ANALYSIS: Aleppo is free – Where further will Syrian forces go? Urgent need to reform the Syrian army,history and future of Republican Guard and the 4th Armored Division,”Tigers” and “Hawks” in post war Syria,Weaknesses of high command and coruptions

ANALYSIS: Aleppo is free - Where further will Syrian forces go? 

Aleppo, Syria's second largest city and economic heart of the country is liberated. With a frantic propaganda is carried out evacuation of the remaining members of terrorist groups and their family members, but Damascus for the "concession" managed to extort the evacuation of people from a Shiite enclave in the Islamist environment in the province of Idlib, cities and Foua Kafarya. Many are wondering who will be the next target of the Syrian army? Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that they are now created conditions for starting negotiations between the conflicting parties, but they certainly do not come, at least until the arrival of the new US administration. The analyzes on which to operational direction could switch Syrian forces and the allies are different.

Palmyra or go back to Idlib?

Anton Mardasov for Al-Monitor, the pan-Arab online portal based in Washington, writes, "that in Russia, joy over the progress of Syrian forces in Aleppo suppressed bitterness over the loss of Palmyra in just a few days." "The loss of Palmyra was a blow prestige, including our own," December 11, the Interfax said General Yuri Balujevski, former Chief of General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.

He said that the so-called "Islamic State" has recently managed to re-occupy Palmyra due to errors in military planning and intelligence failures in monitoring the accumulation of enemy forces in the area. Russian Defense Ministry has announced that Syrian forces should leave the Palmyra "because of the large number of enemy soldiers, and these numbers are growing." On December 11, it is mentioned that the Palmyra of 4 000 terrorists attacked ISIL, and the next day the figure reached 5, 000. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said "they have information that the Palmyra attacked ISIL in Syria who have fled the Iraqi city of Mosul, and all can be part of a strategic plan to reduce pressure on militant groups in the eastern Aleppo".

Among the Russian experts pad historical city of Palmyra in the hands of so-called "caliphate" was interpreted in two ways. According to the first, Americans are ensure transit of terrorists from Mosul and encourage them to attack and occupy Palmyra. Another suggests that the Gulf monarchies were the ones who financed the whole operation, only to reduce the pressure on Aleppo. Russians generally believe that the attack was politically motivated, and that fits into the overall relations of Russia with the West, at least under the Obama administration.

On the other hand, those who deny US involvement or the Gulf monarchies to attack Palmyra, claim "that if he had ties to Aleppo, then it started two weeks earlier." In addition, it is emphasized that "relatively calm" were the Islamist terrorist group southwest of Aleppo or Hama, which, during the operation in the eastern Aleppo have not started any serious military operation. This has reportedly enabled the Syrian army and allies to focus on Aleppo. Regarding the statement of the Russian Ministry of Defence on the number of militants who attacked Palmyra, even the Russian and Syrian journalists doubt this assessment and says that the attack was carried out of approximately 2 000 terrorists, and sent reinforcements to the eastern part of the province of Homs were not significant. But where it came from, even to 2 000 soldiers with heavy weapons, which, judging by the footage, passed a good military training? In the area around Palmyra there are only two small oasis, a hamlet of about a hundred residents Arak and slightly larger village Sukhnah?

Washington claims that there were no major regrouping of terrorist forces in the direction of Palmyra, as the number of fighters in Mosul ISIL without tribal militias loyal to the "Caliphate", remained 5 000, but there is still fighting. Second, defending ISIL Al-Bab and continues to fight against the so-called "Syrian democratic forces", and Kurds in the provinces of Raqqa, Deir Ez-Zor and Hasaka. Third, ISIL and its individual commanders are quite independent in making decisions and is usually conducted attacks with dozens of mobile group, made up of a relatively small number of fighters, mainly 15 to 30 militants. This is a tactic ISIL chosen because it avoids the efficient operation of Russian and Syrian Air Force. The same tactic was used, and when first assigning the Palmyra, and it had served this time. ISIL offensive launched on December 8, Palmyra and gradually progressed to marginal urban areas, took over control of the oil fields, checkpoints and key sectors on their way to the city.

It is interesting that the American Internet portal pan-Arab Al-Monitor quoted its source from the "Caliphate", which states "that the initial plan was never retake the city, but to rob a warehouse of military equipment." However, despite massive support from the air, which before the fall of the city lasted only during the night of 10 on December 11, Syrian forces have failed to repel the attack of well-trained and, one must admit, fanatically "brave" terrorist caliphate. In addition, ISIL is liberally used suicide bombers, who were on the city's defense line launched attacks from at least these crucial areas.

