Yesterday, the Syrian Arab Army’s Tiger Forces (Cheetah Forces Team 6) finally managed to liberate Kuweiris Airbase after the area had been besieged for 35 months by the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS).

Currently, Tiger Forces are attempting to thicken the dangerously thin supply line that cuts deep into previously ISIS-held territory; however, this unit is set to be reployed to Hama, leaving the future of this base in the Deir Hafer Plains unknown.

On the southern front, the Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Mechanized Division and Hezbollah have captured approximately 250 square kilometers of territory in just one month of fighting the Islamist opposition fighters.

In the last 48 hours alone, the Syrian Arab Army and Hezbollah have captured 5 villages that are located south of the strategic town of Al-Hader while the Islamist insurgents were only able  to recapture 1 village from the pro-government forces.

Syrian Army and Hezbollah soldiers on this frontline have seen themselves advance to areas which had previously been rebel-held since the summer of 2012.

The next objective is currently unknown; however, there are several possibilities:

The Syrian Arab Army and Hezbollah could continue their march south towards Hama, but a push west  towards the government enclave of Al-Fu’ah Kefraya is most likely the option after seizing the Aleppo-Damascus Highway.

However, there is still 25 km until the army can reach these predominately Shia towns in the Idlib Governorate.

Furthermore, this would also obstruct rebel supply lines on the strategic M-5 highway.

A different maneuver would be to encircle and crush the resistance in Al-Hader while subsequently advancing north towards the strategic city of Khan Touman.

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The city of Aleppo has maintained a largely static frontline since the successful government offensives codenamed “Operation Northern Storm” and “Operation Canopus Star” in 2013 & 2014; these offensives saw the Syrian Army recapture a vast stretch of territory in several areas, including the vital industrial area of Sheikh Najjar.

However. somewhat disappointingly, the SAA has been unable to cut off rebel supply lines that lead to the city; this would have relieved the pressure on the Nubl-Zahraa enclave to the northwest.

 

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Student currently living in Denmark. Special focus on news from Syria, MENA map-making and strategical military analysis.

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Piotr Berman
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Piotr Berman

The offensive toward south-west from Aleppo so far seems to go to “nowhere”, so it seems to simply exploit the fact that the rebels cannot offer stiff resistance, with adequate heavy weapons, in all parts of their front line. One gain is that if they ignore it, the government will eventually cut important supply lines etc., and if they do shift resources from other places, the government will be able to make offensive in pockets like Hader, Qarassi etc. On the level of higher strategy, this offensive involves some new units with inexperienced soldiers, and scoring a very visible success… Read more »