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High-intensity combat continues to rage in the Northern Hama combat sector. As far as can be seen, the localised counterattacks launched by pro-government forces in preceding days – initially for stemming the Jihdaist-Islamist onslaught and buying time for large reserves to move into the area – has now turned into a general counteroffensive which is reversing all the gains made by the terrorist coalition since March 21st.

The first signs of this pro-government offensive became apparent 72 hours ago with the capture of a number of key hilltops and villages which broke militant lines east of Khattab. This included Point 50, Tal Shihah, Tal al-Samsam, Khirbat-Hajamah, Balhasin and Arzeh. In addition to this, the hilltop of Tal Bizam to the southwest of Ma’an was liberated. Control of Tal Bizam in particular brought the M-5 Highway – the main communication line for the terrorist coalition in northern Hama – almost to within fire-control range of line-of-sight weapons systems.

Following the gains west of Qomhana, the pro-government forces maintained their offensive in this direction, going on to storm the town of Khattab as well as the villages of al-Majdal and al-Sheer.

Within hours these areas where liberated from the militant groups and following this the pro-government forces continued a general advance to the north.

In addition securing more territory to the north of al-Majdal and al-Sheer, the pro-government forces also achieved gains north of Khattab, including the liberation of Zur al-Jadid, Zur al-Masaliq and the hilltop of Tall Fuliflah.

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The pro-government counteroffensive in Northern Hama – which for the most part is being led by the Syrian Arab Army’s Tiger Forces – is following an operational model typical of what has been seen in East Aleppo over the last ten weeks with masses of armour and mechanised infantry backed by intensive artillery bombardment and airpower being used to overwhelm Jihdaist-Islamist forces on every given point of contact. Indeed, also like East Aleppo, the terrain of northern Hama with its rolling plains, favours the use of the Deep Battle scheme by the pro-government forces. However to be fair, almost every other conceivable faction aligned to the Syrian Arab Army is also participating in this battle, including the National Defense Forces, Hezbollah and even fighters of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. On another note, it should be conceded that pro-government losses in vehicles and armour have been exceptionally high since the battle began ten days ago, with militant forces making heavy use of anti-tank guided missiles – mostly the US-built TOW system. Indeed, the terrorists have also used these weapons against un-expecting clusters of pro-government troops with painfully devastating results. Overall and on a finishing note, it can now be said that the battle to which pro-government forces are reacting to in Northern Hama is not just a local counter-terrorism operation due the large area it is encompasses and the sheer amount of manpower and heavy weapons which both sides have been forced to commit to the fight and whilst pro-government forces appear to have decisively turned the tide, the full scope of their counteroffensive – albeit very successful so far already – is yet to be seen.

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Stern Daler
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Great coverage. Lets hope the implicit prediction of OZ is right.

If the Qaeda starts running now they will have to run far.

p.s. The conditions for success of Deep Battle strategy are IMHO met. Qaeda will get the same rout now as IS in East Aleppo.
I hope so anyway.

RomeSPQR
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RomeSPQR

Actually, it is different and more difficult than in east of Aleppo. The rebels were completely surrounded in east of Aleppo for some months. As for Idlib, countinious reinforcements arrive from Turkey. Also, the enemy got 30-40k fighters in Idlib. As a summary, the battle of Idlib will be extremely difficult without some agreement with Turkey

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Stern Daler

@ RomeSPQR, sorry a misunderstanding caused by me. I meant the IS in East Aleppo governorate / not town. The same strategic situation – only with smaller numbers on each side.

East Aleppo town was not a a “deep battle” campaign.

Yes absolutely – but Turkey will IMHO not agree.
So You need air strikes for the supplies to be stopped en route through Idlib.

ps. IMHO. Erdogan wants to integrate Idblib as “safe zone” into Turkey. Just like al-Bab and Northern Cyprus.

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Flay the Daeshbags
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do you think they’ll push the rebels all the way across the border into Idlib?

Floriangeyer
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Floriangeyer

Whilst momentum can be kept up the finish point needs to be a good defensive position. With Turkey again interfering more greatly now it is important to retain battle ready ‘Fire brigade ‘ formations to rapidly intercede terrorist incursions .

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Stern Daler

It needs great skills to stop deep battle once it started with success. Or great sacrifices.

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Stern Daler

Depends to be seen. OZ sees the same strategic situation as in East Aleppo. Russian Deep Battle strategy tries to bush the adversary behind his communication lines and his prepared positions, IS in East Aleppo did not recover before the border to Raqqa once this was achieved.

If SAA gets them moving back fast now the offensive can carry them far. Until difficult terrain or fortification stop the advance.

Daeshbags Sux
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Daeshbags Sux

And Russians are the most experimented when it comes to deep battle 😉 The drawback being it’s costly in lives.

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Yes – and You saw in East Aleppo that the SAA also maneuvered IS out of good positions without that initial costly onslaught so typical for the beginnings of deep battle in WW II. p.s. It was only that costly against a war machine that normally killed 4 units for every one unit they killed. When the opposed generals were fitter so that the initial deep penetration needed an opposing GröFaZ corporal to shackle them and when one million lend and lease sponsored vehicles were needed to give them a speed advantage to finally help deep battle concept to victory.… Read more »

politika007
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politika007

Great Analysis by the great wizard of OZ, it is in plain sight now that all the alphabet soup “rebels” and IS are working together hence this co-ordinated offensive. Will this stop the advance onto Ar Raqqah remains to be seen, the Damascus offensive failed to achieve this goal…