south front for apr 19/20

Russian Attempts To Enforce Safety In Raqqa And Deir Ezzor
South Front, Apr 19 2021

The Syrian Arab Army and its Russian support are perpetually carrying out their containment of ISIS in Syria’s central region. On Apr 18, Russian Aerospace Forces warplanes carried out at least 70 airstrikes on various terrorist targets in several areas. Among the locations containing targets were the eastern countryside of Hama, the outskirts of the town of Resafa in the Raqqa countryside, and on the border between Raqqa and Deir Ezzor. ISIS caves and bunkers were targeted, as well as the terrorists’ backline positions. There was an unknown number of casualties. This presumed sudden spike in activity followed a claim by ISIS that two Russian special forces operatives were killed in eastern Homs during a failed landing operation. There was no official confirmation and no other evidence apart from ISIS’ claims. Russia’s warplanes have, so far, been successful in their air raids. There is an evident reduction in ISIS attacks on Syrian government forces, and many positions on strategic highways had been vacated. To improve response time and operational effectiveness, Russian Forces are building a forward base with a helicopter landing zone along with a number of posts right on the border between Raqqa and Deir Ezzor in central Syria. Russian forces have been working to strengthen their presence in Raqqa for a while. A delegation of the Russian military visited the Tabqah Air Base in southern Raqqa, that is held currently by US-backed Forces. Russian forces may soon move there. Additionally, on April 18th, units of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the de-facto ruler of the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib, entered the town of Bosoufane in the Turkish-occupied area of Afrin. The Al-Qaeda-affiliated HTS were on a mission to establish positions in the town. Tensions were increasing as the group was attempting to capture the town and wrestle it away from the Turkey-backed National Front for Liberation (NFL). The stand-off came to its end when the Syrian Arab Army shelled the militants. HTS was trying to capture the town in order to open a direct smuggling route with Kurdish forces, which control a strip of land south of Afrin. The militant group is constantly on the lookout to expand its influence, push ever further and gain more profit. Turkey seems to tacitly support HTS’ expansion endeavors, as it is quite interested in the oil and gas smuggling to continue, as resource trafficking was heavily impeded by the Damascus government’s operations.

Saudi Arabia Used TOS-1A “Solntsepyok” Against Houthis
South Front, Apr 19 2021

Saudi Arabia used the heavy flamethrower system TOS-1A “Solntsepyok” during operation against the Houthis (as Ansar Allah is known). The leaked photo and video reportedly show the use of TOS-1A in the south of Saudi province of Najran. No casualties have been reported yet as a result of the shelling. Ansar Allah has not commented on the issue yet.

The TOS-1A Solntsepek is a 24-barrel rocket launch (MBRL) system designed and developed by the Russian company – Omsk Transmash Design Bureau. It is the latest variant of the TOS-1 flamethrower system. The chassis of TOS-1A MBRL system is based on the T-72 main battle tank. It retains the same design with the turret being replaced with the rocket launch facility. The launch system integrates 24 220mm calibre launch tubes.

In 2017, Saudi Arabia signed a memorandum with Russia on the acquisition of several types of weapons, including the TOS-1A, the Kornet ATGM, and the AGS-30 grenade launcher with the possibility of joint production in the kingdom. In April 2019, photos of the first delivered batch of “Solntsepyok” surfaced online. According to available data, Saudi Arabia is armed with ten TOS-1A. On the other side, on April 18, the Houthi-affilated media outlet “Yemen Wrath” released fresh combat footage showing a surprise attack of Ansar Allah on the positions of the mercenaries of the Saudi-led coalition in the Yemeni Talaah area.

The UK Sends Two Warships To Black Sea, As Russia Sends Dozens For Military Exercise
South Front, Apr 19 2021

On Apr 17, detachment of ships of the Russian Caspian Fleet passed under the Crimean bridge across the Kerch Strait and entered the Black Sea, while earlier it was reported that Russia relocated Su-25 SMZ attack aircraft to Crimea. This was reported by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. It is reported that among the 15 warships of the Caspian Flotilla there are 3 artillery and 8 landing boats, as well as support vessels. The ships entered the Black Sea allegedly as part of a control check during the winter training period. the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement:

According to the plan for passing the control check, the crews of the boats of the Caspian Flotilla, in cooperation with the forces of the Black Sea Fleet, will take part in test naval exercises.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, the Russian Federation previously closed part of the Black Sea for the passage of foreign ships. Four more warships of the Russian Navy entered the Black Sea the same day. The Istanbul sites reported that two large landing craft “Kaliningrad”, “Korolev” had passed the Bosphorus. Previously, “Alexander Otrakovsky” and “Kondopoga” of the Russian Northern Fleet entered the Black Sea. Over the previous weeks, more than 50 fighters, aircraft and attack aircraft were involved in the exercises over the Black Sea, the press service of the Russian Southern Military District said. The planes had to carry out rocket launches and bombing at sea targets. The ministry clarified that Su-27SM, Su-30SM fighters, Su-25SM3 attack aircraft and Su-24M and Su-34 bombers took part in the exercises. Additionally, pilots from the 4th Army of the Air Force and Air Defense and the Black Sea Fleet accompany ship strike groups, and also provide security in the Black Sea as part of reconnaissance strike complexes. During the exercise, Su-25SM3 attack aircraft from the Stavropol Territory were relocated to the airfields of the Crimea, and the Su-25SM3 squadron, based on the peninsula, to the Ashuluk training ground in the Astrakhan region.