Finally, on 11 December afternoon the ISIL took control of the city.Later he went to the Air Force Base and the T-4, Homs and Qaryatayn, west and southwest of Palmyra. But today the situation is about the same as it was after the fall of Palmyra in the hands of terrorists, "the Islamic state," a Air Force Base T-4 is in the hands of the Syrian army. It should be recognized that the situation in Palmyra showed that government forces do not have enough resources to hold hundreds of kilometers of the fight against various Islamist groups, which are active on the southern borders of Syria to the border with Turkey. Keep control of the western provinces, and at the same time keep a successful surgery at the center and east of the country is simply impossible. Of course, it was decided that all the key forces focus on Aleppo, a city that has a greater strategic and political value of Palmira. But now the battle of Aleppo is over and now Damascus disposal numerous and most capable fighting force. Military analysts and lay people are wondering whether they will be used for re-release of Palmyra or they will go to some other direction? Palmira, in addition to the symbolic meaning, important in a strategic sense, because this city as a key logistic center for future progress towards Deir Ez-Zor. However, the recapture of Palmyra requires the movement of a large number of troops on the road to the city Itriyah, on the southern borders of Raqqa, where they ISIL in desert areas attacked from several directions, and before they reach the eastern Homs. So, if the General Staff of the Syrian army decides to do so, will have to reckon with a number of terrorist attacks "caliphate", suicide bombers and small mobile groups, which could cause considerable damage. We should not forget that much depends on the decisions of the Kremlin, that the situation in eastern Homs could be used as an argument in talks with the new US administration on cooperation in Syria. At the same time, the new offensive in Palmyra weakened southern and south-western front near Aleppo, which the Islamist group from Idlib could be used to launch a new offensive in the area. So, it is rather difficult to predict possible actions of Syrian forces and allies, as compared pad Palmyra and the liberation of Aleppo. The Palmyra took ISIL and he must be destroyed, while among the Islamist groups in Idlib there are multiple factions, and some are associated with groups in the area of ​​Damascus, which after news of Aleppo starting to give up the "revolution" and take the weapon. After confirming the defeat of terrorists in the eastern Aleppo is west of Damascus in a single day passed weapon of 1 500 militants, and today they have decided to take this step, and members of militant groups in Akiyama, south of Damascus, where the government forces surrender of 3 000 soldiers . Armed militants were Akiyama, including those from the nearby Khan El-Sheik, who have done this before, decided to surrender, seek amnesty and legal status as part of the reconciliation process. As for the southern province of Quneitra and Dara'a, there is a cease-fire agreement for a long time in force and Syrian forces do not enter into conflict with the troops "southern front" so-called "Free Syrian Army" (FSA), although there the last word leading Al-Nusra Front and groups associated with Saudi Arabia and with the American instructors in Jordan. In this context, under pressure from Damascus to Moscow could launch an assault on ISIL, and continue cleaning Islamist enclaves in Eastern gout. However, part of the Syrian military leadership claims "in order to go after the Aleppo to Idlib," which has its own logic, as this would provide a security perimeter around Aleppo and taking the highway M5 establish direct communication with Damascus. "Provincial Council" currently estimates that the Idlib has more than two million people. However, this data is "Provincial Government" that operates through 144 local councils, all of which are under the control of Al-Nusra Front and Ahrar group Al-Sham, so they should be taken with a grain of salt. In Idlib so-called "Free Syrian Army" does not exist, ie, operates within the Islamist Ahrar Al-Shama. This group is almost indistinguishable and it is very difficult to say which of them is made up of local radicalized Sunnis, a terrorist group that mostly are foreigners. Bashar Al-Assad has no doubts on the matter. All Islamist militants who are fighting against the government forces are terrorists, which is not wrong definition, a real Syrian Sunnis who saw the degree of radicalism among Islamic terrorist groups had surrendered and joined the reconciliation process. According to yesterday's report of the Russian Center for monitoring the ceasefire in the database Hmeymim, "so far, a total of 1,065 populated areas whose leaders signed an agreement on reconciliation and negotiations for the truce conducted with field commanders of illegal armed groups in Muaddamiyet Al-Shikh, in the province of Damascus and the commanders of the armed opposition in the provinces of Homs, Hama, Aleppo and Quneitra. "

"So far, the field commanders of the 94 illegal armed signed the armistice and adhere to it," reads the website of the Russian Ministry of Defense.

