August 3rd, 2016.
Russian Helicopter Downed and Massive Insurgent Offensive to Break the Aleppo Siege.
The Russian Military have suffered their worst loss of the 10 month Syrian engagement after an MI8 helicopter crashed in the insurgent held Idlib province yesterday. All five personnel on board are believed dead although in the footage of the aftermath only two bodies can be seen.
These bodies are a considerable distance from the downed helicopter suggesting that the people dead on the ground survived the crash and were able to crawl from the burning helicopter before succumbing to their wounds or being executed by the insurgents who found them.
These lkosses bring the Russian death toll in Syria to at least nineteen. (Source) It is also claimed that a number of Russian private military contractors have also perished in Syria and this may well be true but is very hard to substantiate.
The cause of the crash is not known and it is worth remembering that when two Russians died in an MI35 helicopter crash last month, jihadists were initially blamed for shooting it down but the visual evidence indicated that the helicopter was struck by a missile fired from another helicopter operating in the area.
Therefore, the MI8 cannot be presumed to have been shot down by the insurgents, and generally when the insurgents are going to do something big they always film it so this may have been lucky small arms fire, a missile or an accident due to pilot error or mechanical failure. It is being reported as being the result of ground fire, this may well be correct or merely the most dramatic rendering of the incident. (the Russian military later confirmed ground fire as the cause of the loss of the helicopter- Source)
The helicopter crashed near the town of Saraqib in Idlib province, a stronghold of the Sunni extremist insurgents.where the Syrian government hold only two small Shia majority towns al Fu’ah and Kafriyah, besieged since early 2015. (Source)
Footage posted on Liveleak showed a large group of locals gathered at the site of the crash. One fellow is seen jumping up and down on the corpse of a dead Russian, it is very sad to see that these people have sunk to such a level.
Idlib has a repotation for being something of a backwater by Syrian standards and the insurgency is strongest where people are the least sophisticated with Raqqa and Deir ez Zour other examples of this phenomenon.
The result of the incident will be increased support for the war in Russia, especially because of the desecration the bodies of the dead, the kind of act that causes people to demand more planes drop bigger bombs upon the opposition held areas.
Syria: Footage captures burning wreckage of downed Russian helicopter
Battle of Aleppo: Cluster bomb strikes on rebel positions during their ongoing counter-offensive
Russian/Syrian air force obliterate Jihadists in south Aleppo
Massive Insurgent Offensive to Break the Aleppo Siege.
The loss of the Russian helicopter and the crew is the headline that appears on the news but the really important thing event in Syria over the past days has been a massive insurgent offensive aimed at breaking the siege of the Eastern Aleppo insurgent pocket.
On July 31st, the jihadists launched a series of coordinated attacks across a wide area of the contact line in Southern Aleppo. The largest attack was to the southwest of Aleppo and this offensive started with two immense suicide vehicle bombings against a site named the al Hikmat school that had been turned into a military barracks by the Syrian Army..
Ten seconds after the first massive blast, a second vehicle was detonated and these attacks enabled the insurgent infantry and armour to over run the Syria Army defensive lines and make their way to within only kilometres of opening a new supply route into Aleppo city.
(18+) Double Terrorist Suicide VBIED in Aleppo–Aerial drone view
VBIEDs hit army barrack in southern Aleppo
Once the loyalists realised what was happening they were able to strike back and much of the territory lost on the first day has now been retrieved (it is being reported that 5 of the 8 positions lost have been retrieved) although fighting is ongoing and the situation is fluid.
Meanwhile insurgent shelling of government held Aleppo has killed 30 civilians over the past several days. (Source)
Only the Restoration of the State Will End the Syrian Nightmare.
There is no doubt that civilians are dying at the hands of all parties to the conflict. It is heartbreaking to see what the Russian and US coalition airstrikes do to the blameless people of insurgent held Syria, and if anyone really had a problem with killing civilians there would be no bombs dropped from thousands of feet above heavily populated areas.
However history makes it perfectly clear that if the jihadists win the war, that will only be the beginning of the nightmare for the people of Syria. For reference we need only look to present day Libya or even Afghanistan after the mujaheddin finally won the war in 1992, an proceeded to embark on a new civil war as the victorious warlords squabble over the spoils of the successful campaign.
Therefore a loyalist victory, a government victory represents the only realistic hope for a viable and peaceful future for the long suffering people of Syria.
The Guardian; US military may have killed between 229 and 425 civilians in US airstrikes since 21 May in Syria
Syrian Army recaptures strategic area in Aleppo: Map Update
Syrian War Report – August 1, 2016: Jihadists Attempt to Break Aleppo Siege
Syrian War Report – August 2, 2016: Syrian Army Advancing in Aleppo City
Syrian War Report – August 3, 2016: Heavy Clashes in Aleppo City
Syrian War Report – August 4, 2016: Militant Advance Lost Momentum in Aleppo
Front Line Report | August 1st 2016 | Southeast Aleppo city
Massive jihadi offensive on Southeast Aleppo districts | July 31st 2016
Battles for Syria | Jihadi offensive part 2 | Aleppo | August 1st 2016
Battles for Syria | August 2nd 2016 | Southwest Aleppo city