south front

Riyadh Returns To Bombing Sana’a After Ansar Allah Makes Gains
South Front, Nov 26 2021

From an almost simmering conflict, focused on several fronts and primarily on Ma’rib city in the past months, Yemen is quickly turning into the early 21st century’s bloodiest war. Despite all their claims of not supporting Saudi Arabia, the US is back selling them weapons yet again. The provision of intelligence and logistical support expectedly had never stopped, as part of Washington’s alleged efforts to fight terrorists in Yemen. On Nov 25, the Saudis announced that their warplanes had carried out eight airstrikes on Houthi (Ansar Allah) forces in the central Yemeni province of Ma’rib. The coalition claimed that its airstrikes had killed 60 Houthi fighters and destroyed five vehicles belonging to the group. Late on the previous day, Riyadh’s warplanes carried out a series of airstrikes on the so-called Presidential Camps to the south of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, under the Ansar Allah movement’s control. In the early morning hours, several airstrikes hit a construction site near a hospital in the western part of Sanaa. The Saudis claimed that the site was a “secret drone factory” belonging to the Houthis. Nevertheless, two civilians were killed and two others were wounded in the airstrikes. Prior to that, 15 Saudi airstrikes hit the central Yemeni province of Ma’rib, where the Houthis have been advancing for the last nine months. According to the coalition’s claims, 95 Houthi fighters were killed and 11 of the group’s vehicles were destroyed. Sana’a was previously “protected” under a pledge by the Kingdom that it wouldn’t bomb the capital. Evidently, that grace period has ended, with Riyadh’s forces attempting to turn any Houthi position into scorched earth with relentless airstrikes. The Houthis launched a large-scale attack to capture Ma’rib city and nearby oil fields nine months ago. Over the last few months, the group has made significant gains. Houthi fighters reached the western outskirts of the city and secured positions close to its southern outskirts. Regardless of the airstrikes, Ansar Allah still seems to have the upper hand in the fight, and capturing the strategic city is just a matter of time. The UN is keeping silent while the Saudis ramps up their airstrike activities, saying that the war should end and that Yemen could still recover if things do not escalate further. Riyadh’s efforts are seldom mentioned, unless a massacre has been carried out by Saudi airstrikes, while any Ansar Allah advance is met with calls that the humanitarian disaster is worsening. Saudi Arabia has a plethora of enablers for its Yemen adventure and still is barely holding on in the fight.

Saudi Strikes Presidential Camps In Yemen’s Sanaa Again
South Front, Nov 26 2021

Late on Nov 25, Saudi warplanes carried out a new series of airstrikes on the Presidential Camps to the south of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, which is held by the Houthis (Ansar Allah). Saudi warplanes bombed the camps a day earlier. The Saudi claimed that their airstrikes hit missile and drone workshops as well as ammunition depots of the Houthis. According to the Saudis, the new airstrikes targeted advanced weapons the Houthis attempted to move out from the camps after the last attack. The Saudis warned in a statement:

Terrorist leaders and their advanced capabilities are legitimate targets around the clock.

The Yemeni al-Masirah TV confirmed that at least two airstrikes had hit the southern outskirts of Sanaa. No casualties were reported as a result of the airstrikes. The Saudis’ recent aerial operations in Yemen were not limited to Sanaa. Between Nov 25 and 25, Saudi warplanes carried out 16 airstrikes on the central province of Ma’rib, where the Houthis have been advancing for more than nine months now. The Saudis claimed that their airstrikes killed 90 Houthi fighters and destroyed 12 vehicles of the group. The Houthis will likely strike Saudi Arabia in response to the recent airstrikes on Sanaa. Last week, the group launched more than a dozen suicide drones at the Kingdom.

ISIS Shares Summary Of Its Most Recent Operations In Syria
South Front, Nov 26 2021

On Nov 26, ISIS’ al-Nabaa newspaper released an infographic summarizing the terrorist group most recent operations in Syria. According to al-Nabaa’s infographic, ISIS cells in Syria carried out a total of 17 operations between Nov 8-21. The operations took place as follows:

  • Eight operations in the northeastern governorate of al-Hasakah, which is held by the SDF;
  • Six operations in the eastern governorate of Deir Ezzor, which is held by the SDF and the Damascus government;
  • Two operations in the northern governorate of Raqqa, which is held by the SDF and the Damascus government;
  • One operation in the southern governorate of Daraa, which is held by the Damascus government.

The operations carried out by ISIS cells included seven raids, five attacks with improvised explosive devices (IED), three assassinations and two ambushes. Al-Nabaa claimed that some 35 people, including 24 members of the SDF and nine pro-government fighters, were killed or wounded as a result of the operations. These numbers were not verified. The terrorist group’s most notable operations were an IED attack on a vehicle of the Syrian military in northeastern Daraa that allegedly killed an officer and three soldiers on Nov 8, an attack with an IED on an armored vehicle of US forces in southern al-Hasakah on Nov 10 and an ambush in western Deir Ezzor that claimed the lives of seven pro-government tribal fighters on Nov 13. ISIS influence in Syria has been declining for the past few years. However, the terrorist group’s cells remain a vailed threat, especially in the central and northeastern regions. The group has been benefiting greatly from the lack of any coordination between the warring parties in the country.

Syrian, Russian Forces Held New Military Exercise In Al-Qamishli: SOHR
South Front, Nov 26 2021

On Nov 26, Russian forces and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) held a joint military exercise near the city of al-Qamishli in the northeastern Syrian governorate of al-Hasakah, according to the SOHR in London. The joint military exercise was reportedly held at al-Qamishli International Airport, where Russia maintains a fairly large force. The London-based monitoring group said in a report:

The Russians used live ammunition, likely including artillery and missiles as well.

While the Kurdish SDF control most of northeastern Syria, they share control over al-Qamishli city with the SAA. Last month, Russia deployed several fighter jets at al-Qamishli International Airport and held a series of live-fire drills with the SAA in the northeastern region. The Russian military moves were a response to reports of a near Turkish-led military operation against the SDF in the region. Russia appears to be determined to deter Turkey and prevent any new military operations in northeastern Syria, where the humanitarian situation is very fragile. A few days ago, a senior delegation from the SDF’s political wing, the Syrian Democratic Council, paid a rare visit to Moscow. The delegation discussed Russian support to SDF-held areas as well as peace talks with the Damascus government. Russia’s serious support could drive the SDF away from its main backer, the US. This would be a major political win for Moscow.

Turkish Soldier Killed On Border With Turkish-Occupied Syrian Areas
South Front, Nov 26 2021

On Nov 26, the Turkish Ministry of National Defense announced that a Turkish soldier was killed on Turkey’s southeastern border with Syria. In a statement, the ministry said that the soldier, Sgt Savas Dinc, was wounded while trying to stop people from crossing the border from Turkey to Syria illegally. Dinc was transferred to the Kilis State Hospital where he succumbed to his wounds. The Syrian border line with the southeastern Turkish provinces of Kilis and Gaziantep is occupied by Turkey’s Syrian proxies. The human traffickers who mortally shot Sgt Dinc were likely members of a Turkish-backed faction. Turkey’s proxies have a monopoly over all smuggling operations along the border line in the region. Turkey has been turning a blind eye to the criminal activities of its proxies in Syria for several years now. The lack of security and stability in Turkish-occupied Syrian areas has apparently began to harm Ankara. The current Turkish policy on Syria may have hit a dead end.

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