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Av loren adams - 17 oktober 2015 13:16

Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad is launching his first major offensive since Russia began its intervention on his behalf. Iran has also joined the offensive, reportedly sending one of its largest ground forces to date, including fighters from Hezbollah and Iraqi Shia militias.

But even with all that, Assad's campaign so far does not seem to be working, according to a report by the Institute for the Study of War.

"The Syrian regime has not gained much terrain in the first week of its large-scale ground offensive against rebel forces, despite support from intensified Russian airstrikes and hundreds of Iranian proxy reinforcements," Chris Kozak, a Syria research analyst at ISW, writes. "Operations against the Syrian opposition will likely prove harder and slower than anticipated by either Russia or Iran."

Russia's airstrikes and Iranian troops are, so far, not turning the tide for Assad

ISW, widely considered the best outside group in tracking shifts on the ground in Syria, locates most of the offensive in rebel-held territory in northwest Syria. That's the yellow patch in the red-circled area on the below map — the heaviest site of Russian bombardment:

 (Institute for the Study of War)

Yet Assad-allied forces, which began their campaign about a week ago, have so far made minimal gains, at best, in those areas.

"Confirmed reports indicate that pro-regime fighters have seized only six villages and towns, while rebel forces repelled heavy attacks against several key positions," Kozak writes. He illustrates this point with a more granular map of the fighting in the area, which shows both towns taken by the regime and those recaptured by the rebels:

 (Institute for the Study of War)

Moreover, this assault has come at real costs for Assad.

"Regime forces suffered heavy losses in manpower and materiel in the face of heavy rebel resistance," Kozak writes. "Free Syrian Army (FSA)-affiliated rebels forces claimed to destroy at least twenty tanks and armored vehicles as well as a helicopter gunship in a 'tank massacre' on the first day of the offensive. ... Continued heavy casualties may leave pro-regime forces vulnerable to a counterattack by Syrian rebels."

It would seem that, at least so far, neither the Russian nor Iranian deployments are substantial enough to fundamentally alter the balance of power on the ground. That could certainly change, and perhaps Assad's campaign will ultimately break through, but at the moment this is looking like a failure for him and his allies.

This has costs for Russia as well. The Associated Press's Vladimir Isachenkov points out, "Protracted Russian military action without any visible gains by the Syrian army would quickly erode the propaganda effect Putin has achieved with his bombing blitz."

Again, maybe things will change on the ground. But so far this is not looking good for Assad or his allies.

ANNONS
Av loren adams - 16 oktober 2015 17:51

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. 


 

ANNONS
Av loren adams - 15 oktober 2015 15:13

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will keep 5,500 U.S troops in Afghanistan when he leaves office in 2017, according to senior administration officials, casting aside his promise to end the war on his watch and instead ensuring he hands the conflict off to his successor.

   

Obama had originally planned to pull out all but a small, embassy-based U.S military presence by the end of next year, a timeline coinciding with the final weeks of his presidency. But military leaders argued for months that the Afghans needed additional assistance and support from the U.S to beat back a resurgent Taliban and hold onto gains made over the last 14 years of American bloodshed and billions of dollars in aid.

The president was to announce the changes Thursday morning from the White House. Officials said he would outline plans to maintain the current force of 9,800 troops in Afghanistan through most of next year, then draw down to 5,500 troops in 2017, at a pace still to be determined by commanders.

The officials previewed the decisions on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly ahead of the president.

U.S officials have been hinting at the policy shift for weeks, noting that conditions on the ground in Afghanistan have changed since Obama's initial decision on a sharper troop withdrawal timeline was made more than two years ago. The White House has also been buoyed by having a more reliable partner in Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who succeeded the mercurial Hamid Karzai last year.

"The narrative that we're leaving Afghanistan is self-defeating," Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Wednesday during a speech at the Association of the U.S Army. "We're not, we can't and to do so would not be to take advantage of the success we've had to date."

While officials said the Afghan policy had been under review for several months, Obama's decision to leave more forces in Afghanistan than initially envisioned was reinforced when Taliban fighters took control of the key northern city of Kunduz late last month, prompting a protracted battle with Afghan forces on the ground, supported by U.S airstrikes. During the fighting, a U.S airstrike hit a hospital, killing 22 people, including 12 Doctors Without Borders staff and 10 patients.

Beyond the recent security troubles in Afghanistan, U.S commanders have also expressed concern about Islamic State fighters moving into the country and gaining recruits from within the Taliban.

The troops staying in Afghanistan beyond next year will continue to focus on counterterrorism missions and training and advising Afghan security forces, the officials said. They will be based in Kabul and Bagram Air Field, as well as bases in Jalalabad and Kandahar.

The president's decision to keep the U.S military in Afghanistan beyond his tenure thrusts the conflict into the 2016 presidential race. The next president will become the third U.S commander-in-chief to oversee the war, with the options of trying to bring it to a close, maintaining the presence as Obama left it or even ramping up U.S involvement in the conflict.

Until now, Afghanistan has barely factored into campaign discussions on foreign policy and was not mentioned in Tuesday's Democratic debate. The war was discussed only briefly in two Republican debates.

Officials said discussions on staying in Afghanistan longer began during Ghani's visit to Washington in March. The top U.S commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Campbell, recently presented the president with a range of options calling for keeping more troops there based on his judgment of what it would take to sustain the Afghan army and minimize the chances of losing more ground.

Officials said NATO allies had expressed support for extending the troop presence in Afghanistan, but they did not outline any specific commitments from other nations.

