Syria is playing the long game - developing strategy for the potential of all-out war.
An in-depth analysis of Syrian military developments since October 7th

vanessa beeley

Map showing the recent events on military front in Syria since October 7th Al Aqsa Flood operation.

"While red lines in politics are mostly colorless to provide more room for maneuver, red lines in the field are drawn with iron and fire and colored with blood, making these lines unbreakable."

Ibrahim Wahdi - SAA soldier and journalist

October 7th has sent shock waves throughout the world. The invincible Israel with, allegedly, the most powerful military and intelligence capability was proven to be a paper tiger by a weaker and less well equipped Palestinian Resistance coalition.

The effect has been dramatic on regional Resistance factions - triggering a regional wide engagement with Israel or with the illegal US military bases in Syria and Iraq. As a result, there has been an unprecedented military escalation in the region that has largely gone unreported with all eyes on Gaza and the ongoing Zionist ethnic cleansing in both Gaza and West Bank.

Israel is in disarray with internal divisions threatening the Netanyahu extremist coalition government. Netanyahu is unable to acknowledge the military and intelligence failings despite pressure to do so, even from within his own military.

Instead Israel has resorted to the familiar sadistic war against women, children and innocent civilians for almost two months. The ongoing brutal massacre on an hourly basis, the targeting of hospitals, UNRWA refugee centers and schools, humanitarian convoys, ambulances, paramedics, civil defence headquarters are a litany of war crimes.

Of course any admission by Netanyahu would signal the end of his political career and bring him to trial for corruption. Despite the knowledge that his military would suffer horrendous losses in a ground operation in the sprawling urban landscape of the Gaza enclave, Netanyahu gave the green light to invade. He relied on the daily horrific civilian death toll to break the Resistance resolve.

The message was “to resist is futile” but just as the entire globalist axis led by the US and UK failed to factor in the determination of the Syrian people to prevent regime change in Syria - the world has underestimated the strength of the Palestinian Resistance against decades of apartheid, oppression and trickle expansionist ethnic cleansing by the Zionist entity.

Hezbollah in northern Palestine has skillfully and tactically occupied the Zionist forces in the north preventing their involvement in the Gaza operations and ongoing stealth ethnic cleansing of the West Bank.

Yemen has directly engaged by targeting sites in southern occupied Palestine. Iraqi Resistance factions have increased their attacks against US illegal military bases in Iraq and Syria resulting in the death of at least forty US military personnel. Most recently Yemeni forces have seized an Israeli owned vessel in the Red Sea holding the crew hostage.

Palestinian factions inside Syria have launched several missile attacks on Israeli occupation sites in the illegally annexed Golan territories and even attacked Eilat from Syrian territory.

In response, the US and Israel have mobilised their ISIS agents in Syria to attack Syrian Arab Army positions in the central desert areas.

Hayat Tahrir Al Sham (HTS), an Al Qaeda offshoot, have escalated attacks on the northern Lattakia countryside axis and intensified drone attacks in Western Aleppo, northern Lattakia and northern Hama.

Israel aggression particularly south of Damascus has increased with the latest attack on the Sayeda Zainab district of south-east Damascus yesterday afternoon (22/11). Aleppo and Damascus civilian airports are still closed, not because of the previous damage from Israeli aggression, due to the high risk of Israeli bombardment.

The US has directly engaged with the Syrian Arab Army in Deir Ezzor in north-east Syria. Syria has responded by directly engaging with the US occupation forces, targeting US military bases and shooting down US drones. Syria has expanded the operational area in Syria for all Resistance factions to enable the targeting of Israel from multiple and mobile fronts.

In this article the focus will be on the military situation in Syria. Syria has endured a 12 year Western-orchestrated regime change war that has decimated Syrian infrastructure, depleted the military capability, imposed unprecedented sanctions unilaterally on the Syrian people. The US occupies oil and agricultural resources in the north-east, their assets occupy the agricultural resources in the north-west. Their Kurdish proxies and Al Qaeda assets benefit from the trade of Syrian resources under the protection of US political and military endorsement and collaboration.

Syria’s refusal to abandon Palestine and willingness to expand the ability of Resistance factions to target Israeli facilities and installations has triggered serious recriminations from the US/Israeli axis.

ISIS aggression on behalf of Israel and US

On the 8th of November ISIS groups attacked Syrian Arab Army positions in the vicinity of the Homs, Hama and Raqqa triangle. The attack led to the deaths of 21 SAA soldiers and several injured. Military reinforcements were dispatched to comb the area and to eliminate the ISIS fighters.

Since the double earthquake tragedy that struck Syria and Turkey on the 6th February there have been a number of ISIS attacks on Syrian military and civilians. This attack of the 8th November and the one that preceded it are the most intense.

On 18th October, ISIS launched a wide-scale assault on the SAA and allies in the Al Sukhnah area of the eastern Homs desert. ISIS took control of SAA positions along the main road and the Dubayyat gas field. This from a Carnegie Middle East Center report in 2015 when ISIS was gaining ground in Syria (before Russian intervention in September 2015):

Faced with dense regime defenses around Shaer, the Islamic State shifted its focus to Palmyra, which has been the site of the most development in Syria’s gas sector since the mid-1990s. Fields in the area were expected to eventually produce 9 million cubic meters of crude gas per day. These included the Arak, Dubayat, Hail, Hayan, Jihar, al-Mahr, Najib, Sukhneh, and Abi Rabah fields, which according to a former industry insider have collectively been producing half of Syria’s output of natural raw and liquid petroleum gas. Palmyra is also the transit point for pipelines carrying gas from important fields in Hasakah and Deir Ezzor provinces in northeastern and eastern Syria respectively.

