Kuweires offensive (September–November 2015)

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Kuweires offensive (September–November 2015)
Part of the Battle of Aleppo (2012–present) and
the Syrian Civil War
Aleppo 2.jpeg
Map of the Southern Aleppo offensive to the west, and the Kuweires offensive to the east, from September to late October 2015
Date 14 September[4][5] – 16 November 2015[6]
(1 month, 3 weeks and 6 days)
Location Aleppo, Syria
Result

Syrian Army victory[7][8][9]

  • Syrian Army lifts the airbase siege on 10 November[2][10][11]
  • Syrian Army reaches the Aleppo–Raqqa Highway[12]
  • Syrian Army have captured close to 50 villages during their offensive[13]
Belligerents

Syrian Arab Republic

 Iran

Ba'ath Brigades[2]


Air strikes:
 Russia

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Commanders and leaders

IRGC-Seal.svg Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani[14][15]
(Chief strategist)
IRGC-Seal.svg Maj. Gen. Hossein Hamadani  (Deputy commander)
Maj. Gen. Munzer Zammam[16]
(Kuweires Airport commander)
Col. Suheil al-Hassan[17] (Tiger Forces commander)
Col. Shadi Isma'el[18] (Cheetah Forces commander)
Col. Lu’ayy Sleitan[18] (Cheetah Forces commander)


Russia Viktor Bondarev
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Umar Al-Absi[19]
Units involved

23x15px Syrian Army:

Aerospace Forces

19px Military of ISIL
Strength
314 (Kuweires Airport, out of original 1,000)[22][23]
~4,500 (reinforcements)[24]
Unknown
Casualties and losses
78 killed, 200+ wounded[25][26] 80+ killed [26][27]

On 14 September 2015, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) – in cooperation with the National Defence Forces (NDF) and the Al-Ba’ath Battalion – launched a fresh offensive inside the Aleppo Governorate’s southeastern countryside in order to lift the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham’s (ISIS) two-year-long siege of the isolated Kuweires Military Airbase. This offensive was later complemented by another effort starting mid-October further south, which would be aimed at cementing government control over the main logistical route to Aleppo from central Syria.[28]

The main objective of the offensive was to lift the siege on the Kuweires Military Airport, and relieve the hundreds of soldiers locked into the Kuweires pocket for almost three years, as well as to give significant depth to the main line of communication to the Syrian and allied forces in the province from the south. Also there is a possible long-term goal of cutting the AleppoRaqqah highway and thereby bisecting ISIL in Syria.[29]

Preparations

The origins of the planning of operations in the Aleppo area could be traced back to Gen. Qasem Soleimani's visit to Moscow in July 2015. Gen. Soleimani was reportedly sent to Syria by the supreme leader of Iran himself, Ali Khamenei, in order to discuss military matters with his Russian counterparts and coordinate a joint escalation of forces in Syria.[30]

Military advisers, including high ranking generals from Iran's Quds force began deploying to Latakia and soon moving to the points of engagement throughout the country in order to plan the coming ground offensives which would be augmented by Russian air-power.[31] With so many Iranian generals patrolling and reconnoitering the front-lines of the Syrian civil war, three of the aforementioned were soon killed in action including a very senior Guards member, Gen. Hossein Hamadani, who was deputy to Qasem Soleimani.[32]

The offensive

The situation at the airport at the beginning of the offensive
The situation at the airport at the end of the offensive

Beginning on 15 September, the government forces launched attacks along the north-western rim of the al-Jaboul Lake in an attempt to drive the ISIL militants back towards the besieged air-base of Kuweires in eastern Aleppo. The offensive began with the Army and National Defense Forces taking control of the two hilltops at Tal Na’am and Tal Sab’in, which are located just north of Lake Jabboul.[4]

However, ISIL was able to regroup not long after and launch a counter-attack in which they gained some of their lost territory and checked the rapid advance of the government forces. On 22 September, the intervention of the Syrian Airforce enabled the ground forces to regain the initiative and continue their advance by capturing Salihiyah after sharp engagements with ISIL militants around the town and later gain Tal-Rayman in the drive east towards Kuweires.[33]