On the other hand we have the withdrawal of Islamist militants in the province of Idlib, which strengthens the percentage of West important "moderate opposition". The new strategy is to Ahrar al-Sham form a new coalition that will unite the group of so-called "Free Syrian Army", and the same should renounce Al-Nusra Front, which would make the West and Turkey recognized as a new "legitimate opposition force." As an argument for the new rebranding states that the group Ahrar al-Sham and other "moderate" forces together with the Turkish army active against "Islamic state" in the field of fighting Al-Baba. This scenario most of the terrorist groups trying to get into the political process solution of the Syrian crisis. However, so far has proved that these groups, instead of separating from the Al-Nusra Front, has merged with terrorists and that there has been a radicalization of the Sunni population. In addition, these forces, regardless of the Turkish operation "Shield Euphrates" where participates around 5000 proturskih Islamist militants, mainly do not want to fight against "Islamic state", and clearly have made it clear that they want to overthrow Assad and establish Islamist formations following the example of Saudi Arabia or Egypt during the short reign of Mohammed Murcia. In each case, the Islamists accumulated in the Idlib should not be underestimated, although well organized military campaign against them was much easier enforceable in the plains of the province, but in densely populated urban areas, such as Aleppo or Damascus and the surrounding region of the Syrian capital.

However, the question is whether the Syrian Arab Army have the resources and power to implement it. Eugene Krutikov, a former Russian officer, now a military analyst, believes that the first should reform the Syrian forces, part of which is at a very high level of combat readiness, while some parts proved to be the weak link, which is why there has been a loss of Palmyra, on we talked about at the beginning

"After Aleppo need to reform the Syrian army"

The government forces in Syria are in just one week has shown that they are able to carry out a brilliant operation in Aleppo, or shameful to lose Palmyra. Around withdrawal from Palmyra to a furore and the whole Syrian army declared incompetent and that without foreign assistance is not able to break free and to keep not one less village or place of several thousand people, let alone take great combat operations. Well, forget that the Syrian government forces very heterogeneous and it is difficult to manage them, which is one of the main problems, apart from the other weaknesses, especially corruption, which erodes not only Syria, but also the army much larger and more powerful countries of Syria. Let's take just an example of Ukraine, where corruption in the military in the last 25 years destroyed the armed forces to such an extent that only with the help of foreign fighters is volunteer neo-Nazi and nationalist battalions managed to accomplish only one win, one in Slavyansk in the summer of 2014. Later, the Ukrainians to the east of the country lined one defeat after another, which eventually led to the establishment of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republic.

So far, no one has dealt with corruption in the Syrian army, perhaps until 2011, when he was forced to act, but the consequences on the ground were obvious. Today, after more than five years of war, weakness in the chain of command and corruption must be eradicated or will be detrimental to conduct further operations.

Before the war, the Syrian army was considered the strongest in the Arab region, although the last time the fight against the enemy led back in 1984 in Lebanon. In half a century of conflict with Israel have identified shortcomings in its structure, organization and weaponry. The Syrian Arab Army and its doctrine gave excessive importance of defense, with a lot of anti-tank weapons, which are in Syria mainly come from Russia, but during the war and from other countries. By 2011 they formed a large armored units, as a result of local arms race in the light of the situation in Lebanon and the Golan Heights. At the same time the growth of social tension and there is a local rebellion '80. and '90s, when he created a lot of paramilitary groups, which are now proved to be the most capable and most highly motivated government forces. In the period of transition from civil unrest in an open armed rebellion, the process by which operated outside the Syrian army is rapidly crumbling.

A number of combat troops have turned back and robbed military property and technology. Some officers, mostly Sunnis, and Kurds and Turkoman, eventually founded "Movement of Free Officers" and "Free Syrian Army", which was considered the main "enemy moderate" government, and at an early stage of formation is supported by the CIA s and many European countries. At first, the "Movement of Free Officers" led by Colonel Hussein Harmush engineering troops, who deserted in the summer of 2011.A high school in the Military Academy named after Assad, Colonel Harmush studied Russian language, then was sent for training in Russia, where he specialized in "military engineer," and later gets Lt. Colonel in the 11th Division and was sent to study at the Academy for national security.