The US appears to be recycling their strategy of pre-Russian intervention to control the ‘hub between the extraction or transfer of virtually all of Syrian gas production and the processing and power plants further west that supply electricity and gas for domestic and industrial use’ to the most populated areas of Syria that are under the control of the Syrian government and military.

The SAA was forced to withdraw and to await reinforcements from the 18th Division and allied forces.

The ISIS terrorists were counter-attacked and the Syrian positions were recaptured in the southern outskirts of Al Sukhna. ISIS forces were routed with a high casualty rate.

Units of the SAA pursued the remnants of ISIS terrorists targeting them heavily with artillery to force their retreat to the 55 km exclusion zone established by the US occupation forces around the US allied Al Tanf military base on the borders of Iraq and Jordan.

ISIS terrorists were also besieged in small pockets around Al Dubayyat gas field. Russian and Syrian warplanes concurrently bombed ISIS groups emanating from the area of Al Tanf that were trying to reach Al Dubbayat to break the SAA siege on their militants.

On November 16th, Deputy Head of the Russian Reconciliation Center, Vadim Collet, gave a statement that:

“Armed groups trained at Al-Tanf base are planning to carry out sabotage acts in southern Syria against Syrian forces on main roads and fuel and energy facilities” adding that “the leadership of both Russian and Syrian forces will take preemptive measures to prevent armed provocations”

On the 13th November, at night, the SAA again repelled an ISIS attack on Point 10 in the Ja'ideen area in the eastern desert of Raqqa, on the administrative border with Homs province.

The joint Russian-Syrian warplanes targeted ISIS terrorists, forcing them to withdraw again to the open desert within the US controlled Al Tanf 55 km exclusion zone.

The Syrian Arab Army secured the area between the Al-Rasafa Castle and Al-Zamla village less than an hour after the failed infiltration operation, which demonstrates a significant improvement in the Syrian Arab Army's ability to respond and deal with these attacks.

Later on November 14, an ISIS cell attacked a Russian patrol with an RPG on Al-Shaer gas field road in the desert. Three Russian soldiers were injured in the attack.

The level of attacks being carried out by the ISIS terrorists is indicative of both their presence in the areas occupied by US allied forces and of the control that the US alliance has over this terrorist faction operating in Syria and Iraq.

The ISIS attacks must be seen in conjunction with the US and Israeli direct attacks on SAA and allied military positions.

Israeli aggression against Syria since October 7th

After five Israeli attacks in October, four of which targeted civilian airports in Damascus and Aleppo, putting them out of service, Israel has attacked more than three times in November.

On November 8th at 22.50 Israel launched an attack on the positions of allied forces in the farmland extending from Sayeda Zainab and Aqraba, south-west of Damascus. They also targeted radar systems and air defence positions in Tal Qalib and Tal Al Massih in the Sweida district, southern Syria - scene of the most recent separatist protests backed and instigated by the US and Israel. Three civilians were injured in the Sweida attack.

In the early dawn hours of November 10th, Israel bombed two positions of the Syrian allies in the vicinity of Shanshar, south-west of Homs. This led to the deaths of seven Hezbollah soldiers and significant material damage.


Hezbollah fighters killed by Israeli aggression on November 10th

Israel justified this aggression as a response to an attack on Eilat in southern occupied Palestine two days prior. The attack utilised a Shahed 101 suicide drone with a 600 km range. The drone was launched from central Syria, crossed Jordanian airspace undetected to Eilat where it hit and caused damage.

However Israel is not able to identify who launched the drone. Sayed Hassan Nasrallah referred to the loss of Hezbollah fighters in Syria based on Israeli false claims. If indeed Hezbollah had launched the drone they would have claimed responsibility. Therefore this attack indicates the entry of new players in the Resistance axis.

The following day, a faction calling themselves SWAT Jazeera Al Arabiya (Arabian Island) claimed responsibility for the Eilat attack. The faction is still mysterious but appears to be an ideological ‘jihadist’ group following the Islamic Resistance Iraq operational blueprint. While the SWAT zone of operation remains secret their arrival on the scene will send the message to the US and Israel that they will face more enemies the longer the genocidal campaign against Palestinians continues.

Again on November 18, at 2:25 am, Israeli warplanes bombed two Hezbollah positions in the Bahdalia area close to Sayyida Zeinab city, southeast of Damascus, causing material losses.

Perhaps more importantly than standard Israeli aggression against Syria - on the 18th October unidentified gunmen assassinated Lieutenant Colonel Qais Ismail and First Assistant Muhammad Hussein of the 112th Brigade, 5th Armoured Division. The attack was carried out to west of Daraa, south of Damascus.

On October 24th Israel had dropped leaflets by drone on the ceasefire line threatening the 112th Brigade and their commander - effectively threatening officers of the SAA in the Daraa district. Was the 18th October assassination a precursor to further attacks by Israeli proxies on the ground south of Damascus?



The two 112th Brigade officers gunned down and the leaflet dropped by Israeli drones.

