south front

Turkey Continues Strikes On Syria, Suffers Losses In Iraq
South Front, Nov 30 2022

Turkey’s military operations against Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq continue with full force despite several recent setbacks. In northern Syria, the Turkish military continues its attacks in the framework of Operation Claw-Sword which was launched on Nov 20 in response to the Nov 13 Istanbul bombing. The Turkish military and its proxies carried out a series of artillery and rocket strikes on positions of the Kurdish-led SDF early on Nov 26. The strikes targeted the villages Zour Maghar, Zurafa, Bayadi, Ziyarah, Jarqali, to the west of the town of Kobane, in the northeastern Aleppo countryside. Kobane is a key stronghold of the SDF. Some positions of the SAA were also hit. A soldier was reportedly wounded. The army has been deployed around Kobane since 2019 to maintain peace and security under a Russian-brokered agreement.

The SAA deployed large reinforcements in the western outskirts of Kobane just a few hours before the strikes. The reinforcements included more than 20 battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, truck-mounted heavy machine guns and howitzers. Late on Nov 26, a series of Turkish airstrikes targeted positions of the SDF and the SAA in the outskirts of the towns of al-Malikiyah, Sewarxa and Maraanaz as well as within the Menagh Military Airbase in the northern countryside of Aleppo. Following the airstrikes, the Turkish military carried out a series of artillery strikes on the same areas. Heavy material losses were reported after the Turkish strikes. However, there were no casualties. The response of the SDF was limited to a few mortar and rocket strikes.

Meanwhile in northern Iraq, the Turkish military continue to suffer losses within Operation Claw-Lock zone in the Kurdistan Region on the hands of the PKK. On Nov 25, the Turkish Ministry of National Defense acknowledged that soldiers were killed in clashes with PKK fighters in Kurdistan. A day later, on Nov 26, three more soldiers were killed in a daring raid by the Kurdish guerilla group near the border. The attack was not without losses for the PKK. The group lost three of its fighters. A fourth one, a female fighter, was captured. The Turkish military received yet another blow on Nov 27, when the seventh soldier was killed in an attack by the PKK in the Operation Claw-Lock zone. Turkey is reportedly preparing to escalate its operations against Kurdish forces even further, especially in Syria. Ankara appears to be determined to launch a new ground invasion into northern Syria to weaken the SDF, despite objections from Russia and the US. Such a move will certainly start a dangerous confrontation that could spread into northern Iraq.

Russia Deploys Heavy Howitzers On Frontline With Turkish Forces In Northern Syria
South Front, Nov 30 2022

The Russian military grouping in Syria has deployed heavy howitzer near an important frontline with Turkish forces in the northern countryside of Aleppo. A video that surfaced online on Nov 30 shows a Russian battery of Msta-B towed 152 mm howitzers moving in the direction of the town of Tell Rifaat. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the battery was deployed at a newly-established position in the nearby village of Tell Jijan. The Msta-B has a maximum firing range of 25 km with base bleed rounds and up to 29 km with rocket-assisted rounds. It can also fire the laser-guided 2K25 Krasnopol round, which has a range of 20-25 km. The howitzer can fire up to six rounds per minute.

Tell Rifaat is jointly held by the SDF and the Syrian Arab Army. The Russian military has been present around the town since the 2018 Turkish invasion of the nearby area of Afrin. Turkey launched a large-scale operation against Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq, codenamed Claw-Sword, on Nov 20, in response to the Nov 13 deadly bombing in Istanbul. So far, the operation has been limited to air and artillery strikes. However, Erdogan and other senior Turkish officials have already warned of a near ground phase. Tell Rifaat was one of three towns which were recently named by Erdogan as main targets of any new ground operation in northern Syria, with the other two being the nearby towns of Manbij and Kobane.