Study in Russia and preparing for work in the structure of the Syrian intelligence services have evidence that it was an officer of confidence by promising military career. However, he deserted to Turkey, where it is of "anything and everything", mostly Syrian deserters, began to create "secular armed groups", which are in practice used terrorist methods. After a few months by the Syrian services kidnapped in the territory of Turkey and January 2012, convicted and executed for treason, desertion and terrorism. In the initial phase of the war was due to the outflow of the officer cadre was impossible to use all the technical potential of the Syrian army, and during the war the equipment several times passed from hand to hand. The volume of foreign military assistance is also difficult to judge, although it is not absent because the Syrian army since the war began arming Iran and Russia. But the government forces today is not so important number of military personnel and equipment, which is abundant, as much psychological state and quality of combat training fighters. The last year and a half of fierce battles always hear the names of several famous commander, who move around the country. It turns out that their main task of patching up holes in the defense or to participate, sometimes alone, in key offensive operations. And despite the fact that most of them, at least formally, stick to the official line of the Ministry of Defence, these are actually poludobrovoljačke and even "private" units. The "old" divisions and brigades have remained only on paper, are much smaller and quite demoralized. Even most of the infantry, which is currently displayed on most of the draft military operations, formed by militias and is not formally linked to the Ministry of Defence, with the exception of the Republican Guard. In addition, it is possible to literally fingers indicate parts of the old units, which are still active and retain combat capability and strength of the pre-war. Some of them are even improve combat readiness, but they are few. In fact, these units are made up of veterans of the war and highly motivated volunteers, among which is dominated by members of ethnic and religious minorities.

Sunni part of the volunteer units is much smaller, with the exception of the Palestinians Liwa Al-Quds Force. Those that exist are also highly motivated to fight, or enjoy a certain kind of autonomy. On the other side we have a huge part of the infantry forces that do not have any motivation, they are poorly trained and have no idea of ​​modern warfare tactics, a propensity for panic. Their use, even in the background garrisons, leading to catastrophic results, as seen recently in Palmyra.

Republican Guard and the 4th Armored Division

Republican Guard was formed by Hafez al-Assad in the mid '70s, at the time of the fight against some Palestinian factions and for the protection of the ruling family. The officers in the Republican Guard could only be relatives of the ruling family or people who have proven their loyalty to the government. It is interesting that the Republican Guard for their loyalty to the government received revenues from oil production in the province of Deir Ez-Zor. Republican Guard in structure reminiscent of a regular-motorized infantry unit, with the addition of special forces and Tank Battalion "Desert Lions".

2016, with the efforts of Russian military advisers, created "The regiment of marines," which has been actively involved in the fighting in the province of Latakia. The main difference of the Republican Guard, which is fully comprised of Alawite, is what is it compared to the other had the advantage in obtaining new equipment and weapons. But Russia that is changing and this creates special "tiger" of power and 4th Armoured Division, both close to Russian advisors. Russian instructors are Syrian elite forces started to build from scratch and teach them modern warfare tactics, which must be adapted to the configuration of the battlefield.

The Syrians had no idea, for example, that there are such assault groups and the level of battalions or tactical units. Syrian army remained in the time of the Arab-Israeli war, with the mandatory "waves" infantry acting with the support of tanks. Interaction, even among neighboring units, has been weakened by division at headquarters or local ambitions of some of the commanders. Perhaps the lack of knowledge in handling modern weapons in this part was the smallest problem. The second largest, the level of training and combat readiness of the 4th Armored Division, also emerged from the paramilitary "Defense Forces" or the group "Saraya ad-Difa '. Her command of Maher Al-Assad, younger brother of the president, known as a controversial and difficult character. Up to 90% of soldiers Brigade which, according to various estimates, has between 12,000 and 25,000 people are professionals, but about 80% of the fighters are Alawites. Like the Republican Guard, a structural unit looks like a normal armored division, with the addition of artillery and special forces. The most dangerous period of the war on some officer positions of the 4th Armored Division called Sunnis, primarily to stop the corruption and desertion. During the war, the troops passed almost all major fronts, but part of the regularly used in Damascus and the surrounding area, where they act as a presidential "Praetorians".

