Home   Bookmark and Share
Syria: Government Liberates Aleppo - In Revenge(?) ISIS Retakes Palmyra

By Moon Of Alabama

December 12, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "Moon Of Alabama" -The assault by Syrian government forces and its allies on Takfiri forces in east-Aleppo continues. Yesterday the heavily fortified Sheikh Saeed quarter was taken in addition to Karam Da`da`, Ferdous, Bab al Maqam and Jallum. The al-Qaeda led terrorists are down to some 5 square kilometer, five city quarters, roughly 2% of the area they held when the siege on them started. They may give up today or tomorrow. Huge amounts of foreign ammunition, food and medicines were found in the quarters the Takfiris retreated from.


The U.S. has given up on any relief mission for them. U.S. Secretary of State Kerry is down to begging the Russians to let some of his friends escape: Kerry urges Russia to ‘show a little grace’ and allow Aleppo evacuation.

Winning back the economic capital of the country, a city which the Turkish wannabe-Sultan Erdogan wanted to capture and incorporate into his neo-Ottoman empire, is the biggest victory the Syrian government achieved in this war. The whole area retaken in and around Aleppo is some 18,000 square kilometers - that is a larger area than the whole countries of Qatar or Lebanon.

There were discussions between Syria and its allies from Russia, Iran and Lebanon on how to proceed from here. It was decided to set a priority in the west towards the al-Qaeda occupied Idleb instead of the mostly ISIS occupied east-Syria. A two front war in the west and east would be too risky and require additional forces that are not (yet) available. Two reasons for this decision are the economic importance of Idleb governate and the continuity of the government held western part of "useful Syria". There are other forces, Turkish, Kurdish and some Arab U.S. proxies, that have declared war on ISIS and shall bleed to eradicate it in the east.

Accordingly a tacit deal was found with Turkey. It would be allowed to take al-Bab, east of Aleppo and to march on towards Raqqa from there. In exchange it would refrain from supporting al-Qaeda and aligned forces in and around Idleb in the west. Those forces would still have clandestine support from the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others. It is somewhat questionable if the rather unreliable Erdogan will stick to the deal but that risk has been taken.

The general risk of setting the priority in the west is a festering of a U.S. occupation of Syria's east. The U.S. just deployed an additional 200 special forces there to bring the total up to acknowledged 500. There are also some French and other special forces in the area. They are building several small military airfields and hire anyone they can find in that area to, allegedly, fight ISIS. This looks much like the construction of a "Salafist principality" in east-Syria and west-Iraq without the ISIS label. Gulf countries' and Zionists' lobbyists have called for such an occupation strategy of Upper Mesopotamia. A U.S./Saudi controlled proxy entity that interrupts the "Shia crescent" from Iran over Iraq and Syria to Lebanon and holds the ground for a planned natural gas pipeline from Qatar to Turkey and onto Europe.

The Russian and Syrian hope may be that a Trump administration will abandon such imperial nonsense.

Since December 5 probing attacks of ISIS around the larger area of east-Homs governate and Palmyra were registered. But the priority of the Syrian government was, rightly so, on east-Aleppo. Palmyra was held by a Syrian army contingent in large company size and by a few companies of little trained National Defense Forces - way too few to defend a rather large area against a sizable and determined attack.

Last Friday ISIS attacked Palmyra with several hundred fighters, heavy artillery and tanks. Multiple suicide Vehicle Based IEDs penetrated the NDF defense lines around Palmyra. A large ISIS attack on Saturday was repulsed by over 60 Russian air attacks. Major news agencies falsely reported that ISIS had taken the center of Palmyra based solely on "activists in Turkey" claims. Only a renewed ISIS attack on Sunday proved to be too much for the thin defense forces. At noon the decision was taken to avoid further losses and to retreat from the city towards the south and the west. Palmyra and the surrounding areas fell again to ISIS.

The attackers are thought to have come from Deir Ezzor, where a Syrian government force surrounded by ISIS recently had a few quiet days. They fighters most likely did not recently come from Mosul in Iraq. Several military sources said the attackers were superbly organized, well led and had excellent intelligence.

Reinforcements for the Syrian army have arrived in the area and the Russian deputy foreign minister promised to retake the city from ISIS. The reinforcements may be enough to stop the current ISIS advance. But the priority is Aleppo and an immediate successful counterattack on Palmyra is not likely.

How does this ISIS attack fit into the bigger picture?

Map by Fabrice Balanche - Status November 2016 - Palmyra is below the lower center-left of the map frame - bigger

ISIS is under attack in Iraq in Mosul and the areas west of it. U.S. proxy forces, mostly Kurdish YPG fighters, attack the surroundings of the ISIS held city of Raqqa. Turkish proxy forces, including some units from the terrorist group Ahrar al-Sham, attack ISIS in al-Bab north-west of Raqqa and east of Aleppo. U.S. drones and attack planes are constantly flying over all ISIS held territory in east-Syria.

How come ISIS has the considerable resources available to now attack Palmyra, far away from the critical points further north where it is heavily attacked? Where did the necessary ammunition and money come from? Why attack now?

U.S. Central Command, the imperial headquarter in the Middle East, announced on December 9 that it had just bombed 168 ISIS tanker trucks near Palmyra. (CentCom is huge. There are 58,000 U.S. troops plus 42,000 U.S. military contractors under CentCom command in the Middle East.) That CentCom claim sounded very dubious to me and I was not the only one to disregard it as nonsense:

The Inside Source - @InsideSourceInt
> #Syria // #Palmyra // US claims of destroying 160 ISIS oil trucks in Syria are seemingly false from what we've heard.
3:46 AM - 10 Dec 2016

The video accompanying the CentCom claim showed bomb hits on only three tanker trucks and some four fixed targets. Nothing like the claimed large scale attack. It is questionable that so many tanker trucks, most were bombed over the last year, would assemble in one area. And why would they be near the then front line with Syrian forces in Palmyra? Why would the U.S. hit them there and not on their way coming or going to wherever? How come no one else, no opposition outlet and no agency, reported such a large attack?

This emphasis on "look we are hitting ISIS around Palmyra" by CentCom is suspicious. The U.S. did see tanker trucks but the hundreds of ISIS forces with heavy equipment, including tanks, preparing for their assault on the city were invisible? This under an airspace that is practically controlled by the U.S. and its allies?

This smells of a "revenge" attack ordered up by the U.S. or its Gulf allies for the Syrian and Russian taking of Aleppo. A demonstration that the early victory of Russia in Palmyra was ephemeral. A propaganda defeat of Russia covering the real defeat of U.S. supported Takfiris in east-Aleppo.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Information Clearing House editorial policy.

Click for Spanish, German, Dutch, Danish, French, translation- Note- Translation may take a moment to load.

 Please read our  Comment Policy before posting -
It is unacceptable to slander, smear or engage in personal attacks on authors of articles posted on ICH.
Those engaging in that behavior will be banned from the comment section.



In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Information Clearing House has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Information ClearingHouse endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

Privacy Statement