Yesterday, the 22nd November at 15.10, Israel again targeted the southern districts of Damascus including Sayeda Zainab (an important Iranian/Shia muslim pilgrimage site). I was actually in the area when this attack took place close to Sayeda Zainab. At this time of the afternoon the area is heaving with civilians and children who are leaving school. Video:

Attacks on illegal US occupation bases in Syria and Iraq

The following is an indication only of the number of attacks, the bases and US personnel casualties (it will need updating as attacks are almost daily):


US illegal bases in Syria and Iraq have been targeted daily by the Resistance factions since the start of the Al Aqsa Flood operation. The US air defences have been unable to successfully counter drone and missile attacks. There are have been an estimated 50-60 attacks on US occupation forces between October 17th and November 22nd. This has resulted in 59 casualties, according to a press briefing by Dep. Pentagon Press Sec. Sabrina Singh:

“The Pentagon is seeing an increase in attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria, with a total of 55 attacks injuring dozens of service members since October 17, an official said Tuesday. The attacks, 27 in Iraq and 28 in Syria, have resulted in 59 service members being injured”, then corrected it, "Sorry, I can give you that rundown. So as of today, there have been approximately 58 attacks. So that's 27 in Iraq and 31 attacks in Syria."

The US has routinely responded with airstrikes targeting SAA and allied sites in eastern Deir Ezzor countryside. The recent US aggression has adopted a different strategy.

In the early hours of 9th November, US warplanes fired four rockets targeting a bakery and aid distribution warehouse belonging to the SAA allied forces on the outskirts of Deir Ezzor city.

The attack developed into intense and direct clashes for over two hours between the US occupation forces with its Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, and the Syrian Arab Army with its allies on the western bank near the towns of Abu Hardoub, Al-Quriyah, and Al-Miyadin.

Various types of medium and heavy weapons, as well as rockets, were used during the clashes. Additionally, eight Fajr-1 rockets were fired, targeting the Green Village inside the US occupation base in the Al-Omar oil field.

Three US armored Humvees were destroyed, and a number of US soldiers and SDF fighters were injured. However, shooting down a US counter-drone Coyote Block 2 UAV by Syrian air defenses in Al-Mayadeen vicinity two days later was an extraordinary development.



On November 13th, again early morning, US warplanes carried out six airstrikes on the Sayyal area in Al Bukamal (on border with Iraq) and sites near a bridge in Al Mayadin City, east of Deir Ezzor. One death and one injury from these attacks.

This time the US targeted empty buildings and a PMU (Iraqi Popular resistance faction) missile launch site. The Resistance immediately responded and targeted US bases occupying the Al Omar oil field and the Conoco gas field, Shaddadi, Khrab Al Jir and other US occupation locations.

The Conoco attack was notable. Remnants of the missiles found near the Conoco base indicate the use of 220 mm Caliber missiles launched from an Uragan launcher. A Syrian Arab Army artillery and rocket system. Field sources reported that 15 rockets targeted the US base killing 6 US soldiers in the command headquarters.

The US Central Command statement indicates a weakness in the US military occupation of Syria. For the second time, following an unprecedented series of attacks on their bases the US retaliation has been muted and largely ineffectual.

“in response to continued provocations by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and their affiliated groups in Iraq and Syria, U.S. Central Command (USCENTOM) conducted air strikes against facilities near the cities of Abu Kamal and Mayadin”

This would suggest that Washington is reticent to escalate in the region where all US forces are sitting ducks. The default position is to trigger proxy forces including ISIS.

The increasing number of attacks on US bases in Syria alone are an indication that the West Asia region has had enough of US illegal warfare and occupation.

Despite having air superiority in the region the US knows that open war would be a military quagmire and would end in defeat. The success of the Resistance in targeting US bases and bypassing US air defence has sent a strong message to the US - that the Resistance capability is a force to be reckoned with.

These groups excel in maneuvering, concealment, rapid and accurate targeting, and have the ability to significantly alter the course of events. They pose huge risk to US forces illegally on the ground in Syria.

The balance of power between US forces, direct and proxy, has shifted and the SAA is taking the fight to the US with a vengeance. A two hour direct engagement between SAA and US forces, the shooting down of a US drone, the targeting of the Conoco base all suggest that the SAA is contemplating military escalation in coordination with Iraqi Resistance and other allies. The US military hegemony in Syria is at a tipping point.

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In north-west Syria - Al Qaeda supports Israel against Palestine

Al-Qaeda's Hayaat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) failed to achieve any military victory on any front in northwest Syria following several failed attacks on Syrian Arab Army positions.

Since the beginning of October, HTS has been increasing drone attacks to compensate for military failures on the ground. The most devastating drone attack was on the 5th October (2 days before Al Aqsa Flood) when they targeted the Homs Military Academy, during a graduation ceremony packed with celebrating families. More than 89 people, mostly civilians were killed and 227 injured, many critically.

Deputy Head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria, Vadim Collet, said that:

“the raids resulted in the destruction of shelters and training camps belonging to the Al-Nusra Front group.” adding that “34 militants were killed and more than 60 others were injured.”

The SAA and Russian air forces responded decisively. Russian and Syrian warplanes combined with artillery and missile launchers have carried out multiple attacks against terrorist positions since October 5th. Dozens of terrorist headquarters, ammunition stores, drone manufacturing facilities have been destroyed in Idlib province (north-west Syria).

Multiple terrorists from HTS, Omar Ibn Al Khattab Brigade, Ansar Al Tawhid, Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) and other Al Qaeda derivatives have been killed or injured in the attacks.

