US increase military aid to Philippines

It was announced on 25 November 2015 that US keep increasing military financial aid to Philippines, which already is one of the largest recipients of American military aid in East Asia.

Though an island nation, Philippines has no real fighting navy or air force, which renders it virtually helpless in the face of China’s territorial ambitions. US military aid won;t be able to change this reality quickly, but it obviously pushes into that direction.

Philippines is one of the key American allies in the geopolitical game unfolding between US and China in the Indo-Pacific Region.

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Ukraine closes its air space to Russian airplanes

On 25 November 2015 Ukraine announced it is closing its air space to all Russian planes, whether civilian or military. It also announced it stops buying Russian natural gas.

While the front line in Ukraine has stabilized for now, thus no more attracting much attention from the Western media, the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine, including military one, is still very much on.

Iraqi forces fully surround ISIS-held Ramadi

By 26 November 2015 Iraqi forces captured the last bridge that served as ISIS communication line from Ramadi to the rest of the ISIS-held territory. Now Ramadi is fully surrounded and ISIS can hardly avoid its loss.

Ramadi had been taken by ISIS on 17 May 2015. Its loss will be another sign that military position of ISIS is slowly but unavoidably collapsing, as it keeps suffering (so far local) defeats on various front lines.

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Regularly updated interactive map of war in Syria & Iraq. Press View Larger Map for better view:

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The permanent page of this interactive map is here: 

https://stratreview.wordpress.com/syria-iraq-war-map/

Assad retakes Mahin from ISIS

On 22-23 November 2015 forces of the Assad regime have re-taken the town of Mahin from ISIS.

The town had been captured by ISIS on 31 October 2015. As a result, the jihadists approached Damascus-Homs highway, crucial for survival of the Assad regime. Thus, Assad’s counter-attack on Mahin was a logical development. Town of Hawwarin, located some hundreds meters from Mahin, has been taken by the Assad forces as well.

Loss of Mahin is another link in what has become a chain of ISIS defeats happening on various fronts – against Kurds and Syrian rebels as well as Assad.

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Regularly updated interactive map of war in Syria & Iraq. Press View Larger Map for better view:

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The permanent page of this interactive map is here: 

https://stratreview.wordpress.com/syria-iraq-war-map/

Syrian rebels advance against ISIS in the border region

Western-backed Syrian rebels gained ground against ISIS on 21 November 2015. The advance occurred along the Turkish-Syrian border. The territory regained by the rebels includes villages Delha and Harjalah.

The area where the rebels have advanced is located in the region designated by U.S. and Turkey for their announced operation aimed at removing ISIS from the portion of the border which it still controls.

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Regularly updated interactive map of war in Syria & Iraq. Press View Larger Map for better view:

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The permanent page of this interactive map is here: 

https://stratreview.wordpress.com/syria-iraq-war-map/

The new route of Russian Tu-160 bombers to Syria

Russia used unusual route to Syria for its heavy strategic Tu-160 bombers. Instead of flying from Russia over the Caspian Sea, Iran, Iraq and into Syria, as Russian military aircraft usually do, Tu-160s went from their northern Olenegorsk base around Europe, over Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean, from which they launched their missiles. Afterwards they continued to fly over Syria, returning to Russia through Iraq, Iran and the Caspian Sea.

Notably, these heavy bombers hit targets in Idlib, which means that they attacked Syrian rebels instead of Islamic State again.

ISIS loses Al Hawl

It turns out that Islamic State has suffered another defeat at the hands of the Kurds. Syrian Kurds, in alliance with the Arab Syrian rebels, as well as the local Christian and tribal Arab groups, launched attack against IS in the area of Syria-Iraq border, west of Sinjar and east of Al Hasakah. On 11 November 2015 they took village Al-Khatuniyah, and on 13 November, the same day when Sinjar was liberated from IS, they took the town of Al Hawl as well.

This is another defeat of the IS by the Kurds, who have so far proved its most formidable local opponents on the front lines.

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Regularly updated interactive map of war in Syria & Iraq. Press View Larger Map for better view:

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The permanent page of this interactive map is here: 

https://stratreview.wordpress.com/syria-iraq-war-map/

U.S. and Turkey announce the operation to establish control over border region

On 17 November 2015 U.S. and Turkey formally launched an operation to take back a portion of Turkish-Syrian border from Islamic State. The operation is supposed to involve air campaign, with American and Turkish-backed rebel units capturing territory from ISIS on the ground. The territory in question stretches from Azaz to Jarabulus, possibly stretching southward towards Manbij and Al Bab.

If successful, this operation could fully cut ISIS from the border with Turkey.

The special Turkish interest is prevention of the takeover of this territory by Syrian Kurds, which would place almost all of Syrian-Turkish border under Kurdish control (except small portion near Mediterranean) and unite all Kurdish enclaves in Syria into a single territorial entity. This scenario is unacceptable to Turkey. The latter made that clear after Syrian Kurds took over another area on the Turkish-Syrian border in June 2015.

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Regularly updated interactive map of war in Syria & Iraq. Press View Larger Map for better view:

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The permanent page of this interactive map is here: 

https://stratreview.wordpress.com/syria-iraq-war-map/

 

Kurds take Sinjar back from Islamic State

On 13 November 2015 Iraqi Kurds have taken back the town of Sinjar from the ISIS jihadists.

Sinjar had been taken by ISIS on 3 August 2014 and its mostly Yazidi (a religious group, of which a minority among Kurds are members) population was subjected to genocide.

For the jihadists loss of Sinjar means more difficult transport communication between their territory in Syria and Mosul.

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Regularly updated interactive map of war in Syria & Iraq. Press View Larger Map for better view:

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The permanent page of this interactive map is here: 

https://stratreview.wordpress.com/syria-iraq-war-map/

Assad forces take Al Hader and Tel Hadya in Aleppo Province

During 12-13 November 2015 Syrian government forces achieved their largest success after the launch of their northern offensive against the rebel forces. They have taken over considerable territory with the town Al Hader and village Tel Hadya south-west of Aleppo city.

This advance by the Assad forces could potentially represent serious threat to the rebels’ position in Aleppo and Idlib region.

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Regularly updated interactive map of war in Syria & Iraq. Press View Larger Map for better view:

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The permanent page of this interactive map is here: 

https://stratreview.wordpress.com/syria-iraq-war-map/