Syrian rebels fortify frontline with anti-tank missiles

Russia’s two-week-old air campaign has bolstered Assad and left the United States struggling to adjust its troubled military support program for Assad’s opponents. On the ground, however, the Syrian army is not making rapid gains.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based group tracking the war, said a battle was in progress for control of the town of Kafr Nabuda in Hama province, which the army said it captured on Monday. At least 25 fighters on the government’s side were killed, it said.

The town marks the western edge of the defensive line along which the rebels have stationed a dozen anti-tank missile launch platforms, said Ahmed al-Seoud, head of the 13th Division, a foreign-backed faction fighting under the umbrella of the Free Syrian Army.

“They are highly effective. They are breaking the Russian-Iranian and Syrian army,” he said. “The situation in terms of ammunition and weapons with the Syrian opposition is excellent.”

Foreign states opposed to Assad have supplied the TOW guided missiles to a number of rebel groups via an operations room in Turkey, one of the states in the region that wants Assad gone. Interesting title for a link. The article is: Russian Embassy shelled in Syria as insurgents hit back

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — The Russian Embassy in Damascus was shelled Tuesday as pro-government demonstrators gathered outside, and Syria’s largest insurgent coalition announced an offensive to counter Moscow’s airstrikes that have injected new fury in the conflict.

Al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, meanwhile, released an audio message purportedly from its leader urging Muslims in the former Soviet Union to attack Russian civilians if Russia targets civilians in Syria.

The developments underscored the complications brought about by Russia’s military intervention in Syria, which is fueling an already brutal conflict with a multitude of radical groups.

No one was hurt in the embassy shelling, officials said, and it was not the first time the compound has been hit during the civil war. The attack came as hundreds of people were gathered outside to thank Moscow for its military intervention.

Syrian army, Russian jets drive back rebels in fiercest clashes for days: monitor

“These are the most violent battles in the northern countryside (of Hama) since the start of joint operations several days ago” between the Russian air force and Syrian ground forces, he said.

Lebanese-based television station al-Mayadeen also reported the takeover of the southern part of Kafr Nabuda.

Kafr Nabuda’s capture would bring government forces closer to insurgent-held positions along the main highway that links Syria’s main cities. “The town is very important and strategic,” Abdulrahman said.

The Syrian army and Hezbollah on Sunday took control of Tal Skik on the other side of the highway in southern Idlib province. Many of Russia’s air strikes have hit the surrounding area, which also lies east of Assad’s stronghold Latakia.

There is a Russian air base at Latakia.

Israel targets Syria army posts after rockets hit Golan

Jerusalem (AFP) – Israeli artillery targeted Syrian army posts Tuesday after two rockets fired from Syria hit the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan Heights, Israel’s army said.

“In response to the rocket fire, IDF artillery targeted two military posts of the Syrian Armed Forces in the central Syrian Golan Heights,” an army statement said.

The statement did not specify if the posts were hit.

Since the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011, the Golan has been tense, with an increasing number of mostly stray rockets and mortar rounds hitting the Israeli side, prompting the occasional armed response.

Israel had earlier said that two “stray” rockets hit the area of the Golan Heights it controls, without causing casualties or damage.

They were likely “stray fire from internal fighting in Syria,” the army said.

From the Golan to Damascus is a plain. The distance is about 35 miles. About two days for a fast army. About 4 days for a moderate speed blitzing army.

Weight is on the Syrian/Russian side. But it will not be a walk over. The resistance is resisting.

The Syrian opposition would like to: First – blunt the advance. Second – if they can gather the forces – counter attack.

Update: 14 October 2015 1000z

ISIS has a theory about the correlation of forces. And they may be right from their point of view. IS urges jihad on Russia, US as Syria strikes intensify

The IS’s Adnani said the United States was weak and using Russia and Assad’s other ally Iran to strengthen its position in Syria, claiming Washington was willing “to forge an alliance with the devil”.

A little more on the attack on the Russian Embassy.

In Damascus, Russia’s embassy was struck by two rockets, sparking panic among some 300 people waving Russian flags and pictures of Putin in support of Moscow’s intervention.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the rockets were fired from the eastern edges of the capital, where Islamist rebels are entrenched.

I have been following the reports of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and they seem to conform to the facts as I understand them. But as with all reporters (they collate field reports from unnamed sources) they may have their biases – or they may be preparing for the time when they can tell a whopper and be believed.

Which brings us to this report of field activity.

The Syrian Observatory said fighters from the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah — which also supports Assad — arrived in the strategic Sahl al-Ghab plain to reinforce an offensive there.

Sahl al-Ghab, at the intersection of Hama, Latakia and Idlib provinces, has been a major target for Russian air strikes.

Thousands of fighters and supplies from Iran had also reached Hmeimim airport in Latakia province, the Observatory said.

– US-made missiles ‘turning tide’ –

A powerful rebel alliance that includes Al-Nusra — the Army of Conquest — announced the launch of a major offensive of its own to take the central Hama province.

It called on fighters there “to light the fire on the fronts inside the regions, so that hordes of Muslims will meet in Hama as liberators”.

Fierce fighting in the key Hama village of Kafr Nabuda forced pro-regime forces to retreat and killed 25 of them, the Observatory said.

And since they are rather important to the action a look into what a BGM-71 TOW missile is and how it works is in order. Its range is about 2.5 miles and it travels near the speed of sound. So you will not hear it coming until it is on top of you. At the furthest range it takes about 13 seconds for the missile to reach its target.

This video from Syrian rebels using BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missile of the US. Syrian army tank destroyed shows a TOW in action. A LOT of Allah Akbar’s. They should be thanking Raytheon, the maker of the TOW. “Raytheon Ackbar”? I don’t think it will catch on.

This video has a training section on how to use the BGM-71. About 4 minutes in. It is in Arabic. Sorry.