"Tigers" and "Hawks"

One story in the Syrian war is widely known, and that troops "Tigers" and "Desert Hawks". These poludobrovoljačke troops high combat readiness, motivated and capable, specialized for offensive operations. "Desert Hawks" are typical paramilitary mercenary troops, who during the war by force of circumstance becomes a regular army. 2013 retired army general Mohammed Jaber via connection gets concession in the oil business and by veterans from various military branches form a brigade to protect its interest in the province of Homs. This was in the beginning, when the "Desert Hawks' guard only oil interests General Jaber, including areas deep in the desert, all the way to the border with Jordan. When the terrorists began to seriously jeopardize its operations, general Jaber and his "hawks" are joined by government forces. This mercenary army unit proved to be highly successful, having participated in an attack on a number of key towns and mountain peaks in the province of Latakia. For example, during the liberation of the Armenian town Kessaba or Al-Qaryatayn in the province of Homs. They were on the front line during the liberation of Palmyra. But then launched a clumsy attack on Raqqa, which could have catastrophic consequences.

The main problem of the use of volunteer mercenary troops in key offensive operations is that no one can know that at some point the real motivation of their owners. True, these are veterans, well-trained, but in tactical terms it would be good to have them always can count on the go. "Desert Hawks" have proved to be good fighters, but their officers do not indicate an intention to adopt new tactics of warfare.

A somewhat different story is the well-known "Tigers" commander General dry Al-Hassan. By the beginning of the war he was a colonel, after a lifetime serving air defense in the Air Force, including the so-called limited special operations. General Suheil Al-Hassan is the new generation of the Syrian army, arose during the war. The man who is of ordinary officers took the initiative and command of fighters, which is made from scratch "elite". Its units have become the most charismatic and decisive in all the important battles. I commander, General Suheil Al-Hassan, has an extraordinary character, but partly fell behavior. Few commanders before shelling, over loud speakers, read their own poems addressed to the enemy. This may be irrelevant, but interesting detail from career Commander "Tiger". "Tigers", namely "Tiger forces" or "Al-Qawat Al-Nimr," consist of subgroups – "Gepard". One group participated in unblocking the military airport in Aleppo Kweires. A single moving to General Al-Hassan, who referred to him known reasons refuses to increase the number of teams that never exceed 1,000 people. According to some reports, during the fight for eastern Aleppo has his troops lacked ammunition for 800 people. This loss of "Tigers" have received very painful, it is not the end result that they can now participate in a very limited offensive operations, but only with the support of the Republican Guard and allies – the Palestinians, Hezbollah or the Iranians. "Tigers" quickly learn various tactical innovation, which quite skillfully used, depending on the terrain and mode of fighting. So, in the province of Homs, they can "push" Ranger of the first line of the enemy, destroy it, and then quickly withdraw without losses. In fact, this is a great tactic used in the fighting for the farm Al-Mallah, north of Aleppo, when everyone wondered why the "Tigers" day advance deep into the Islamist positions, and in the evening return to the starting line? Now they know the answer and that nothing was accidental. So terrorizing the enemy, "Tigers" will not only prevent his attacks, but Islamists weak to the extent that in the end have to withdraw from the previously occupied position.

General Suheil Al-Hassan has quickly found a common language with Russian military advisers, but retains a high degree of autonomy from the General Staff in Damascus. He even has a certain independence in terms of supply, but it is more a problem than an advantage Syrian army. Some very large and combat-ready units live "by the mercy of" local communities and individuals. Unfortunately, the total supply of the army is very disturbed system, which was one of the main causes of mass desertion at the beginning of the war. In fact, poor supply is a time bomb in the foundations of the entire Syrian defense system. Another major drawback is that some units are filled at the local level, and combatants is often difficult to convince to move from his native province to another front.

Most of the small village on the front line battlefield defend the local police, who do not have the motivation to fight outside their village. The same applies to units that are formed on ethnic or religious grounds. The most famous example of the Kurds, who even during the battle for Aleppo did not come out beyond its Neighbourhood, which rather irritated other soldiers. Alavitska Republican Guard is the opposite of the Kurds. For them, the outcome of the war is also the question of physical survival, so they are ready to fight across the country, including to fill gaps in the defense.

