Al-Qaeda's "Very Different Track" Attack On Aleppo
By Moon Of Alabama
Early May U.S.
Secretary of State Kerry
set a deadline for "voluntary" regime change in
“the target date for the transition is 1st of
August” in Syria or else the Assad government
and its allies “are asking for a very
different track.” Hoping that
“something happens in these next few months,” he
said the political transition would not include
President Assad because “as long as Assad is
there, the opposition is not going to stop
Kerry made those remarks after meeting with the
UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura
and Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.
They agreed to establish a monitoring ceasefire
center in Geneva, Switzerland, ...
By the time
of that statement al-Qaeda in Syria and U.S.
supported insurgents had already
broken the February ceasefire announced by
Russia and attacked Syrian government positions in
the rural area south of Aleppo city.
Negotiations since May between Russia and the U.S.
over Syria have not led to any tangible results. In
retrospect the U.S. tactic seems to have been
willful delay. The U.S. made some
laughable offer to Russia and Syria to
effectively accept defeat in exchange for common
attacks on al-Qaeda. This was rejected without much
attack on the government held Aleppo by al-Qaeda in
Syria (aka Jabhat al Nusra aka Fateh al Scam) was
launched on August 1st. With up to 10,000 insurgents
participating the attack was unprecedented in size.
August 1st is exactly the same date Kerry had set as
starting date for "a very different track".
This is likely not a random coincidence.
Despite the very large size of the "Great
Battle of Aleppo" and its possibly decisive
character for the war neither the New York Times nor
the Washington Post has so far reported on it.
had long prepared for an escalation and extension of
the war on Syria. In December and January ships
under U.S. control
transported at least 3,000 tons of old weapons
and ammunition from Bulgaria to Turkey and Jordan.
These came atop of hundreds of tons of weapons
from Montenegro transported via air to Saudi
Arabia and other Gulf states. According to the
renown Janes Defense military intelligence
Bulgarian weapons ended up in Syria where the
Syrian army confiscated some of them from al-Qaeda
and U.S. supported insurgents.
ceasefire and negotiations with Russia, the U.S. and
its allies continued to arm and support their
proxies in Syria even as those were intimately
coordinating and integrating with al-Qaeda. The U.S.
does not consider these groups to be terrorists, no
matter with whom they associate or whatever they do.
Even when such a group
beheads a 12 year old, sick child in front of
running cameras the U.S. State Department continues
to support them and
opines that "one incident here and there
would not necessarily make you a terrorist group."
since April that large amounts of weapons and men
were crossing from Turkey to Syria:
al-Nusra terrorist group (outlawed in Russia) in
Syria is planning a major offensive with the aim
to cut the road between Aleppo and Damascus, the
chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the
Russian General Staff, Sergey Rudskoy, has said.
"According to the information we have, about
8,000 Jabhat al-Nusra militants have
concentrated to the southwest of Aleppo; up to
1,500 militants have gathered to the north of
the city," Rudskoi said.
al-Nusra spokesperson claimed that the attack on
was planned for "several month". The U.S.-Saudi
weapon supplies at the beginning of the year and the
Russian observed deployment of forces in April were
likely in preparation of the current attack on
Aleppo. Kerry's "very different track"
remark fits right into these. But the large "very
different track" attack failed.
started on Sunday and by Monday the 2nd the
insurgents (green areas) managed to break Syrian
government (red) defenses at the south-western
border of Aleppo city. The plan was to break through
roughly along the black line. Several vehicle based
suicide attacks breached the Syrian front line. The
insurgents captured the large, unfinished apartment
project 1070 and several hilltop positions. On
Tuesday phase 2 launched when they attempted to take
the Artillery Academy base a few hundred meters
further east. But after intense Syrian and Russian
air strikes and nightly counterattacks nearly all
positions fell back into Syrian government hands.
Despite the failure of their main thrust, al-Qaeda
and its allies launched
a third phase attack towards Ramouseh district a
few hundred meters further north. A tactical mistake
as the attackers failed to build a decisive
Schwerpunkt. A tunnel deployed bomb destroyed parts
of the Syrian army positions in Ramouseh but the
defense line held. The attack was repelled.
Additional break-out attacks by the 2-3,000 fighters
inside the besieged al-Qaeda controlled areas in
east-Aleppo city failed too. Al-Qaeda never managed
to brake the siege of the eastern areas and to
thereby cut off the government held, densely
occupied western areas from their supply route south
fighting still continues on the front lines but the
government positions seem secured and the attacking
force is slowly grind down.
and allies had to deliver their attack from rural
Idleb and Aleppo over open terrain towards the
western Aleppo city borders. Here is where the
Russian airforce and long range artillery
concentrated their fire. As usual in such situations
more attackers were killed on the approaches to the
front line and in forward supply areas than on the
front line itself. A Russian cruise missile even
destroyed (vid) an arms supply storage used by
Jaish al-Islam, the al-Qaeda controlled insurgency
alliance, in Bab al Hawa, Idleb, at the Turkish
border. Several arms convoys on their way towards
Aleppo were destroyed in other airstrikes.
accuse each other of minor gas attacks against
each other civilians. The insurgents started these
as they always do when they lose ground. This time
the Syrian and Russian side immediately responded
with their own claims. It is now he-said she-said -
who can decide? These attacks or reports seem to be
more diversions than serious incidents.
defeat of the third phase of their attack al-Qaeda
and its allies
broke off their original plan of an attack in
six phases and pulled back. In Russian military
doctrine such a situation demands a counterattack
with a wide ranging, strategic pursuit of the
retreating enemy. We may now see a lightning fast
operation in which reserve troops held by the Syrian
government proceed westwards and northwards from
Aleppo under intense air cover.
no current plans on the government side to
capture the insurgent areas in east-Aleppo which are
under government siege. These can wait and their
condition deteriorate before any costly move against
additional Russian attack planes arriving for the
next phase of the conflict have not yet been
together Kerry's "very different track" failed to
achieve the desired aim. The government held Aleppo
city was not cut off from the rest of the government
held areas south of it. The attacking force, the
largest insurgent concentration in this war, suffers
up to 1,000 casualties and a large amount of its
equipment was destroyed. A pursuit might shatter its
Syrian trouble spot Kurdish YPG fighters besiege and
slowly conquer the Islamic State held city of Manbij
in the east. They are supported by U.S. special
forces and intense coalition air attacks. The city
of Manbij is now mostly destroyed. The once 100,000
inhabitants are in dire straits. Up to 200 civilians
fleeing the city
were killed in U.S. air attacks. But as the
operation is U.S. led no "western" humanitarian
organization has lamented their fate.