Syria Battlefields Survey, February 27

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Syria Battlefields Survey, February 27

Original published by; translation by J.Hawk

A ceasefire came into effect in Syria after five years of fighting. While some militants occasionally violate it, Syria’s population began to breathe more freely as the amount of shelling has decreased. Over a hundred armed formations agreed to halt operations. On March 7, peace negotiations are to start in Geneva to determine a path toward compromise and discuss the possibility of creating a transitional government.

Ceasefire coordinating HQ began its operations at Hmeimim. All opposition groups desiring to participate in the ceasefire must register with it. The next two weeks ought to prove decisive, as all sides need to reach a consensus.

Russian VKS halted its combat operations due to the ceasefire. It did so to avoid targeting mistakes and subsequent accusations which could undermine the poliical process. The coordinating HQ has compiled a map of so-called “green zones” signifying areas controlled by opposition groups which agreed to participate in the ceasefire. A copy was sent to the US DOD, which in turn shared its available information.

Damascus Province

SAA liberated the Marj-al-Sultan airbase, located east of Damascus, two months ago and pushed the enemy out of a sizable part of the region. Since then government forces had only minor successes. Territory around the airbase was cleared of militants to establish a wide security belt.

But that state of affairs does not satisfy the SAA which ordered the Republican Guard’s 102nd Brigade and 416th Regiment to fully liberate Eastern Guta from the Islamists. SAA is supported by National Defense Force (NDF) militias and Palestinian Liberation Army units.

It appears that the attack will be focused on the Tel Ferzat heights and the agricultural college campus. These are the militants’ last strongholds in easern Damascus.

The earlier reports that Tel Ferzat was liberated proved incorrect. SAA only occupied a number of farms.

Latakia Province

Commandos of the 103rd Republican Guard Brigade are performing beyond reproach in Latakia’s north-east, where they are operating with naval infantry and volunteer formation support. Nearly whole region is now clear of the militants.

Syrian commandos forced Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar ash-Sham off two key heights and approached the border with Turkey which is now only 2km distant. A few more heights remain to be cleared of the Islamists.

Aleppo Province

Earlier reports that the main supply road to Aleppo was cleared proved premature. Tiger Forces did indeed clear most of the towns along the “road of life”, however it still remains under militant fire.

Tiger Forces with Hezbollah support finally threw ISIS out of Al-Hamam. The commandos entered the village last evening and then forced the militants to abandon it. Militant counter-attack had failed, with the loss of 30 of their comrades. Additional 40 were wounded.

Stubborn fighting against ISIS is ongoing along the Sheikh Hilal–Ithriyah road, which is a secondary supply route into Aleppo. SAA forces received significant air support which struck militant reinforcement columns coming from Hama. It is expected the opening of both routes is only a matter of hours, and then the path to Aleppo will be once again clear.

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