|Iranian Routes to the Mediterranean Sea. Image: The New Yorker 09JUN17|
Update 18 June 2017: It seems disinformation has clouded the tactical picture in southern Syria. The 13 June update last week (directly below) regarding the conquest of Dara'a by Syrian and Hezbollah forces was premature and overly optimistic. What had been thought to be reliable OSINT turns out to have been pro-regime news reported as fact by Western media sources.
In fact, Dara'a has not been conquered despite the Syrian Army and Hezbollah's best efforts to take the city behind a significant weeks-long bombardment which included the use of napalm barrel bombs. For all intents and purposes the city of Dara'a has been blasted into rubble, large structures appear to be mere shells of their former selves.
|Dara'a on 07JUN17. Image MEMO/Anadolu Agency)|
I would speculate (actually, I expect) that the Dara'a campaign appears to be falling into an Aleppo-like grind where the the Syrian regime's offensive makes no headway resulting in the use of chemical weapons by the al-Assad regime in an attempt to break the stalemate. We all should understand what will result if this does occur as Dara'a lies just 9 miles from the Jordanian border.
Further west, at the Al-Tanf/Al-Walid border crossing, US-led CJTF-OIR forces have pushed forward approximately 45 miles northeast to the desert village of al-Zakf to establish a second base camp. Some patrols have reportedly been operating up to 60 miles north of the Jordanian-Iraqi-Syrian border triangle. On the Iraqi side of the border the Al-Walid crossing was fully secured this past week from Islamic State units by U.S. and Iraqi Army forces, permitting the deeper penetration into Islamic State, and blunting the Syria-Hezbollah advance into this region.
The CJTF-OIR forward push was augmented this week with the arrival of at least two U.S. M142 HIMARS, a highly accurate HIgh Mobility Artillery Rocket System riding on the back of a 6x6 all-terrain vehicle which deployed into Al-Tanf. The introduction of the HIMARS has caused great consternation for the Russians, as well as the Iranians. It places Syrian-Hezbollah and other Iranian-militia troops at risk of devastating strikes should they make further moves into the CJTF-OIR Area of Responsibility (AoR) in southern Syria. HIMARS enables CJTF-OIR forces to reach out and touch the enemy up to 180 miles away.
13 June 2017: The situation along Syria's southern border has seen dramatic change in the past 24 hours. The city of Dara'a just north of the Jordanian border is now under the control of the Syrian 4th Division and Hezbollah. Syrian anti-regime fighters have reportedly retreated south into Jordan or east towards the CJTF-OIR base at the Al-Tanf/Al-Walid border crossing defended by US, UK, NATO and Jordanian SpecOps troops and air power.
Most other information of the past 48 hours about southern Syria is either disinformation or pure propaganda coming from Russian, Syrian, Iranian or their proxies. Further update coming...
11 June 2017: This past Tuesday, 6 June, coalition aircraft attacked a second convoy of Iranian, Hezbollah and Syrian armored vehicles and troops threatening the CJTF-OIR base at Al-Tanf. The convoy was stopped dead in its tracks, most of it destroyed. It is this region shaded gray in the above map and in detail in the below map where the Syrian war appears most likely, as has been started here previously, to be where a great clash continues to be on a steady simmer.
On Friday, 9 June, as reported by The New Yorker, Iran-supported Shi'a militias reached the Syrian border from inside Iraq, and this is somewhat reflected in the above map. But the map has to be looked at closely. As you can see the primary route passes through Iraqi Kurdistan or Syrian Kurdistan. This hardly provides Iran clear passage from Iran to Lebanon, yet that is precisely what most media has been claiming, rather prematurely I might add. Iran does not control the major highways from its border to Lebanon.
|The current eastern Syria war zone. ISW Graphic.|
30 May 2017: Today, as reported by TASS, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made the not-so-veiled threat of a possible Russian-US military confrontation in eastern Syria. This is the potential confrontation Eschatology Today has been warning about in this series of Syrian Situation SITREPs. Lavrov accused the US-led coalition of directly infringing on Syrian sovereignty and said "these issues need to be settled, which is what our military is currently engaged in."
The Iranian's are buoyed by this open Russian support for the combat operations their forces are engaged in eastern Syria and in northwestern Iraq (Hashd al-Sha'abi Shi'a militia), and now it appears they are seeking to directly engage in combat against the forces of the US-led CJTF-OIR and NATO which joined the Coalition effort recently. Iran informed Russia yesterday during a meeting in Moscow it is ready to double the size of the force it currently has deployed in Syria. The Hashd al-Sha'abi militia is rapidly becoming known as the Iranian Hezbollah of Iraq. This Shi'a Iraqi militia, under direct orders form the IRGC in Tehran will almost certainly now invade eastern Syria.
The US has been dropping leaflets specifically instructing the Iranian militias and Hezbollah to withdraw their forces from the Syrian border regions on the Golan and Israeli frontier, and from all along the Jordanian border as well as the Iraqi border. The warning states that any movement of these Iranian forces towards CJTF-OIR Coalition and/or NATO forces will be viewed as hostile movements and attacked accordingly. The Iranian directed confrontation with US CJTF-OIR allies, the Kurdish/Arab Syrian Democratic Forces, as well as the New Free Syrian Army is now only a matter of time. The literal fulfillment of Isaiah 17 and Jeremiah 49:23-27 will be the result of this imminent warfare.
28 May 2017: Al Mayadin (a/k/a Al-Mayadeen) is a small town in eastern Syria's Euphrates River valley. It lies closer to the Iraqi border town of Al-Qaim than it does to the Islamic State's de facto capital of Ar-Raqqa. Just to the north lies Dier ez Zor (a/k/a Dayr az Zawr), one of the focal points in the war against Islamic State.