The strikes targeted terrorist controlled villages and towns such as Kefraya, Bara, Bilon, Ayn Larouz, Bazabour, Jisr Al Shughour, Afes and others on the axis of the northern Lattakia countryside, Western Aleppo countryside and the axes of Al Ghab plain in northern Hama, and Idlib itself.

Video:



Syrian Arab Army initiated a new phase of military operations over a month ago. These operations have been escalating intensively and progressively, achieving significant results. The terrorists have been deprived of their ability to launch wide-scale attacks, and their military capabilities, infrastructure, ammunition depots, and drones have been gradually destroyed. This strategy has developed in lock-step with events since October 7th.

Video:



The Syrian Ministry of Defense has reported the downing of dozens of drones on the fronts of Aleppo, Idlib, Hama, and Homs. Some of these drones are large-sized, GPS-guided, long range and can carry 100 kg of explosives.

This increase in drone warfare, aided and abetted in development by NATO member states including Turkey, is an indication that the Al Qaeda asset are collaborating with the US and Israel to keep the SAA and allies occupied on the northern front.

Syrian Ministry of Defense:

“Units of our armed forces operating in the axes of Idlib, Hama and Aleppo countryside confronted attempts by terrorist organizations to attack safe villages and some military points with suicide drones, and destroyed four of them.

A drone equipped with a liquid fuel rocket engine, four meters long, six meters wingspan, and loaded with one hundred kilograms of explosives was also shot down in the Jorin area in Hama northern countryside”

The SAA is tactically depleting the terrorist offensive capability in the north-west to enable the SAA to engage in the south should a direct confrontation with Israel or the US arise in the Golan territories. As former SAA soldier and researcher Ibrahim Wahdi has pointed out:

The intense airstrikes, artillery shelling, and missile attacks carried out by the army in the past month will greatly pave the way for any future military operation if a decision is made to advance towards the M4 highway.

For example, a few days ago the Syrian Arab Army's anti-tank units had successfully cut off the supply routes of armed groups near Tafasnaz, isolating them from the Turkish base at Tafasnaz Airport, destroying their vehicles, killing and injuring many of them within less than an hour, without the need for any ground advancement. This demonstrates the army's capability to carry out similar, broader operations in the future if a decision is made for a large-scale ground operation.

We are witnessing a micro-glimpse of what might happen were the SAA to engage in a comprehensive war against the US/Israel-led axis of terror.

The Syrian leadership is taking a cautious approach for obvious reasons while opening up new fronts for Resistance factions operating on Syrian territory.

Even if the Israeli war on Gaza were to escalate, leading to regional and international engagement, Syria would not need to enter the war directly. Opening the Golan front for anyone who wishes to fight against Israel would potentially be sufficient.

As President Assad strongly stated in his speech at the Emergency Arab League Summit on Gaza:

By our will only, by the overwhelming popular public opinion in our countries, with the new reality imposed by the Palestinian resistance in our region, we possessed those tools. Let us use them, and let us take advantage of the global transformation that has opened for us political doors that have been closed for decades, so that we can enter through them and change the equations, and let the precious souls who rose in Palestine be a rewarding price for achieving what we were unable to do in the past and what we must accomplish in the present and in the future.

All countries in the region, specifically Syria, should take advantage of the new reality and build upon the victories of the resistance in Gaza. With every military confrontation, the popular resistance proves its ability to adapt, utilize the terrain of the battlefield, choose the timing, and employ sophisticated techniques in simple ways, relying on the most important factor in winning wars, which is determination.

The military tactics employed by the Palestinian resistance were simple yet highly effective, and the most significant outcome was the clear military weakness of colonial forces in the region when facing the unified alliance of resistance forces.

The war against Israel no longer requires the intervention of the Egyptian army, just as expelling the United States from Iraq and Syria would not require a comprehensive war.

It is clear that Israel has failed to achieve any military victory in Gaza. Even with resorting to genocide and destruction, it has not succeeded in even swaying the popular Palestinian support for the Resistance Coalition in Gaza and the West Bank.

Not even a few thousand out of more than two million residents in Gaza have emerged demanding surrender or cessation from the resistance. On the contrary, with every new massacre, we see Palestinians more determined to remain steadfast and to resist ethnic cleansing for the third time.

Time is Israel’s greatest enemy. The longer the Israeli military incurs losses on the ground in Gaza, the longer Western public outrage increases at the massacres of thousands of children, the longer Netanyahu loses public confidence in Israel and abroad - the greater the defeat for Israel long term.

Confronted with the psychopathy of the Israeli leadership and military the Resistance Axis is conducting itself with dignity and professionalism. It is hard to determine the balance of power in the region due to the hysterical and irrational rhetoric emanating from Washington, London and Tel Aviv. However it is shifting fast and there will be no going back.

Ibrahim Wahdi:

Regionally, there are important players with differing tactics, strategies, capabilities, and, most importantly, their understanding of the terrain, which makes it nearly impossible to predict the outcome of the current confrontation.

However, the Middle East will certainly witness radical transformations after the Al-Aqsa Flood operation. With the rise of China and Russia, the East as a whole is asserting itself, which means that countries like Iran and Syria will also enter new historical stages on the geopolitical level. The so-called Global South is rising from the ashes of decades or centuries of colonialist terrorism.

****

This article was co-written with Ibrahim Wahdi - please subscribe to his blog here. His Telegram channel and Twitter/X account.