On Apr 14, it was reported that a detachment of ships of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation went to sea for exercises. Separately, British warships will sail for the Black Sea in May, the Sunday Times reported on April 18, citing anonymous sources. The deployment is aimed at showing solidarity with Ukraine and Britain’s NATO allies, the newspaper reported. One Type 45 destroyer armed with anti-aircraft missiles and an anti-submarine Type 23 frigate will leave the Royal Navy’s carrier task group in the Mediterranean and head through the Bosphorus into the Black Sea, according to the report. RAF F-35B Lightning stealth jets and Merlin submarine-hunting helicopters will stand ready on the task group’s flag ship, the carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, to support the warships in the Black Sea. A ministry spokesman told the newspaper that the UK government was working closely with Ukraine to monitor the situation and continued to call on Russia to de-escalate. The newspaper quoted the spokesman as saying:

The UK and our international allies are unwavering in our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Ukraine: American Bomb In Europe
Manlio Dinucci, Il Manifesto. Translated by Thomas ST, SouthFront, Apr 19 2021

US F-16 fighter jets, sent from the Aviano base in Italy, are participating in “complex air operations” in Greece, where the “Iniochos 21” exercise began on Apr 12. They belong to the 510th Fighter Squadron based in Aviano, whose role is featured on its emblem: the symbol of the atom, with three thunderbolts hitting the ground, framed by the imperial eagle. These are nuclear attack aircraft deployed by the USAF in Greece, which in 2020 granted the US the use of all its military bases. F-16 and F-15 fighter-bombers from Israel and the UAE are also taking part in the “Iniochos 21” exercise. It is conducted in the Aegean Sea on the edge of the region, including the Black Sea and Ukraine, where the US Army Defender-Europe 21 exercise is concentrated. These and other military maneuvers, which make Europe a major military training range, are amping up the tension with Russia, which is focused on Ukraine. NATO, after the disintegration of the Yugoslav Federation by inserting the wedge of war into internal rifts, is now consolidating as the crusading knight of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. The chairman of the NATO Military Committee, British Air Force Air Marshal Sir Stuart Perts, met with Zelensky and Khomchak in Kiev, and said:

NATO members are united in their condemnation of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and its offensive operations in eastern Ukraine.

He reiterated that Russia annexed Crimea by force, forgetting that it was the Crimean Russians who decided in a referendum to secede from Ukraine and return to Russia in order to avoid attacks by Kiev’s neo-Nazi battalions, as it was the case for the Russians of Donbass. Those neo-Nazi battalions that were used in 2014 as a strike force in the Maidan coup, launched by Georgian snipers who fired on protesters and police, and then engaged in a series of atrocities: villages slaughtered and set on fire, activists burned alive in the Odessa Trade Union House, unarmed civilians massacred in Mariupol or bombed with white phosphorus in Donetsk and Luhansk. A bloody coup led by the US and NATO, with the strategic goal of provoking a new Cold War in Europe, to isolate Russia and at the same time strengthen the influence and military presence of the US in Europe. The conflict in Donbass, whose people have self-organized in the Donetsk and Luhansk Republics their own militia, had gone through a period of relative calm with the opening of the Minsk talks for a peaceful solution. But now the Ukrainian government has withdrawn from those meetings, under the pretext of refusing to go to Minsk because Belarus is not a democracy. At the same time, Kiev forces resumed armed attacks in Donbass.

The head of the Ukrainian General Staff, General Khomchak, who was congratulated by NATO’s Stuart Perch on his “commitment to finding a peaceful solution to the conflict,” said that the Kiev army was “preparing for an attack on the eastern part of the country.” in this operation “the participation of NATO members is planned.” It is no coincidence that the conflict in Donbass erupted when, along with the Biden government, the post of Secretary of State passed to Anthony Blinken. Of Ukrainian origin, he was the main organizer of Maidan Square putsch in the role of Deputy National Security Adviser to the Obama-Biden administration. As Deputy Foreign Minister, Biden appointed Victoria Nuland, in 2014 assistant director of the US operation, which cost over $5b, to establish “good government” in Ukraine (she said). It is possible that they now have a plan to launch an attack by Kiev forces in Donbas with the support of NATO. It would put Moscow in front of a choice that would in any case benefit Washington: to leave the Russian people of Donbass a victim of the massacre or to intervene militarily to support them. A game with fire and not metaphorically, lighting the fuse of a bomb in the heart of Europe.

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