On 4 October, the Russian Air Force attacked ISIS along the Dayr Hafir Highway, and the Thermal Plant. This allowed the government forces to enter the village of Ayn Sabil.[3] A Syrian Army source claimed that 75 militants in the Aleppo governorate were killed in Russian airstrikes in the past two days.[3]

On 16 October, government forces and Iraqi militia, reportedly captured the town of Al-Nasiriyah, following fighting that they claimed killed 25 ISIS fighters. They then advanced to the town of Barayjeh, some 7 km from Kuweires.[1]

On 17 October, the military reportedly captured the village of Huwaija.[34] By the next day, government forces took more areas, bringing the total of captured villages since the start of the offensive to five.[35]

On 19 October, government forces captured the village of Bkayze, about seven kilometres from the air base, as well as two other villages near the base.[36] They also captured parts of Dakwanah.[37] The following day, the military seized parts of the Tal Sbi’ein area.[38]

On 21 October, government forces took control of the Tal Sbi’ein area, including its hill,[39] and two days later Dakwanah as well,[40] bringing them to within four kilometers of the air base.[41]

On 9 November, government forces captured the town of Sheikh Ahmad, two kilometers from the air base, setting the conditions for a final assault towards the airport.[22][42]

On 10 November, government forces lifted the siege of the Kuweires air base after three years.[43] Subsequently, the Army captured the villages of Rasm ‘Abboud and ‘Umm Arkileh near the airport, as a mass ISIL retreat from areas east of Aleppo.[8] On the next day, the military, in coordination with its allies, captured the villages Jdaydet Arbin and Arbid in the vicinity of the Kuweires airbase.[44][45]

In the last 24 hours of the fighting around the military airport, 60 ISIL militants, more than 20 Syrian soldiers, 13 Iranian and 8 Hezbollah fighters were all killed.[26]

On 13 November, government forces advanced 4.5km along the Aleppo-Raqqa Highway, seizing the chemical production facility and positioned themselves at the Sisako Factory.[46] On 16 November, the air base was officially declared secured after the Army seized the village of Kaskays.[6][47] This marked the beginning of a new military offensive with the aim of expanding the buffer zone around the airport.