Please do consider subscribing to my Substack account and I hope you find this article useful. Thank you.



https://beeley.substack.com/p/syria-is-playing-the-long-game-developing?r=29hg4d&utm_medium=ios&utm_campaign=post
Syria is playing the long game - developing strategy for the potential of all-out war. An in-depth analysis of Syrian military developments since October 7th vanessa beeley Map showing the recent events on military front in Syria since October 7th Al Aqsa Flood operation. "While red lines in politics are mostly colorless to provide more room for maneuver, red lines in the field are drawn with iron and fire and colored with blood, making these lines unbreakable." Ibrahim Wahdi - SAA soldier and journalist October 7th has sent shock waves throughout the world. The invincible Israel with, allegedly, the most powerful military and intelligence capability was proven to be a paper tiger by a weaker and less well equipped Palestinian Resistance coalition. The effect has been dramatic on regional Resistance factions - triggering a regional wide engagement with Israel or with the illegal US military bases in Syria and Iraq. As a result, there has been an unprecedented military escalation in the region that has largely gone unreported with all eyes on Gaza and the ongoing Zionist ethnic cleansing in both Gaza and West Bank. Israel is in disarray with internal divisions threatening the Netanyahu extremist coalition government. Netanyahu is unable to acknowledge the military and intelligence failings despite pressure to do so, even from within his own military. Instead Israel has resorted to the familiar sadistic war against women, children and innocent civilians for almost two months. The ongoing brutal massacre on an hourly basis, the targeting of hospitals, UNRWA refugee centers and schools, humanitarian convoys, ambulances, paramedics, civil defence headquarters are a litany of war crimes. Of course any admission by Netanyahu would signal the end of his political career and bring him to trial for corruption. Despite the knowledge that his military would suffer horrendous losses in a ground operation in the sprawling urban landscape of the Gaza enclave, Netanyahu gave the green light to invade. He relied on the daily horrific civilian death toll to break the Resistance resolve. The message was “to resist is futile” but just as the entire globalist axis led by the US and UK failed to factor in the determination of the Syrian people to prevent regime change in Syria - the world has underestimated the strength of the Palestinian Resistance against decades of apartheid, oppression and trickle expansionist ethnic cleansing by the Zionist entity. Hezbollah in northern Palestine has skillfully and tactically occupied the Zionist forces in the north preventing their involvement in the Gaza operations and ongoing stealth ethnic cleansing of the West Bank. Yemen has directly engaged by targeting sites in southern occupied Palestine. Iraqi Resistance factions have increased their attacks against US illegal military bases in Iraq and Syria resulting in the death of at least forty US military personnel. Most recently Yemeni forces have seized an Israeli owned vessel in the Red Sea holding the crew hostage. Palestinian factions inside Syria have launched several missile attacks on Israeli occupation sites in the illegally annexed Golan territories and even attacked Eilat from Syrian territory. In response, the US and Israel have mobilised their ISIS agents in Syria to attack Syrian Arab Army positions in the central desert areas. Hayat Tahrir Al Sham (HTS), an Al Qaeda offshoot, have escalated attacks on the northern Lattakia countryside axis and intensified drone attacks in Western Aleppo, northern Lattakia and northern Hama. Israel aggression particularly south of Damascus has increased with the latest attack on the Sayeda Zainab district of south-east Damascus yesterday afternoon (22/11). Aleppo and Damascus civilian airports are still closed, not because of the previous damage from Israeli aggression, due to the high risk of Israeli bombardment. The US has directly engaged with the Syrian Arab Army in Deir Ezzor in north-east Syria. Syria has responded by directly engaging with the US occupation forces, targeting US military bases and shooting down US drones. Syria has expanded the operational area in Syria for all Resistance factions to enable the targeting of Israel from multiple and mobile fronts. In this article the focus will be on the military situation in Syria. Syria has endured a 12 year Western-orchestrated regime change war that has decimated Syrian infrastructure, depleted the military capability, imposed unprecedented sanctions unilaterally on the Syrian people. The US occupies oil and agricultural resources in the north-east, their assets occupy the agricultural resources in the north-west. Their Kurdish proxies and Al Qaeda assets benefit from the trade of Syrian resources under the protection of US political and military endorsement and collaboration. Syria’s refusal to abandon Palestine and willingness to expand the ability of Resistance factions to target Israeli facilities and installations has triggered serious recriminations from the US/Israeli axis. ISIS aggression on behalf of Israel and US On the 8th of November ISIS groups attacked Syrian Arab Army positions in the vicinity of the Homs, Hama and Raqqa triangle. The attack led to the deaths of 21 SAA soldiers and several injured. Military reinforcements were dispatched to comb the area and to eliminate the ISIS fighters. Since the double earthquake tragedy that struck Syria and Turkey on the 6th February there have been a number of ISIS attacks on Syrian military and civilians. This attack of the 8th November and the one that preceded it are the most intense. On 18th October, ISIS launched a wide-scale assault on the SAA and allies in the Al Sukhnah area of the eastern Homs desert. ISIS took control of SAA positions along the main road and the Dubayyat gas field. This from a Carnegie Middle East Center report in 2015 when ISIS was gaining ground in Syria (before Russian intervention in September 2015): Faced with dense regime defenses around Shaer, the Islamic State shifted its focus to Palmyra, which has been the site of the most development in Syria’s gas sector since the mid-1990s. Fields in the area were expected to eventually produce 9 million cubic meters of crude gas per day. These included the Arak, Dubayat, Hail, Hayan, Jihar, al-Mahr, Najib, Sukhneh, and Abi Rabah fields, which according to a former industry insider have