navy to properly learn how to use the Mistrals, as they were built to specific Russian standards, for use by Russian crews. If Egypt were to remove all of the Russian tailored systems from the vessels, the cost and extent of the refit would render the vessels useless for all practical purposes. Russia did not agree to help Egypt remove such systems, yet has agreed to sell Egypt a full complement of the Ka-52K naval attack helicopters that were originally designed to be used on the ships. The contract to build and deliver the Ka-52k helicopters includes maintenance and technical support.

© Photo: Russian Defense Ministry

In turn, the Egyptian Navy will allow Russian naval architects and technical personnel full access to the vessels in support of Russian efforts in designing and producing indigenous vessels of a similar pattern. Thus, Egypt and Russia have joined in a strategic partnership that will aid both in achieving the goal of strengthening the naval capabilities of their respective nations.

Why Purchase the Mistrals?

Why did the Egyptian leadership decide to purchase two large and complex vessels, a type that the nation’s navy has no technical or practical experience operating, especially considering that they were tailor made for the Russian Navy? On the surface the decision seems quite perplexing. As stated earlier, both Egyptian and Russian strategic interests must be considered in formulating a rational explanation for such a substantial national defense investment.

Click to see the full-size image

The recent discoveries of substantial natural gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea within Egypt’s  exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and the desire to secure these assets, especially considering they lay between the EEZs of Egypt and Turkey, offers one insight into strengthening of Egypt’s naval power projection capabilities. Egypt was forced to negotiate a maritime demarcation agreement with both Cyprus and Greece to avoid future disputes over the rights to the natural gas, and a number of cooperative commercial agreements were signed regarding any future energy extraction endeavors.

The ongoing crisis in Libya, and the substantial support on the part of Egypt for the Libyan National Army in its fight against non-state actors and terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS, may one day lead to an Egyptian military intervention in Libya to preserve Egypt’s national security interests in safeguarding the country’s western border and preventing radical groups from obtaining a foothold there. Another essential reason behind the expansion of the Egyptian Navy, which explains the European support for it, is the current flow of migrants from North Africa. The EU wants to work with Egypt in a similar fashion to how it has dealt with Turkey, to limit the flow of migrants from Libya by sea. The EU would like a strong Egyptian naval presence in the southern Mediterranean to interdict migrant trafficking and to possibly play a role in returning migrants back to North Africa. In such a way, a strong Egyptian Navy will play a stabilizing factor for Europe.

Strategic Importance of the Horn of Africa

The Horn of Africa is a key geographical region in controlling world maritime trade. It lies near an important global trade route, positioned at the nexus of the Strait of Aden (the southern approach to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal), the Strait of Hormuz, and their openings to the Indian Ocean. This region witnessed growing importance and military conflict in the 1980s and early 1990s, between the proxies of the USSR and the United States. The Somali strongman, President Mohamed Siad Barre, first worked with the Soviet Union in maintaining power, yet switched sides in the late 1970s to find the United States a more than willing sponsor. Siad Barre was deposed in the early 1990s when the nation was wracked with internal conflict and a number of warring factions vied for control. The power vacuum left by the breakup of the Siad dictatorship has yet to be filled, and the resulting failed state has become a haven for many Islamic terrorist groups and crime organizations that rely on kidnapping, extortion and piracy.

Click to see the full-size image

The current state of affairs in Somalia and its destabilizing influence on the strategically important Horn of Africa, has forced both regional and global powers to establish a foothold in the region to protect their interests. The United States, Saudi Arabia, France, China and the United Arab Emirates have all established naval bases in the area. The United States operates the largest military base in Djibouti, Camp Lemmonier, with approximately 4000 personnel assigned to the base.

The Iranian-Saudi tensions in the area, with Iran allegedly transporting weapons and ammunition to the Houthi Saleh alliance via the maritime route and Saudi Arabian naval vessels supporting the pro-Hadi coalition, have increased since the latter’s intervention in Yemen since March of 2015. Additionally, growing tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia started with Ethiopia’s construction of the Renaissance dam. The dam will reduce the supply of water from the Nile River to Egypt, and may very well lead to a humanitarian crisis in the country.

It is obvious that the current Egyptian authorities want to play a more definitive role in shaping regional and global policies effecting the region. The possession of the two Mistrals and their future use in the region will undoubtedly strengthen Egypt’s political position in dealing with global powers such as the United States, Russia and the E.U., and will restore Egypt to its traditional influential role in the region, especially considering a president that is seen as more friendly to Egypt, Donald Trump, became president in January, 2017.

