What is stopping Bashar al-Assad to develop the offensive from Aleppo

The second day the evacuation of civilians and who refused to give up combatants from the besieged Syrian army in Aleppo districts. According to the red cross to the beginning of the day the combat zone has left over 3 thousand civilians. But about 50 thousand people, according to UN estimates, still locked in a dilapidated city. Evacuation will take more than one day, warns the Red Cross.

The agreement on withdrawal of opposition forces and civilians from the city and the beginning of the truce was reached on Tuesday under the guarantee of Moscow and Ankara, however, to start this process was only Thursday.

According to the defense Ministry of Russia, from left, nearly 6.5 thousand people. Of these, half were former rebels. There are even more large-scale evaluation. As the correspondent of Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr, citing the Turkish authorities, by 10 o’clock Friday morning the number of people leaving the city has reached 8 thousand people.

At night the withdrawal of people from the city went without incident, but around noon the channel Aleppo24 reported that one of the convoys of refugees were allegedly stopped by Pro-government militias and civilians, who first demanded to speed up the evacuation of supporters of Assad from the enclave in the province of Idlib (surrounded by opposition groups), and then opened fire on the convoy. Syrian government media reported that insurgents also fired on another convoy at a checkpoint in Aleppo. Casualty information was not.

The goal is to hold Aleppo

In an interview with TV channel “Rossiya24” the Syrian President said that the full liberation of Aleppo will be possible to speak only when he was threatened. For this it is necessary to strengthen the position of the Syrian army in Aleppo, and to suspend the supply of weapons in the city of Idlib, he said. “At the moment, between Aleppo and Idlib, there is a direct channel of communication, as in the Aleppo and outside it as in Idlib, is “Dzhabhat EN-Nusra” — said Assad (ISIS and “Dzhabhat EN-nusra” — a banned terrorist groups).

In Idlib and its surroundings are concentrated the main forces of the Western-backed armed opposition. There are already about half a year to take out those weapons to the rebels from other parts of Syria. Thursday of the province of Damascus, in Idlib came another party of combatants who joined the cease-fire, said the chief of the General staff of the Russian Armed forces Valery Gerasimov. “In Idlib removed 5744 people, among them 3674 militants and their family members, Amnesty 3624 people who wished to return to civilian life,” — said Gerasimov (quoted by “RIA Novosti”).

According to Syrian and Western media in the province are deployed and radical groups, including those recognised in Russia terrorist “Fatah al-sham” (until July 2016 — “Frente al-Nusra”). According to former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, to take the province of Idlib is under the control of Assad’s troops will fail within the year. Control and hold positions in the Western part of Syria will depend on the balance of forces and the extent of the support of Damascus allies Russia, Iran and the Lebanese armed movement Hezbollah.

In recent months, Assad has abandoned most of the forces for the liberation of the populous and fertile West of the country, leaving other fronts vulnerable. Exhausted long civil war, the Syrian army is unable to hold its position on several fronts simultaneously, as evidenced by the retreat of government troops from Palmyra, released in March of this year by ISIS.

In this regard, experts are of the opinion that after the liberation of Aleppo and Damascus did not begin the offensive on the Eastern front. “After a few months after the Russian intervention, it became clear that Moscow has deployed the forces and means too late, the Syrian army is largely broke up into militia groups, which fought against the enemy, but largely was unable to hold the captured positions. The operation in Aleppo can be very expensive and lead to losses in other combat zones,” says Michael Kofman, a researcher Kananaskis Institute at the Center of them. Woodrow, expert of the International discussion club “Valdai”.

The main goal of Assad in the near future — the release of the territory West of Aleppo and North of Latakia and Hama, to surround the forces of moderate and radical opposition in Idlib province. “Only after the militants are squeezed out and partially eliminated in Idlib province, will start the fight against “Islamic state”. Most likely it will be next spring, possibly in cooperation with the United States,” said Russian military expert Vladimir Yevseyev.

Attack on Palmyra postponed

Assad, in an interview to Russian television also promised to return control of Palmyra. However, the final decision about the development of the military operation will be taken in conjunction with the Russian command and the Iranian leadership, he said. “…What city will be released next depends on where the greatest concentration of terrorists, receiving logistical support from other countries,” — said the President of Syria.

Attack on Palmyra and Raqqa in a short time is not expected, Yevseyev is sure. The same source tells Reuters. “The regime forgot about raqqa has long made it a concern of Americans. Let those who are concerned about the ISIL terrorists and dumps them there,” gave the Agency the words of a senior official loyal to Damascus.

After the defeat in Aleppo by Western-backed armed opposition continues mainly to be present at the border with Turkey in the Northern province of Aleppo, between the towns of Azaz and Dzharablus, in Idlib province, in some areas of Eastern and Western ghouta (in Damascus province), as well as in the province of Deraa in the South-West of the country. ISIS is mainly the areas located to the East of Palmyra up to the Iraqi border. On the borders with Turkey in the North, control continues to hold the Democratic forces of Syria, composed of the Kurdish people’s protection Units (YPG).

Pointing to the depleted resources of government forces, experts warn that lost their conquered territories. “After the capture of Aleppo will be a long operation to clean up and repel any possible counterattacks. This inevitably leaves open other areas, while the regime is trying to consolidate the success in the North. In the end, we should expect the resumption of hostilities on the same areas of the theatre,” said Michael Kofman, a researcher Kananaskis Institute at the Center of them. Woodrow.

With the participation of Georgy Makarenko.