collectively been producing half of Syria’s output of natural raw and liquid petroleum gas. Palmyra is also the transit point for pipelines carrying gas from important fields in Hasakah and Deir Ezzor provinces in northeastern and eastern Syria respectively. The US appears to be recycling their strategy of pre-Russian intervention to control the ‘hub between the extraction or transfer of virtually all of Syrian gas production and the processing and power plants further west that supply electricity and gas for domestic and industrial use’ to the most populated areas of Syria that are under the control of the Syrian government and military. The SAA was forced to withdraw and to await reinforcements from the 18th Division and allied forces. The ISIS terrorists were counter-attacked and the Syrian positions were recaptured in the southern outskirts of Al Sukhna. ISIS forces were routed with a high casualty rate. Units of the SAA pursued the remnants of ISIS terrorists targeting them heavily with artillery to force their retreat to the 55 km exclusion zone established by the US occupation forces around the US allied Al Tanf military base on the borders of Iraq and Jordan. ISIS terrorists were also besieged in small pockets around Al Dubayyat gas field. Russian and Syrian warplanes concurrently bombed ISIS groups emanating from the area of Al Tanf that were trying to reach Al Dubbayat to break the SAA siege on their militants. On November 16th, Deputy Head of the Russian Reconciliation Center, Vadim Collet, gave a statement that: “Armed groups trained at Al-Tanf base are planning to carry out sabotage acts in southern Syria against Syrian forces on main roads and fuel and energy facilities” adding that “the leadership of both Russian and Syrian forces will take preemptive measures to prevent armed provocations” On the 13th November, at night, the SAA again repelled an ISIS attack on Point 10 in the Ja'ideen area in the eastern desert of Raqqa, on the administrative border with Homs province. The joint Russian-Syrian warplanes targeted ISIS terrorists, forcing them to withdraw again to the open desert within the US controlled Al Tanf 55 km exclusion zone. The Syrian Arab Army secured the area between the Al-Rasafa Castle and Al-Zamla village less than an hour after the failed infiltration operation, which demonstrates a significant improvement in the Syrian Arab Army's ability to respond and deal with these attacks. Later on November 14, an ISIS cell attacked a Russian patrol with an RPG on Al-Shaer gas field road in the desert. Three Russian soldiers were injured in the attack. The level of attacks being carried out by the ISIS terrorists is indicative of both their presence in the areas occupied by US allied forces and of the control that the US alliance has over this terrorist faction operating in Syria and Iraq. The ISIS attacks must be seen in conjunction with the US and Israeli direct attacks on SAA and allied military positions. Israeli aggression against Syria since October 7th After five Israeli attacks in October, four of which targeted civilian airports in Damascus and Aleppo, putting them out of service, Israel has attacked more than three times in November. On November 8th at 22.50 Israel launched an attack on the positions of allied forces in the farmland extending from Sayeda Zainab and Aqraba, south-west of Damascus. They also targeted radar systems and air defence positions in Tal Qalib and Tal Al Massih in the Sweida district, southern Syria - scene of the most recent separatist protests backed and instigated by the US and Israel. Three civilians were injured in the Sweida attack. In the early dawn hours of November 10th, Israel bombed two positions of the Syrian allies in the vicinity of Shanshar, south-west of Homs. This led to the deaths of seven Hezbollah soldiers and significant material damage. Hezbollah fighters killed by Israeli aggression on November 10th Israel justified this aggression as a response to an attack on Eilat in southern occupied Palestine two days prior. The attack utilised a Shahed 101 suicide drone with a 600 km range. The drone was launched from central Syria, crossed Jordanian airspace undetected to Eilat where it hit and caused damage. However Israel is not able to identify who launched the drone. Sayed Hassan Nasrallah referred to the loss of Hezbollah fighters in Syria based on Israeli false claims. If indeed Hezbollah had launched the drone they would have claimed responsibility. Therefore this attack indicates the entry of new players in the Resistance axis. The following day, a faction calling themselves SWAT Jazeera Al Arabiya (Arabian Island) claimed responsibility for the Eilat attack. The faction is still mysterious but appears to be an ideological ‘jihadist’ group following the Islamic Resistance Iraq operational blueprint. While the SWAT zone of operation remains secret their arrival on the scene will send the message to the US and Israel that they will face more enemies the longer the genocidal campaign against Palestinians continues. Again on November 18, at 2:25 am, Israeli warplanes bombed two Hezbollah positions in the Bahdalia area close to Sayyida Zeinab city, southeast of Damascus, causing material losses. Perhaps more importantly than standard Israeli aggression against Syria - on the 18th October unidentified gunmen assassinated Lieutenant Colonel Qais Ismail and First Assistant Muhammad Hussein of the 112th Brigade, 5th Armoured Division. The attack was carried out to west of Daraa, south of Damascus. On October 24th Israel had dropped leaflets by drone on the ceasefire line threatening the 112th Brigade and their commander - effectively threatening officers of the SAA in the Daraa district. Was the 18th October assassination a precursor to further attacks by Israeli proxies on the ground south of Damascus? The two 112th Brigade officers gunned down and the leaflet dropped by Israeli drones. Yesterday, the 22nd November at 15.10, Israel again targeted the southern districts of Damascus including Sayeda Zainab (an important Iranian/Shia muslim pilgrimage site). I was actually in the area when this attack took place close to Sayeda Zainab. At this time of the afternoon the area is heaving with civilians and children who are leaving school. Video: Attacks on illegal US occupation bases in Syria and Iraq The following is an indication only of the number of attacks, the bases and US personnel casualties (it will need updating as attacks are almost daily): US illegal bases in Syria and Iraq have been targeted daily by the Resistance factions since