We are now right on the verge of the final phase in the Syrian civil war. Within the next two weeks, and certainly no later than the end of March, Syria is going to explode into a regional war involving all the current players.
ONE: Russia is now deploying its second shipload of armor to Syria this year. The link is here.
By Andrew Illingworth – 06/03/2018
BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:40 A.M.) – The Russian military is sending another batch of vehicles and heavy weapons to Syria in order to further bolster the Arab republic’s armed forces.
On Monday, observers in the Bosphorus Strait spotted and filmed the Mediterranean-bound journey of a Russian Navy Tapir-class LST (Landing Ship Tank) sealifter.
Identified more specifically as Orsk 148, the naval cargo ship is noted by sources to be inbound to the Syrian port city of Tartus – its second such deployment since the beginning of 2018.
Whilst a number of military trucks were spotted above deck, it is worth noting that the true cargo-carrying capacity of the ship is hidden inside deceptively spacious storage areas within the vessel itself.
Tapir-class LSTs are capable of carrying up to twenty main battle tanks (or 40 infantry fighting vehicles).
TWO: Turkey is now in the final phase, as in the next 3 to 7 days, of storming Afrin itself. The link is here.
“The Turkish strategy is to lay siege to Afrin and to cut off the connection to Nubl and Zahra,” the SDF commander, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Al-Monitor.
Forces loyal to the Syrian regime have reportedly been deployed in support of the YPG from the mainly Shiite villages of Nubl and Zahra. Haberturk, a mainstream news channel, broadcast footage shot from Hatay, on the Turkish side of the border, of Turkish jets bombing Jindires. Large plumes of brown smoke rose from a hilltop that the channel said was near Jindires. Haberturk reported that the purpose of the strikes was to “soften” resistance before Turkish-led ground forces moved into the town itself.
Commentators believe that the battle for Jindires marks a shift from rural to urban warfare in Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch — a move that will prove hugely challenging. Jindires needs to be taken if Turkish-led forces are to close in on Afrin proper. Sedat Ergin, a veteran columnist for Hurriyet, wrote that Jindires “spreads out over a large area … [and] clashes with terrorist groups in a residential area with civilians carry more risks and difficulties than ones in the countryside.”
According to Istanbul-based think tank the Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM), the Turkish “gendarmerie and police special operations units, which are the urban warfare and counterterrorism elite of the Turkish security forces, are being deployed to the areas of operation.” EDAM added that the “use of … civilians as human shield[s]” on behalf of the YPG and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is “highly problematic.”
THREE: KURDISH COMBAT VETERAN FORCES ARE BEING REDEPLOYED FROM BOTH SYRIAN AND US COALITION MISSIONS TO REINFORCE AFRIN. SOME 5,000 KURDISH FIGHTERS ARE NOW INBOUND TO AFRIN OVER THE NEXT WEEK OR SO.
THE LINK IS HERE. AND HERE.
The Kurdish Rudaw news agency quotes Abu Omar al-Idilbi, a spokesman for Arab militias within the Syrian Democratic Forces as saying that 1,700 fighters will be redeployed from Deir el-Zour and other active fronts with IS.
In pictures: 3,500 Rojava fighters graduate, ready to defend Afrin
By Rudaw 2/3/2018
My end of the world e book “Day of the Dogs” will soon be available for sale at smashwords. The url is
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/267340 It is also at the following url