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Catégories: Defence`s Feeds

Syrian War Report – May 8, 2017: Govt Forces Prepare For Large Operation In Desert Syria

lun, 08/05/2017 - 17:01
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The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies are shifting the focus of their military operations following the implementation of the safe zones agreement signed in Astana.

In the eastern Homs countryside, government forces recaptured a number of high points from ISIS terrorists, including the Al-Madraj hill. This advance contributes to a larger government effort aimed at securing the area north of the Tiyas Military Airbase, including the road to Salamiyah. In case of a success, this should allow the Syrian military to shorten a frontline in the area and to improve security of the Ithriyah-Aleppo road, the only government supply line to Aleppo city.

Meanwhile, reports appeared that government forces are going to resume operations against ISIS in the eastern part of the Aleppo province, aiming the Jirah Military Airbase. If the airbase is liberated, the strategic town of Maskaneh will become the next target of the advance.

Earlier it was revealed that the Tiger Forces and the Qalamoun Shield Forces were being redeployed from the province of Hama to other frontlines in order to increase the government forces capabilities in a battle against ISIS on other frontlines. The activity of another elite unit, the Desert Hawks Brgiade, was also reported along the road linking up Palmyra and the Tiyas Airbase.

All these operations and efforts should set a foothold for a widely expected government advance against ISIS along the Palmyra-Dier Ezzor road. Thus, the town of al-Sukhnah will be a mid-term goal of the government operation. This attack will likely be synchronized with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) push towards the ISIS stronghold of Raqqah.

Now, the SDF is still struggling to push ISIS terrorists out from the town of Tabqah and the nearby dam.
South of al-Qaryatayn, the SAA advanced in the area east of the al-Seen Military Airbase, according both pro-government and pro-militant sources. Pro-government fighters reportedly captured al-Sabab Biyar and reached the Zaza Checkpoint. Thus, the SAA cut off one of the important roads that could be used by militants to link up their territory in the Syrian desert with the Qalamoun pocket.

Clashes between government forces and of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham(HTS)-led militant coalition continued in northern Hama countryside despite the safe zones agreement. Last weekend, the SAA and its allies captured Al-Zallaqiyat village and the nearby hill. However, clashes north of Zallaqiyat continued until Monday.

Meanhile, Jaish al-Izza destroyed a BMP-1 in Al-Zallaqiyat and targeted two gatherings of Syrian soldiers using US-made TOW anti-tank guided missiles. Airstrikes and artillery strikes were reported in Lataminah, Morek, Kafrzita, Al Bweida and Lahaya.

HTS (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) is a widely recognized terrorist group. It as well as ISIS and other al-Qaeda-linked terrorists are excluding from the ceasefire. Now, HTS forces are operating in northern Hama alongside with Ahrar al-Sham, Jaish al-Izza and smaller units from other militant groups. Thus, the northern Hama countryside will remain a point of tensions despite efforts to implement cessation of hostilities in the province of Idlib and in the nearby areas.

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Catégories: Defence`s Feeds

Trump Accuses Sally Yates Of Leaking “Classified Information Into The Newspapers”

lun, 08/05/2017 - 15:27

Sally Yates

Originally appeared at ZeroHedge

Later today at 2:30PM EST, former Acting Attorney General  Sally Yates and Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to answer more questions about “Russian Interference in the 2016 United States Election.”  As it turns out, President Trump has a couple of suggested additions to the question list for Ms. Yates, which he decided to share this morning over Twitter.

“Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Council.”

Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Council.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2017

Yates, who was fired by Trump after her refusal to back his controversial immigration order (see “Trump Fires Acting Attorney General Yates For “Betrayal“), is expected to give her account of the warnings she gave to the White House regarding former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s contacts with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

Yates reportedly told the White House that Flynn might have misled the administration about the content of his communications with Sergey Kislyak.  Which, of course, turned out to be true and resulted in Trump also firing Flynn in February after reports he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials were confirmed.

Of course, Trump seems to be more worried about what Yates said after she offered up her warning to the White House…

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Catégories: Defence`s Feeds

Up To 5,000 Chinese Uighurs Fighting In Militant Groups In Syria

lun, 08/05/2017 - 14:54

Photo allegedly shows Uighur militants fighting in Syria. (Photo: Twitter)

Up to 5,000 ethnic Uighurs from China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region are now fighting in various militant groups in Syria, the Syrian ambassador to China said on Monday, according to Reuters.