Weaknesses of high command

The increase combat capabilities of the Syrian army in the last year and a half was notable only for the above units. Some of the others, though not all, are sometimes shown incredible tactical weakness and decline in morality. Events in Palmyra are direct proof that the 11th Armored Division just collapsed. Ignorance intelligence techniques and lack of tactical knowledge is more difficult banal cowardice and weakness of command. The defense against attack mobile terrorist groups did not fall apart because of offensive tactics ISIL, which is actually quite predictable, to the extent that it has become monotonous, but for fear Veterans of suicide bombers. By the way, there is evidence that some generals from Palmyra aircraft came directly to the General Staff in Damascus. This could be considered an open act of betrayal, as was 2011. The reasons for this behavior and defeats are ridiculous and are weak discipline. In principle, the General Staff was one of the weakest government forces. First, there are many generals badly qualified for the adoption of new tactical schemes and strategic planning of these people has always come too late. In this sense, the brigade and separate commanders were much more flexible and learn new attack tactics in just one year. Second, following the terrorist attacks in July 2012, which killed many senior Syrian generals, including the defense minister, the vacancies are placed less trained and experienced officers. The same applies for security and intelligence structures.

Third, the planning of the operation until recently was very slow, and the choice of strategic objectives did not depend so much on military need, but on the political situation. For example, unsuccessful and unprepared attack on Raqqa is the result of political decisions, which is an important operation in Aleppo postponed for several months. Russian air force has long been used to support offensive operations in secondary directions or to strengthen the defense, which is often not coordinated with the activities of Syrian forces on the mainland. And fourth, and perhaps most importantly, the Syrian General Staff there are several different influential groups, which do not allow military leaders to develop a unique long-term plan for the liberation of the country.

"Most of the shortcomings of the Syrian army, as can be seen, can be solved. Of course, you're in Syrian allies, Hezbollah and the Iranians, who knew unintentionally hinder some tactical operations. Not that they were wrong, but it is impossible in the midst of a battle to waste time for lunch and prayer and do not show up on time at pre-arranged place. Initially Hezbollah played a very important role in several areas, but with the increase in the number of losses fell and motivation and Hezbollah are now focused on the areas where they live friendly Shiite population, "said Russian analyst Aleksandr Krutikov.

However, this is the wrong approach, although this is for Hezbollah current selection, this group struggled throughout Syria, no matter which religious or ethnic group to be defended. But even temporary focusing on Shiite areas to the argument propaganda which claims "to be in Syria leading a sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shiites." Islamist propaganda is hardly welcomed this information and it is full of curses and insults, religious and racist, anti-Shia in general, not only on account of Hezbollah, and these are all details that need to be careful. Limited in its application and the other allied units, for example, and Palestinian militias, regardless of their religious affiliation. Liwa Al-Quds forces were very well motivated, until they were expelled Islamists from their camp Handarat in the northeastern part of Aleppo. In fact, the Palestinians now have only one sworn enemy, a group of Harakat Al-Noureddin females, responsible for the well-known slaughter of the Palestinian child. However, the defeat of the terrorist group the Palestinians as they begin to lose interest in the fight. So, the first problem to be solved is to align the work of mixed and varied forces, but they and motivate for further fighting.

On the other hand, it is noticeable that several major groups to support the backbone of the army, which is already a positive trend. Of course, it is not enough to lead the fight on all fronts, but is planning combat operations, because they are in the background began to form a completely new combat units. With the undoubted military success in Aleppo, it is necessary to reorganize the heterogeneous military structure that we usually call "the Syrian army", but also fighters re-motivate the new operation.

There are indications that the reform of the Syrian army could begin in the near future, almost "on the fly", thus its combat capabilities to be built at an optimal level. It's hard to say which will speed coordinate the work of military personnel and paramilitary units, but will likely determine priorities among units, probably to the level of their training and "elitism". Syrian forces can already achieve numerical superiority over the Islamists in some parts of the front, but the fight for Idlib is much different challenge. There is evidence that he began studying the possible action plans in the north, with the participation of Russian and Iranian military personnel, which was not the case earlier. In addition, the General Staff in Damascus has proven to be willing to learn and listen to advice, which can already be considered a great success. Another thing is how it will allocate the available power after the liberation of Aleppo, but also how long it will be fit for new battles. All of the above are the basic problems of the Syrian army, but it is clear that they are easily solvable. Given that the problem is not so much on the ground, how the General Staff might have been sufficient and partial personnel changes to the process of reform of the Syrian Arab Army and seamlessly implement "on the fly", then it is less important whether the future direction action be Palmira or Idlib, or a third operating direction.


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