Grabbed_by_the_Spets wrote:Russian bombing was probably ineffective in the long haul, but that's because most bombings of ISIS are ineffective. ISIS, a derivative of Al-Qaeda, which is yet again a derivative of the Mujahideen have been bombed for decades by now, and have learned effective tactics against aerial strikes.
Although I have no doubt the airstrikes hampered the logistics of ISIS, the biggest effect Russia has made is by it's boots on the ground.
And tanks. After all a tank forces commander got the medal.
The problem however remains. Assad without Russia and Iran can't muster the men to cover even half that is considered his at the moment. His manpower pool is tapped out. The killed, maimed and missing make up all his remaining forces and within the ranks things are not even stable. The NDF and Rep Guard clashed with 4th Armored it seems after the withdraw was announced and then Maher Al Assad ( de facto commander of the 4th if not de jure ) was moved to the central command. Loyalist soldiers are on edge. Some times they even fire upon IRGC and then get promptly executed, senior officers fight with each other, one of the generals was executed in the general staff building.
It's not stable at all and while Russia assures them they will still help and stay they only see a fraction of the old support and are expecting a total pullout leading to moral again aligning with the ground level. I have to check with my friends in Egypt who talk to regime backers with whom they work who fled to Egypt to avoid the draft. Earlier they were boasting how Russia would crush all now they are on the other spectrum. The arab armies of the SAA type are very easily breakable due to moral being so easy to manipulate.
This brings me back to my initial point. The SAA and the NDF were the least capable army in the conflict. The FSA, the Jihadists and the Islamist factions do not break when hit by IEDs. They don't retreat even under fierce bombardment and when facing overwhelming forces of armor. The SAA and NDF, most of their units just melt in that case. The loss off Tadmur, the 100 prisoners taken in DEZ, the fall of Morek in a single night, the recent encirclement of Khanasir they all point that the SAA has had that problem and continues to have it.
Additionally I have to say ISIS is far beyond the point it was when it was operating side by side with the Iranian backed Iraqi shia militias that are now sent against it. ISIS employes deep trench networks and tunnels and bunkers dug in to keep positions. The Shia militias mostly use earth berms. ISIS utilizes separate forces for defense and counter attack to have rested troops. The shia militias use the same usually, so does the NDF. The result is that offense and defense is done by the same unit deployed in the area. ISIS defenses may look more strained but when they launch a counter attack at moment just before the defense is about to break they manage to overturn the outcome far more often. SAA and NDF tanks still cookoff. ISIS uses single round loading. It is slower but there is never more than one round inside the tank. Also ISIS uses dummy vehicles and tanks made out of plywood. Those are effective in being honey pots. For night fighting ISIS utilizes aluminum lined ponshos and tents put on top of foxholes to confuse night ops gear. ISIS focuses on sniper training with anti material rifles build from ZSU 23 gun barrels after they are recycled. That improves their ability to counter technicals. Then you have the new thing which are body armor carrying and storm tactics trained foot soldiers packing 20 kilos of explosives. They attack with mortar support. Infiltrate the enemy line enter cqc and then get detonated by the local commander after they die or run out of ammo. Used in groups of 20-40 people they breach entire sectors and can devastate more than a company. At that point the regulars follow and roll up the remaining defense.
This is all an evolution of the recent years. ISIS has advanced past the faction that was in Iraq 5-6 years ago. We're basically watching evolution of a super bacteria in a way.