“Our estimated numbers, because of the numbers we fight against, we kill, we capture, we wound, would be around 4-5,000 Xinjiang jihadists,” Reuters quoted Imad Moustapha as saying. “China as well as every other country should be extremely concerned.”

According to Moustapha, some of the Uighurs were operating in Syria sa a part of ISIS. However, their majority was fighting “under their own banner” to promote their separatist cause.

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Catégories: Defence`s Feeds

Turkish Military Discovered Large PKK Ammunition Depot In Sirnak Province

lun, 08/05/2017 - 13:58

FILE IMAGE: AFP 2017/ OZAN KOSE

The Turkish military has seized a large ammunition depot belonging to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the province of Sirnak in the southeastern part of the country, the Turkish media reported on Monday.

Turkish forces captured some “200 AK-47 long-barreled assault rifles, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and a huge cache of other weapons and explosives,” the Daily Sabah daily reported citing military sources.

The depot was located in 25 different caves in the Incebel mountains. Pro-Turkish sources describe it as a largest-ever PKK weapons depot seized by security forces.

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Catégories: Defence`s Feeds

Syrian Army Advanced Into Militant-held Area West Of al-Seen Military Airbase

lun, 08/05/2017 - 13:21

The Syrian Army and the National Defense Forces (NDF) have advanced against Western-backed militants in the area east of the al-Seen Military Airbase. Pro-government fighters have captured al-Sabab Biyar and the Zaza Checkpoint.

Thus, the army and the NDF cut off one of the important roads that could be used by militants to link up their territory in the Syrian desert with the Qalamoun pocket.

Click to see the full-size map

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Catégories: Defence`s Feeds

Military Situation In Iraq On May 8, 2017 (Map Update)

lun, 08/05/2017 - 12:59

This map provides a general look at the military situation in Iraq on May 8, 2017.

Click to see the full-size image

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Catégories: Defence`s Feeds

Syrian Army Clashing with ISIS in Northeastern Homs

mer, 28/09/2016 - 11:20

On September 28, the Syrian army and the National Defense Forces (NDF) launched an offensive on the ISIS terrorist group positions in the northeastern part of Homs province. The loyalists reportedly seized the Al-Sawwanah Hill and the surrounding areas. Clashes are ongoing near the Al-Sha`ar gas field.

Pro-government sources argue that this is a “big advance.” However, this is not likely. The Syrian government just does not have enough manpower for intense operations at 3 frontlines, simultaneously. Full-scale military operations have been already ongoing in the provinces of Aleppo and Hama.

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Catégories: Defence`s Feeds

Russia’s Responses to NATO Expansionism

mer, 28/09/2016 - 11:08
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The video originally appeared at SouthFront in June 2016

Coping with NATO’s recent aggressive behavior has been unquestionably the most important issue on the Russian foreign policy agenda, an issue around which all other issues revolve. Considering that NATO is a military alliance, Russia’s responses have necessarily been military in nature so as to find a way out of the current crisis in a way consistent with Russia’s national interests.

From Moscow’s perspective, the relationship with NATO can take one of five forms, in reverse order of desirability:

  1. Hot, “shooting” war.
  2. Post-“color revolution” Russia as a raw materials colony of the West, deprived of its sovereignty, industry, and great power status.
  3. Another “cold war” accompanied by hybrid conflicts, covert warfare, proxy struggles, arms races, and military forward deployments.
  4. Armed neutrality, in which Russia and NATO delineate and respect their corresponding spheres of influence and have no further interaction, for better or worse.
  5. Partnership in resolving global problems.

Needless to say, at the moment the Russia-NATO relationship is close to the “cold war” stage as a result of the Kiev coup d’etat and “color revolutions” being promoted not just against Russia’s allies and neighbors but also against Russia itself. Since the idea of a Russia-NATO partnership seems inconceivable at the moment, and will remain so for as long as the Obama/Cameron/Merkel/Erdogan/Hollande crew is calling the shots in NATO (though that situation could radically change in the next several years, due to term limits, electoral challenges, and all-round unpopularity), the goal of Russia’s policy has been to ratchet the tension down to the level of “armed neutrality” while at the same time preparing for the worst–a “hot war”. Already the ancient Romans knew that “si vis pacem, para bellum”–if you wish peace, prepare for war. Which means that Russia’s military responses have centered at establishing a credible deterrence posture while at the same time signalling the readiness to ratchet down the level of military confrontation. It is not an easy task–one of the lessons of the late 1940s is that responses to crises at hand which are intended to be temporary can quickly become permanent and lock succeeding leaders and administrations into the confrontation which is then passed on, as it were, from generation to generation.