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Leith Fadel. "Syrian Army Captures Al-Nasiriyah in East Aleppo: 7km from Kuweires Military Airport". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 25 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Leith Fadel (10 November 2015). "Cheetah Forces Lift the Three Year Long Siege of the Kuweires Military Airbase". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 10 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Leith Fadel (5 October 2015). "Russian Air Force Strikes ISIS in Al-Raqqa and East Aleppo: Terrorists Suffer Heavy Casualties". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 11 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 Leith Fadel. "Syrian Army Launches Fresh Offensive to Lift the Two Year Long Siege of the Kuweires Airbase". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 16 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Leith Fadel. "Battle Map Update of Southeast Aleppo: Syrian Army on the Offensive Near Kuweires Airbase". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 16 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Leith Fadel. "Kuweires Military Airport Officially Secure as the Syrian Army Captures Kaskays Village". Al Masdar. Retrieved 16 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. https://www.rt.com/news/322193-aleppo-kuweires-airbase-liberated/
  8. 8.0 8.1 Leith Fadel (10 November 2015). "ISIS Mass Retreating from Several Areas in East Aleppo After the Fall of the Kuweries Airport". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 10 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. http://www.almasdarnews.com/article/kuweires-defeat-creates-major-issues-for-isis-supply-route-from-raqqa-to-aleppo-cutoff/
  10. khaled. "بعد نحو عامين قوات النظام تصل لأسوار مطار كويرس العسكري وتحاول كسر الحصار عن عناصرها داخل المطار". المرصد السورى لحقوق الإنسان. Retrieved 14 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Master. "The regime forces raise the siege imposed on the airbase of Kwayres; some groups reach inside it". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 14 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Zero Hour Approaches the Kuwieres Military Airport: Cheetah Forces Reportedly 1km Away
  13. Syrian Army captures Tall Al-Hattabat and Qatar – Aleppo map update
  14. "Syrian Army, Hezbollah Lift ISIL's 2.5-Year-Long Siege of Kuweires Airbase in Aleppo". 11 November 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Leith Fadel. "General Suleimani Oversees the Large-Scale Offensive in Southern Aleppo". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 16 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "President Assad Congratulates Colonel Hassan for Liberating the Kuweires Airport". Al-Masdar News. 11 November 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Leith Fadel (28 October 2015). "Cheetah Forces Press Forward to Kuweires Airport While ISIS Attempts to Redirect the Assault". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 28 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Leith Fadel (19 October 2015). "Cheetah Forces Capture 30km of Territory from ISIS in East Aleppo: Kuweires Airport Within Sight". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 10 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Top ISIS commander in Aleppo killed
  20. Leith Fadel (11 November 2015). "Syrian Army and Hezbollah Advance in Southern and Eastern Aleppo – Latest Map Update". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 11 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Battle for East Aleppo Intensifies as ISIS and the Syrian Army Fight for Kuweires Airbase". Al-Masdar News. 26 October 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. 22.0 22.1 Leith Fadel (11 November 2015). "The Kuweires 314 Defy the Odds: 35 Months to Victory". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 11 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Louisa Loveluck (10 November 2015). "Russia and Iran-backed offensive helps regime break Isil's two-year siege on Syrian airbase". The Telegraph. Retrieved 15 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Leith Fadel (7 October 2015). "Syrian Army Reinforcements Pour into East Aleppo and Northern Homs: Massive Offensive Awaits". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 11 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. Cheetah Forces Lift the Three Year Long Siege of the Kuweires Military Airbase
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 jack. "More than 100 killed and wounded during clashes around Kweres military airport". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 14 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. Syrian Army Seizes the ICARDA Farms in Northern Kuweires
  28. Leith Fadel. "Syrian Army Conducts a Special Operation to Cutoff the Strategic Aleppo-Raqqa Highway". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 16 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. "Iran sends fighters to Syria, escalating its involvement - US News". US News & World Report. Retrieved 16 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. "How Iranian general plotted out Syrian assault in Moscow". Reuters. Retrieved 16 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  31. Jay Solomon in Washington and Sam Dagher in Amman, Jordan (21 September 2015). "Russia, Iran Seen Coordinating on Defense of Assad Regime in Syria". WSJ. Retrieved 16 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  32. http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/10/14/Two-Iranian-Revolutionary-Guards-officers-reportedly-killed-in-Syria-.html
  33. Leith Fadel. "Syrian Army Recaptures Two Villages En Route to the Kuweires Military Airbase in East Aleppo". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 16 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  34. "Syrian army, backed by Iranian fighters, advance south of Aleppo: monitor". Reuters. Retrieved 25 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  35. Master. "The regime forces advance towards the airbase of Kwayres seizing more areas, and warplanes attack the outskirts of Aleppo city". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 25 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  36. "Syrian troops advance toward air base besieged by IS - US News". US News & World Report. Retrieved 25 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  37. Master. "The regime forces advance in the eastern countryside of Aleppo again while the Russian attack the southern countryside". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 25 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  38. Edward. "Continuous violent clashes near Kweris airbase and intense aerial bombardment on several areas in the countryside of Aleppo". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 25 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  39. Edward. "The regime forces advance again and take control of villages in the southern and eastern countryside of Aleppo". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 25 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  40. Master. "The regime forces advance in the Eastern countryside of Aleppo again, while clashes erupt in the Eastern Ghouta". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 25 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  41. Leith Fadel. "Cheetah Forces Capture Another Village in East Aleppo While ISIS Fails at Kuweires Airport". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 25 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  42. The regime forces advance and reach to a distance of 2 km away from the airbase of Kwayres after weeks of clashes
  43. Syrian Army and Hezbollah Advance in Southern and Eastern Aleppo – Latest Map Update
  44. Edward. "The regime forces advance again after breaking the siege of Kweires airbase and take control a village in its vicinity". Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Retrieved 14 November 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  45. ISIS Suffers Another Defeat in the Kuweires Countryside as the Syrian Army and Hezbollah Capture ‘Arbeed
  46. Syrian Army and Hezbollah Advance West of Kuweires Airport: ISIS Stronghold in Danger
  47. استمرار الاشتباكات العنيفة في ريف حلب الجنوبي وقوات النظام تسيطر على قرية بالريف الشرقي