The beginning of June has been allocated to be the “zero hour” for the Syrian regime and his Russian ally, on one hand, and the “Syrian Democratic” forces, US-backed, on the other hand, to launch two separate military operations targeting the “Islamic State” organization, with the first operation heading towards Al-Raqqa city, east of Syria, and the second one towards Manbij city, in the eastern countryside of Aleppo.
Printed Edition ‖ No.: 227
Less than a month to the launch of the two battles, the field findings clearly show that Al-Raqqa battle failed miserably, it actually ended where it started, while the Manbij battle is almost over with the entrance of the participating forces the largest city entrance of the organization in Aleppo.
World poles engage in proxy battles
The accurate characterization of the US-Russian condition is not a strategic alliance. The strive to eliminate “Daash” in Syria is rather a rivalry and competitive condition clearly reflected in the beginning of June, where two battles targeting the organization were launched at the same time, with a wide ambition reflected by the Russian to storm the organization’s capital, and a more disciplined tactic proved by the Americans and their allies in Manbij.
If you carefully examine the US-Russian statements post-launching the two operations, you will recognize the caution practiced by the two sides, out of fear of air or land clashes, in case Assad’s forces succeeded in penetrating into the province, in addition to a mutual welcoming of the attack against “Daash”, which is in fact no more than a tactic and anticipation of the battles’ outcomes.
In Al-Raqqa battle, Russia has offered “logistic” air and land support, in addition to training and arming militias established by them, such as; “Desert Falcons” and “Seals”, all of which media-covered, in a way that was not covered by the regime’s official media or the pro-regime media.
Americans, on the other hand, have formerly adopted the formation of “Democratic Syria” forces last year, and provided all kinds of support to this formation, considered by observers the first nucleus to a future federalization of northern Syria. US liaison officers directed Manbij battle, alongside “commandos” soldiers stationed on the rear lines.
Moscow loses Al-Raqqa bet
Assad’s forces, backed by Russia, have made an unanticipated progress (on media and military levels) in the province of Raqqa in a record time, no more than two weeks. The forces’ vanguards reached the outskirts of Tabqa military airport and controlled several villages, towns and oil fields in the southern countryside.
The battle commenced starting from Atharya area in the eastern countryside of Hama, adjacent to the administrative borders of Al-Raqqa province. A number of local and foreign militias participated in the battle alongside the regular army, including; “Desert Falcons, seals, Whirlwind Eagles, National defense and the Lebanese Hezbollah”, with an intensive Russian air coverage, as well as the presence of officers and Russian liaison officers on land.
Starting 20th of June, the “Islamic State” organization spearheaded an opposite offensive in the southern countryside of Al-Raqqa, after Assad’s forces proceeded around 40 kilometers, reaching the archaeological city of Ar-Rassafa and the outskirts of Tabqa military airport, and was able to defeat the attacking forces, regain all the lost areas in the province and drive out the regime and his allies all together.
Recent field reports indicate that the “State” organization is engaged in fierce fighting against Assad’s forces and his allies in the area of Atharya in the eastern countryside of Hama, in an attempt to control the hills dominating the area, which demonstrates the failure of the battle promoted by Russia and the regime under the name of “liberating Al-Raqqa”, following a tremendous human loss, considered the largest, of the Syrian regime during this year.
“Depths” agency of the organization confirmed the number of deaths among Assad’s forces and reserve militias to exceed 400 fighters, including a senior officer of a brigade rank, mourned indeed through pro-pages, as well as announcing the deaths of 3 Russian soldiers posting many photos of them, which is something Moscow has denied at once.
The disappointing results of the regime and the incubating environment were reflected over the social networking sites, where the pro-regime accused Russia of ceasing their support and air force coverage to Assad’s forces during the counter-attack of the “State” organization, which was also reported by opposing activists, confirming the sky-void of Russian aviation during the regime’s withdrawal from Al-Raqqa.
Washington is in raptures in Manbij
Forces, backed by the US, have made a tangible success till the moment in Manbij. Starting early June, they were able to decrease the organization’s influence in the region, which is around 4 thousand hectares, then imposing siege on the organization through the control of its supply roads from four directions, up to entering the city a few days ago through its western gate.
Observers attribute the Americans’ success to a disciplined tactic they adopted since they changed their destination from Al-Raqqa to Manbij. Despite the importance of Al-Raqqa, being the organization’s capital, however, Manbij is no less important than Al-Raqqa, being a connecting link between east of the Euphrates river and its west, thus between the provinces of Al-Raqqa and Deir Ez-Zour and that of Aleppo.
Three essential pillars were the succeeding factors of the battle, firstly was the discipline of the forces consisting of only two main formations; (Democratic Syria forces and the Military Council in Manbij), in addition to the aircraft and logistic support provided by the US and the International coalition, and finally the masterful plan that drained the organization’s fighters from the four sides all the way to besieging them.
Manbij battle is almost over, since the attacking forces have entered the city through the “book’s roundabout” area in the western side, on June 23rd, to begin street fighting causing human causalities on both sides, with fear for the civilians trapped inside.
Controlling Manbij and securing the supply lines’ cut from the organization’s fighters between Aleppo and the Eastern area, will move the battle to the next phase, which is Al-Raqqa, especially that the “Democratic Syria” fighters, as well as, the Americans are still prepared in the north, something that the US Department of Defense (Pentagon) has explicitly confirmed, stating that Al-Raqqa is the next destination, amid information of establishing a US military base in the town of Ein Issa in an anticipation of the expected attack.
Russia lost Al-Raqqa battle, which was not ideal like that of Palmyra two months ago, amid possible retreat off attacking the province from the Southern desert side, while the US and its local factions are getting prepared to be a more efficient and disciplined alternative, in order to control the province (the organization’s Capital) from the north, which was described by military analysts as a “wise decision” rather than a “Russian foolishness”.