Russian actions also indicate that NATO is not viewed as a unitary actor, which indeed it is not. There is the US, there is also Germany and France, there is Poland and the Baltics, and of course there is Turkey. Each of those sets of countries represents a faction within NATO with its all interests and the ability to pursue them independently of the rest of NATO. It would be a mistake to believe that Warsaw, Ankara, Berlin, Paris, etc.,  all take their orders from Washington. Nevertheless, they do have a certain commonality of interests, for otherwise NATO would have long fallen apart. In regards to Russia, the structure of preferences looks something like this, again, in reverse order of preferability:

  1. Hot, “shooting” war.
  2. Another “cold war” accompanied by hybrid conflicts, covert warfare, proxy struggles, arms races, and military forward deployments.
  3. Partnership in resolving global problems.
  4. Armed neutrality, in which Russia and NATO delineate and respect their corresponding spheres of influence and have no further interaction, for better or worse.
  5. Post “color revolution” Russia as a raw materials colony of the West, deprived of its sovereignty, industry, and great power status.

The current predatory model of capitalism that the West is pursuing means the West’s priorities at the moment are quite incompatible with that of Russia. . Western regime change policies are driven by economic imperialism, pure and simple, though nicely disguised as “globalization”. It is simply colonialism through indirect, local rule, whose aim is to yield economic benefits to the Western powers at the expense of the “neo-colonies”. It means that, fortunately, Western powers are leery of another prolonged “cold war” because of the sheer expense that would be associated with it. Therefore if Russia is to persuade the West that “armed neutrality” is actually desirable, it has to show the ability to engage in a prolonged “cold war” and even a “shooting war” if need be, while at the same time demonstrating its resilience against “color revolutions”. It is admittedly debatable whether armed neutrality is preferable to partnership, from NATO’s perspective. It would appear the West is opposed to cooperation with Russia on matters like international terrorism simply because the West doesn’t view terrorism as the problem. If anything, Russia’s participation in resolving the problem would mean Western “spoils of war” would be greatly reduced. We have seen the West’s twisted priorities in action in Syria, after all.

Given the problem at hand, the various and disparate military measures undertaken by the Russian Federation in the last couple of years that have been chronicled in various issues of the Russia Defense Report should be viewed as pieces of a larger puzzle.

Thus the creation of the Russian Guard is intended to show the West that “color revolution” strategies are bound to fail when used against Russia. Re-establishing Ground Forces’ divisions and even Tank Armies, in addition to the Airborne Forces’ expansion, sends a message to the Baltic States and Poland plus any NATO countries contemplating establishing military presence in these countries  that there is no way NATO can attain conventional superiority over Russia in that part of the world. Potential deployments of Iskander and Kalibr missiles to Kaliningrad and Crimea sends a message to NATO countries further afield, including Germany, France, and Turkey, that they can’t count on staying above the fray–the long arm of Russia’s conventional deterrence can reach them too.  Finally, the US is being put on notice that any effort to undermine Russia’s nuclear deterrent will face a multifaceted response of targeting anti-ballistic missile sites and deploying new ICBMs and SLBMs that can overcome and/or bypass US missile defenses.

Is this approach, now at least two years in the offing, working? It is too early to say, though the upcoming Warsaw NATO summit will no doubt shed some light on NATO preferences. For now, the apparent unwillingness to commit to permanent troop basing in Eastern Europe and favoring troop rotations instead (which will no doubt prove very onerous for the thinly stretched, demoralized, and underfunded NATO land forces that have not recovered from the Afghanistan and Iraq debacles) suggests that the “armed neutrality” is at least being considered in NATO high councils. On the other hand, should the West’s apparently terminal economic crisis take a turn to the worse, there is no telling what NATO might do in desperation. For that reason, one should not expect anything better than Russia-NATO “armed neutrality” for many years to come, until the West adopts a more sustainable economic model that is not dependent on constant aggression.