the start of the Al Aqsa Flood operation. The US air defences have been unable to successfully counter drone and missile attacks. There are have been an estimated 50-60 attacks on US occupation forces between October 17th and November 22nd. This has resulted in 59 casualties, according to a press briefing by Dep. Pentagon Press Sec. Sabrina Singh: “The Pentagon is seeing an increase in attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria, with a total of 55 attacks injuring dozens of service members since October 17, an official said Tuesday. The attacks, 27 in Iraq and 28 in Syria, have resulted in 59 service members being injured”, then corrected it, "Sorry, I can give you that rundown. So as of today, there have been approximately 58 attacks. So that's 27 in Iraq and 31 attacks in Syria." The US has routinely responded with airstrikes targeting SAA and allied sites in eastern Deir Ezzor countryside. The recent US aggression has adopted a different strategy. In the early hours of 9th November, US warplanes fired four rockets targeting a bakery and aid distribution warehouse belonging to the SAA allied forces on the outskirts of Deir Ezzor city. The attack developed into intense and direct clashes for over two hours between the US occupation forces with its Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, and the Syrian Arab Army with its allies on the western bank near the towns of Abu Hardoub, Al-Quriyah, and Al-Miyadin. Various types of medium and heavy weapons, as well as rockets, were used during the clashes. Additionally, eight Fajr-1 rockets were fired, targeting the Green Village inside the US occupation base in the Al-Omar oil field. Three US armored Humvees were destroyed, and a number of US soldiers and SDF fighters were injured. However, shooting down a US counter-drone Coyote Block 2 UAV by Syrian air defenses in Al-Mayadeen vicinity two days later was an extraordinary development. On November 13th, again early morning, US warplanes carried out six airstrikes on the Sayyal area in Al Bukamal (on border with Iraq) and sites near a bridge in Al Mayadin City, east of Deir Ezzor. One death and one injury from these attacks. This time the US targeted empty buildings and a PMU (Iraqi Popular resistance faction) missile launch site. The Resistance immediately responded and targeted US bases occupying the Al Omar oil field and the Conoco gas field, Shaddadi, Khrab Al Jir and other US occupation locations. The Conoco attack was notable. Remnants of the missiles found near the Conoco base indicate the use of 220 mm Caliber missiles launched from an Uragan launcher. A Syrian Arab Army artillery and rocket system. Field sources reported that 15 rockets targeted the US base killing 6 US soldiers in the command headquarters. The US Central Command statement indicates a weakness in the US military occupation of Syria. For the second time, following an unprecedented series of attacks on their bases the US retaliation has been muted and largely ineffectual. “in response to continued provocations by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and their affiliated groups in Iraq and Syria, U.S. Central Command (USCENTOM) conducted air strikes against facilities near the cities of Abu Kamal and Mayadin” This would suggest that Washington is reticent to escalate in the region where all US forces are sitting ducks. The default position is to trigger proxy forces including ISIS. The increasing number of attacks on US bases in Syria alone are an indication that the West Asia region has had enough of US illegal warfare and occupation. Despite having air superiority in the region the US knows that open war would be a military quagmire and would end in defeat. The success of the Resistance in targeting US bases and bypassing US air defence has sent a strong message to the US - that the Resistance capability is a force to be reckoned with. These groups excel in maneuvering, concealment, rapid and accurate targeting, and have the ability to significantly alter the course of events. They pose huge risk to US forces illegally on the ground in Syria. The balance of power between US forces, direct and proxy, has shifted and the SAA is taking the fight to the US with a vengeance. A two hour direct engagement between SAA and US forces, the shooting down of a US drone, the targeting of the Conoco base all suggest that the SAA is contemplating military escalation in coordination with Iraqi Resistance and other allies. The US military hegemony in Syria is at a tipping point. Share In north-west Syria - Al Qaeda supports Israel against Palestine Al-Qaeda's Hayaat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) failed to achieve any military victory on any front in northwest Syria following several failed attacks on Syrian Arab Army positions. Since the beginning of October, HTS has been increasing drone attacks to compensate for military failures on the ground. The most devastating drone attack was on the 5th October (2 days before Al Aqsa Flood) when they targeted the Homs Military Academy, during a graduation ceremony packed with celebrating families. More than 89 people, mostly civilians were killed and 227 injured, many critically. Deputy Head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria, Vadim Collet, said that: “the raids resulted in the destruction of shelters and training camps belonging to the Al-Nusra Front group.” adding that “34 militants were killed and more than 60 others were injured.” The SAA and Russian air forces responded decisively. Russian and Syrian warplanes combined with artillery and missile launchers have carried out multiple attacks against terrorist positions since October 5th. Dozens of terrorist headquarters, ammunition stores, drone manufacturing facilities have been destroyed in Idlib province (north-west Syria). Multiple terrorists from HTS, Omar Ibn Al Khattab Brigade, Ansar Al Tawhid, Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) and other Al Qaeda derivatives have been killed or injured in the attacks. The strikes targeted terrorist controlled villages and towns such as Kefraya, Bara, Bilon, Ayn Larouz, Bazabour, Jisr Al Shughour, Afes and others on the axis of the northern Lattakia countryside, Western Aleppo countryside and the axes of Al Ghab plain in northern Hama, and Idlib itself. Video: Syrian Arab Army initiated a new phase of military operations over a month ago. These operations have been escalating intensively and progressively, achieving significant results. The terrorists have been deprived of their ability to launch wide-scale attacks, and