The Russian military move near Tell Rifaat came just a day after a Turkish official told Al Jazeera that Ankara completed all military and logistic preparations needed to launch a ground operation against Kurdish forces in northern Syria. The unnamed official said that Turkey had informed Russia of its rejection of the presence of the SAA in SDF territory in northern Syria. The Russian military is not moving on Tell Rifaat frontline alone. Late on November 29, the SAA and Iranian-backed armed formations from the Shiite towns of Zahraa and Nubl deployed large reinforcement on the frontline, including several battle tanks and armored personnel carriers. The deployment of Russian and Syrian reinforcements on Tell Rifaat frontline could force Turkey to reconsider its military plans, or at least delay them.

Stoltenberg Admits Impact Of Russian Strikes, Contradicting Western media
Lucas Leiroz, South Front, Nov 30 2022

On Nov 29, the foreign ministers of NATO member countries met in Bucharest for a conference about the current issues involving the organization. One of the points commented on the occasion, including by the head of NATO, was the military impact of the air attacks that have been recently promoted by AFRF against AFU. In practice, the assertions at the summit contradicted many narratives previously spread by media and NATO itself about a possible “Ukrainian victory.” Stoltenberg said in a press conference after the alliance ministers’ summit that the latest high-intensity Russian air strikes caused immense damage to Ukrainian forces. According to him, this meeting between representatives of NATO states was necessary and timely to discuss new forms of aid to Kiev and to advance new counter-measures in view of the losses that Ukraine has suffered on the battlefield. He said to journalists:

We need to realize that there are enormous effects of the attacks. These attacks have caused significant damage. I think we all have seen these pictures taken from satellites, where you see Europe in light, and then you see Ukraine dark, and that reflects the enormous consequences. So there’s a huge task to rebuild all of this. One of the important reasons why this meeting today is so important and timely, is that this provides us with the platform to mobilize further support to step up even more, and also for Minister Kuleba to meet all his colleagues in NATO and then to address those urgent needs. And I’m confident that Minister Kuleba will raise also the need for stepping up further when it comes to rebuilding their power infrastructure.

The secretary also stated that new efforts are needed on the part of the Atlantic alliance to continue helping Kiev and strengthening its defense capacity, since the recent maneuvers have enormously harmed the Ukrainian side. The first measure in response to Russian attacks would be to send new air defense systems to Ukraine. The objective is to increase the Ukrainian ability to neutralize Russian missiles and drones, preventing them from reaching their targets, mainly those related to critical infrastructure. In this sense, he also emphasized that Western countries need to help Ukraine rebuild its damaged infrastructure. Stoltenberg added:

Here in Bucharest, at this foreign ministerial meeting, the message from all Allies will be that we need to do more, both to help Ukraine repair the destroyed critical infrastructure, including the power and gas grid, but also of course to address the attacks themselves, partly by providing more air-defense weapons systems, but also of course ensuring that those systems that we have already provided are functioning, and many of them are actually modern NATO-standard air-defense systems including NASAMS and others, meaning that we need to provide spare parts and we need to provide ammunition.

It is curious how often Westerners contradict themselves in their narratives. According to western media outlets, Ukraine is winning the conflict and inflicting a lot of damage on the Russian side. On the other hand, Moscow would be launching heavy attacks against civilian targets, without success on the battlefield. However, the NATO meeting admitted the irrefutable fact that Russian attacks are strategically aimed at military and infrastructure targets, destroying the combat logistics of enemy troops. Therefore Kiev is losing, although they have not yet clearly admitted this. The media spreads lies about the conflict with only one aim: to make the public believe in the possibility of a Ukrainian victory and to encourage its leaders to send more aid. Now that it has been proven that even with Western assistance, Kiev is not succeeding on the battlefield, the right thing to do instead of expanding would be reducing aid, considering Ukraine militarily a lost battle and seeking a peaceful solution. However, NATO proposes precisely the opposite: to boost military interventionism by sending new defense systems. In other words, the alliance once again stresses that it wants to prolong the conflict as much as possible and that it will fight until the last Ukrainian or foreign mercenary. With this, NATO makes it clear that it is at war with Russia. It is not a question of mere “aid” to Kiev, but of active participation in a large-scale military confrontation against an enemy country. In this relationship between NATO and Russia, the Ukrainian neo-Nazi regime is just a proxy, without any sovereignty, willing to obey all Western commands and unable to decide when to stop fighting.

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