Last week, during a meeting of defense ministers, Carter urged allies to remain flexible and consider abandoning their earlier timelines to cut troop levels in Afghanistan. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and other defense ministers were quick to agree, saying that the size of the force should be based on security conditions rather than a fixed timeline.

Upending the troop withdrawal decision, however, carries broad political implications.

Obama campaigned for the White House on a pledge to end America's involvement in the two wars he inherited, Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, he'll likely finish his presidency with troops back in both countries.

The president did withdraw all U.S troops from Iraq in late 2011, a moment he heralded as a promise kept to a war-weary nation. But the rise of the Islamic State drew the U.S military back into Iraq last year to train and assist local security forces and launch airstrikes, a campaign Obama has said will likely last beyond his tenure.

Obama announced the end of the Afghan war with similar fanfare last spring, saying it was time for the U.S to "turn the page" on more than a decade of deadly conflicts. But his remarks at the time also foreshadowed the difficulties he would face in fulfilling that pledge.

"Americans have learned that it's harder to end wars than it is to begin them," he said.

___

Av loren adams - 14 oktober 2015 10:47

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian troops backed by Russian airstrikes advanced against insurgents in the center of the country as President Vladimir Putin defended Moscow's intervention in the conflict, saying it would aid efforts to reach a political settlement.

    Putin said Moscow's objective was to stabilize the Syrian government and create conditions for a political compromise.

"When a division of international terrorists stands near the capital, then there is probably little desire for the Syrian government to negotiate, most likely feeling itself under siege in its own capital," he said in an interview with Russian state television broadcast on Sunday.

Critics of Russia's intervention have argued that strengthening the government will only make compromise more difficult, and on Sunday the main Western-backed opposition group said the strikes would undermine any efforts to reach a settlement.

The Syrian National Coalition also said it would boycott talks suggested by U.N envoy Staffan de Mistura, saying any political process must be based on "ending the Russian aggression" and reviving a roadmap adopted in 2012.

The fighting Sunday was on multiple fronts in the northern part of the central Hama province and the nearby rebel-held Idlib province. A Syrian military official said troops seized the northern Hama village of Tak Sukayk. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

It was the second village in the area captured by the government since it launched a wide-ranging ground offensive made possible by Russian airstrikes that began Sept. 30.

 
Av loren adams - 13 oktober 2015 07:46

  Thanks my wonderful woman..Key to my heart..My War Queen..my Angel..My hummy bird...My everything.

from my heart..Today is the begining of the week..you made my week Beautiful.

Av loren adams - 12 oktober 2015 07:49

  WASHINGTON (AP) — CIA-backed rebels in Syria, who had begun to put serious pressure on President Bashar Assad's forces, are now under Russian bombardment with little prospect of rescue by their American patrons, U.S officials say.

Over the past week, Russia has directed parts of its air campaign against U.S.-funded groups and other moderate opposition in a concerted effort to weaken them, the officials say. The Obama administration has few options to defend those it had secretly armed and trained.

The Russians "know their targets, and they have a sophisticated capacity to understand the battlefield situation," said Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee and was careful not to confirm a classified program. "They are bombing in locations that are not connected to the Islamic State" group.

Other U.S officials interviewed spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The CIA began a covert operation in 2013 to arm, fund and train a moderate opposition to Assad. Over that time, the CIA has trained an estimated 10,000 fighters, although its current size isn't clear.

The effort was separate from the one run by the military, which trained militants willing to promise to take on IS exclusively. That program was widely considered a failure, and on Friday, the Defense Department announced it was abandoning the goal of a U.S.-trained Syrian force, instead opting to equip established groups to fight IS.

For years, the CIA effort had foundered — so much so that over the summer, some in Congress proposed cutting its budget. Some CIA-supported rebels had been captured; others had defected to extremist groups. The secret CIA program is the only way the U.S is taking on Assad militarily. In public, the United States has focused its efforts on fighting IS and urging Assad to leave office voluntarily.

"Probably 60 to 80 percent of the arms that America shoveled in have gone to al-Qaida and its affiliates," said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma.

But in recent months, CIA-backed groups, fighting alongside more extremist factions, began to make progress in Syria's south and northwest, American officials say. In July and August, U.S.-supported rebels seized territory on the al-Ghab plain, in northwest Syria's Idlib and Hama governorates. The plain is a natural barrier between areas controlled by Sunni Muslims and the Alawite sect to which Assad and his loyalists belong. The capture of the al-Ghab plain was seen as a breakthrough toward weakening the Alawites.

Those and other gains put Damascus, the capital, at risk, officials say.

 
Av loren adams - 8 oktober 2015 19:20

 

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Russian warships in the Caspian Sea fired cruise missiles Wednesday as Syrian government troops launched a ground offensive in central Syria in the first major combined air-and-ground assault since Moscow began its military campaign in the country last week.

The missiles flew nearly 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) over Iran and Iraq and struck Raqqa and Aleppo provinces in the north and Idlib province in the northwest, Russian officials said. The Islamic State group has strongholds in Raqqa and Aleppo, while the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front has a strong presence in Idlib.

U.S Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Russia was continuing to strike targets other than Islamic State militants, adding that he was concerned about the Syrian ground offensive backed by Moscow's airpower.

 
Av loren adams - 4 oktober 2015 10:06

the Love of nature is in our heart

no nice nature here

  

i'm here in my room

Relaxing

 i watch TV
but at times..i prefer to watch it alone with the PC

 and exercise

 



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