Despite the fact that the combat potential of the “Islamic State” (IS) in Iraq and Syria remains high enough, the process of regrouping of the troops has started, they are moving from the SAR to Iraq, and what is more important, their financial support by revenues from smuggling oil to Turkey has weakened. Currently, there are more and more deserters from the IS troops and tensions with local communities are growing. There is evidence that IS followers prevent residents of Al-Raqqah escaping from the city by threatening them with repression. And, for the IS, Al-Raqqah is sacred. This city, the capital of this “Islamic Caliphate”, in the past was one of the centers of the Iraqi Abbasid Caliphate. But now, the fact that it is used as a major transit point for the smuggling of oil is more important. And as the strikes by the RF airspace forces and the SAR air forces intensify, disappointment of the population in IS will grow, especially due to the large-scale destruction of the oil smuggling infrastructure facilities and channels of its distribution. And it is not just that the cash ‘revenues’ of the IS militants (the monthly amount has dropped from 600 to 300 USD) is reduced, but, above all, the personal income of those who profit from smuggling, including the leadership of the IS, the Kurdish leader M. Barzani and Turkish President R.T.Erdogan, has fallen. Continue reading
There should be no surprises about what the Russians have done.
They have consistently made clear their support for President Assad. It was hardly a great secret that they had moved military assets into Syria – and the Russian pilots hadn’t flown their fighter aircraft over to the Eastern Mediterranean to earn some extra air miles. Continue reading