their military capabilities, infrastructure, ammunition depots, and drones have been gradually destroyed. This strategy has developed in lock-step with events since October 7th. Video: The Syrian Ministry of Defense has reported the downing of dozens of drones on the fronts of Aleppo, Idlib, Hama, and Homs. Some of these drones are large-sized, GPS-guided, long range and can carry 100 kg of explosives. This increase in drone warfare, aided and abetted in development by NATO member states including Turkey, is an indication that the Al Qaeda asset are collaborating with the US and Israel to keep the SAA and allies occupied on the northern front. Syrian Ministry of Defense: “Units of our armed forces operating in the axes of Idlib, Hama and Aleppo countryside confronted attempts by terrorist organizations to attack safe villages and some military points with suicide drones, and destroyed four of them. A drone equipped with a liquid fuel rocket engine, four meters long, six meters wingspan, and loaded with one hundred kilograms of explosives was also shot down in the Jorin area in Hama northern countryside” The SAA is tactically depleting the terrorist offensive capability in the north-west to enable the SAA to engage in the south should a direct confrontation with Israel or the US arise in the Golan territories. As former SAA soldier and researcher Ibrahim Wahdi has pointed out: The intense airstrikes, artillery shelling, and missile attacks carried out by the army in the past month will greatly pave the way for any future military operation if a decision is made to advance towards the M4 highway. For example, a few days ago the Syrian Arab Army's anti-tank units had successfully cut off the supply routes of armed groups near Tafasnaz, isolating them from the Turkish base at Tafasnaz Airport, destroying their vehicles, killing and injuring many of them within less than an hour, without the need for any ground advancement. This demonstrates the army's capability to carry out similar, broader operations in the future if a decision is made for a large-scale ground operation. We are witnessing a micro-glimpse of what might happen were the SAA to engage in a comprehensive war against the US/Israel-led axis of terror. The Syrian leadership is taking a cautious approach for obvious reasons while opening up new fronts for Resistance factions operating on Syrian territory. Even if the Israeli war on Gaza were to escalate, leading to regional and international engagement, Syria would not need to enter the war directly. Opening the Golan front for anyone who wishes to fight against Israel would potentially be sufficient. As President Assad strongly stated in his speech at the Emergency Arab League Summit on Gaza: By our will only, by the overwhelming popular public opinion in our countries, with the new reality imposed by the Palestinian resistance in our region, we possessed those tools. Let us use them, and let us take advantage of the global transformation that has opened for us political doors that have been closed for decades, so that we can enter through them and change the equations, and let the precious souls who rose in Palestine be a rewarding price for achieving what we were unable to do in the past and what we must accomplish in the present and in the future. All countries in the region, specifically Syria, should take advantage of the new reality and build upon the victories of the resistance in Gaza. With every military confrontation, the popular resistance proves its ability to adapt, utilize the terrain of the battlefield, choose the timing, and employ sophisticated techniques in simple ways, relying on the most important factor in winning wars, which is determination. The military tactics employed by the Palestinian resistance were simple yet highly effective, and the most significant outcome was the clear military weakness of colonial forces in the region when facing the unified alliance of resistance forces. The war against Israel no longer requires the intervention of the Egyptian army, just as expelling the United States from Iraq and Syria would not require a comprehensive war. It is clear that Israel has failed to achieve any military victory in Gaza. Even with resorting to genocide and destruction, it has not succeeded in even swaying the popular Palestinian support for the Resistance Coalition in Gaza and the West Bank. Not even a few thousand out of more than two million residents in Gaza have emerged demanding surrender or cessation from the resistance. On the contrary, with every new massacre, we see Palestinians more determined to remain steadfast and to resist ethnic cleansing for the third time. Time is Israel’s greatest enemy. The longer the Israeli military incurs losses on the ground in Gaza, the longer Western public outrage increases at the massacres of thousands of children, the longer Netanyahu loses public confidence in Israel and abroad - the greater the defeat for Israel long term. Confronted with the psychopathy of the Israeli leadership and military the Resistance Axis is conducting itself with dignity and professionalism. It is hard to determine the balance of power in the region due to the hysterical and irrational rhetoric emanating from Washington, London and Tel Aviv. However it is shifting fast and there will be no going back. Ibrahim Wahdi: Regionally, there are important players with differing tactics, strategies, capabilities, and, most importantly, their understanding of the terrain, which makes it nearly impossible to predict the outcome of the current confrontation. However, the Middle East will certainly witness radical transformations after the Al-Aqsa Flood operation. With the rise of China and Russia, the East as a whole is asserting itself, which means that countries like Iran and Syria will also enter new historical stages on the geopolitical level. The so-called Global South is rising from the ashes of decades or centuries of colonialist terrorism. **** This article was co-written with Ibrahim Wahdi - please subscribe to his blog here. His Telegram channel and Twitter/X account. Please do consider subscribing to my Substack account and I hope you find this article useful. Thank you. https://beeley.substack.com/p/syria-is-playing-the-long-game-developing?r=29hg4d&utm_medium=ios&utm_campaign=post
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Syria is playing the long game - developing strategy for the potential of all-out war.
An in-depth analysis of Syrian military developments since October 7th
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