Using two captured tanks, rebels shelled the airport between Aleppo and Idlib before withdrawing. Of course Syrian state media claimed the attack has been “repelled.” The rebels were not foolish enough to take the airport and hang on until MIGS arrived.
Reports say it’s possible that up to five additional helicopters were destroyed or damaged. Either way it’s a signfiicant percentage of Assad’s helicopter forces. The regime has far more tanks than copters, especially operable copters (see stats below). Several buildings were also destroyed in the attack.
UNDERSTANDING THE REGIME RESPONSE
Predictably the regime response has been continued bombing of the nearby town which is virtually empty of people. While all pro-rebel neighborhoods tend to get bombed by a vindictive regime after any FSA victory or mass defection, those near important airports get really sepecial treatment. Hence Darayaa, where more than 300 people were executed and possibly more than 700, lies next to a major Damascus airport which Assad hopes to use to fly off if the regime falls. The rebels will want to prevent that.F
Military Significance: ENDURING AMERRICA LOOKS AT VIDEO OF THE BATTLE
First of all, the geography matches what we know of the area, and it also matches other videos of the claimed assault on the base, adding further credence to the reports.
The second thing that can be glossed from this is that the battle appeared to be nearly one sided. In this video, tracer fire from heavy machine guns, likely the vehicle-mounted guns seen in the previous video, can clearly be seen. There does not appear to be any return fire, and none of the helicopters appear to be being scrambled. This suggests that the FSA was able to approach the base undetected – or, that the units defending the base fled or defected. These helicopters could easily dispatch these vehicles, and should have seen this attack coming from a long distance. Where are the soldiers who are supposed to be defending this base?
The most significant news, however, is that this is a major military defeat for the Syrian regime. The Taftanaz base (map) is one of the key forward bases in the military operations on the road between Idlib and Aleppo. Furthermore, even with the base fully operational, the Syrian regime has consistently been dealt major defeats over the course of the last few months. In particular, the regime tried to make a full-scale assault on the opposition stronghold of Kafranbel (map), where their efforts were rebuffed and their losses were high. Furthermore, the FSA recently ambushed a military convoy in Ma’arrat Misreen (map) that was headed northeast to secure border crossings. In other words, even with a major helicopter base, the FSA has been winning victories in this area. Furthermore, in June the FSA reportedly destroyed at least 2 helicopters nearby.
In Idlib province, even in areas that the regime is identifying as having major strategic value, the Syrian military has proven ineffective at retaking territory or turning back the FSA’s advance.
But if this is a war of attrition, then this news is even more significant. According to the Guardian, the regime only had 71 helicopters on August 10th. With the destruction of 5-10 here, and the loss of a helicopter in Damascus earlier in the week, this means that Assad’s helicopter force has been reduced by between 7 and 15 percent in just 3 days.
SHOULD THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC (NOT THE SAME THING AS “IRAN”) HAVE NUKES OR NOT?
Iqbal Latif argues that it’s unfair that most of the world does not seem to want that. Sometimes Iranian nationalism overrules common sense when it comes to this issue. See:
VIDEO: REGIME HAS BEGUN TARGETING CIVILIANS WITH CLUSTER BOMBS
ASSAD SAYS HE NEED TIME TO WIN BATTLE
Fat chance of that! Hilariously, Assad claimed his forces were “gaining ground.” The fact are ee continues to bleed equipment and men and has lost control over most of he countrywith no ability to retake and hold it. Only air power sustains him since most armor and artillery would defect quickly otherwise. Assad’s forces continue to daily from injurires and defections as the FSA grows. His tactics have alienated an overwhelming majority of the population beyond recall and continue to swell the refugee problem, thereby creating increasing pressure for an ENFORCED safety zone.
Assad’s real problem is that he committed himself so deeply to a military solution involving indiscriminate and vindictive attacks on Syrian civilians is that he has no where to escape and has made the “out” of negotiation inconceivable Asking the Syrian people to accept negotiations with Assad now would be like asking Jews to negotiate with an increasingly surrounded Hitler in early 1945 after Auchswitz, Treblinka, Buchenvald, etc. Even Putin and Iran cannot risk offering him a safe shelter after all his crimes. He gambled that such tactics would lead to victory and if they didn’t he assured his own probable death and that of top aides.
INTERACTIVE: Tracking Syrian Defections
SITTING DUCKS!: Video shows Assad’s helicopters open and vulnerable as FSA attacks