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Catégories: Defence`s Feeds

Ukraine Lost All Soviet Mortars in Donbass

mer, 28/09/2016 - 10:57

The Ukrainian Army has received about 200 pieces of the Molot mortar launchers since the country lost all Soviet mortars during the hostilities in eastern Ukraine.

M120-15 Molot mortar launcher (Photo: na.mil.gov.ua)

About 200 pieces of the Molot mortar launchers of the local production have already entered service of the Ukrainian Army, the Interfax news agency reported, citing Chief of the Weapons of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Major General Nikolai Shevtsov. Practically the entire arsenal of mortars, which remained in the country since the times of the Soviet Union, was destroyed during the hostilities in eastern Ukraine.

“Practically the entire arsenal of mortars was lost during the hostilities. Military units that started to restore the combat capability at landfills have mortars, which have exhausted its resources. Therefore, there is such hurry in production and purchase of mortars,” Shevtsov said.

“As of today, troops have received about 200 mortars, produced at the Mayak plant. Its further delivery is expected. But we will not voice absolute figures for obvious reasons. The mortars enter the Ukrainian Army and are already being used on the front line,” he stressed.

Earlier, in July, Ukrainian military said that they are not satisfied with the quality of the M120-15 Molot mortar launchers, provided to the army for testing. According to the military, cosmoliners had some problems with the vertical mechanisms and couldn’t change the angle of the laying for range. Militaries also had claims to the quality of the metal. Two months after the start of the using of the launchers, its tubes had started to rust. The paint had started to peel off and erase.

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Catégories: Defence`s Feeds

Overvew of Military Situation in Aleppo City on September 28

mer, 28/09/2016 - 09:11

Click to see the full-size map

On September 28, the Syrian army, the National Defense Forces (NDF), Hezbollah and Liwaa Al-Quds (a Paletsinian pro-government militia), supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Syrian Arab Air Force, officially launched a full-scale military operation in order to liberate the militant-controlled eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo city.

Indeed, military operations of the Syrian government forces in Aleppo city started much earlier. On September 25, the  army, the NDF and Hezbollah entered the Sheikh Sa’eed Neighborhood and advanced along the road leading to the Hajj roundabout in eastern Aleppo.

TIP: Some readers have aksed why the fuel depot is shown as a militant-controlled area. The answer is the loyalists withdrew from there during the ceasefire.

However, September 28 was the official start of the full-scale operation in the city. It started after five days of intense air and artillery strikes on militant targets in the besieged areas. Local sources also reported that Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra or al-Nusra Front) and its allies had almost now manpower reserves in eastern Aleppo.

Click to see the full-size map

The government forces started advance in the Old Quarter towards the Farafra Neighborhood and from the Aleppo Citadel area towards the Bab Al-Nayrab District. Hour after the start of the advance, the Syrian army and Hezbollah took control of the Farafra Neighborhood adn engaged militants in heavy clashes in the Bab Al-Nayrab District.

By September 28, the loyalists have fully secured the Farafira Neighborhood, the area northwest of the Aleppo Citadel and Osama Bin Zaid Mosque. The government forces have also advanced in the al-‘Amiriyah neighbourhood. However, there are no confirmed reports from the area. The army and Liwaa Al-Quds also attacked the Handarat refugee camp in northern Aleppo. The loyalists entered the camp after securing the Shaher area.

We recall some 8,000 fighters of various Iranian-backed militas had been deployed in the area of Aleppo city prior to the advance.

Click to see the full-size map

Amid clashes in Aleppo, Moscow confirmed that it will continue to support efforts of the Syrian government against terrorists despite the displeasure of the United States by these actions. In turn, Washington de-facto announced that some MANPADs may be supplied to the so-called “Syrian opposition” (Jabhat al-Nusra & co).

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Catégories: Defence`s Feeds

Government Forces Counter Attack on Al-Nusra, Jund al-Aqsa & Co in Northern Hama

mer, 28/09/2016 - 07:15

The Syrian government forces, led by the Tiger Forces, have launched a counter-attack against Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra), Jund al-Aqsa (a terrorist group with links to Al Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra) and the Free Syrian Army in the northern part of Hama province where the joint terrorist forces seized few sites yesterday.

The loyalists have entered the villages of Talisiyah and Sha`tha controlled by terrorists and engaged the terrorist alliance in the area of Ma’ardas. Clashes have been also ongoing in the areas east of Sha`tha.

Click to see the full-size map

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Catégories: Defence`s Feeds

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