The battle for Aleppo is coming. The foreseeable outcome will lead to a spike in terrorist acts

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“The battle of Aleppo should spell the end of Islamic State military ambitions in Syria. Unfortunately, this defeat will lead to an increase of terrorist activity using the surviving soldiers.”

 Ronald ZONCA

In Boulevard Voltaire, April 12, 2016

Translated by Tom Winter April 13, 2016

Jihadist leaders need to regain control of territory and want to achieve a significant victory. 

The Russian withdrawal from Syria has caused much commentary with various appreciations. Among these were the dropping of Bashar al-Assad at the end of victorious mission. But in announcing the withdrawal of Russian forces, President Putin made it clear that the Russian bombers could be right back if needed. 

The campaign conducted by the Russian air inflicted severe damage on the Islamic Army, also led to the scattering of troops. This dispersion made them less vulnerable to airstrikes. As the scale of the targets decreased the airstrikes lost efficiency. The commitment of fighter-bombers on targets that were getting smaller and smaller became disproportionate.

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The dispersal of troops has allowed the Syrian army to conduct operations related to its capabilities. Thus the Syrian army has retaken many towns and and has recaptured Palmyra. 

Elsewhere, the near-closure of the border with Turkey has been limiting the supply of human and material resources. What remains available to the Islamic army are forces dispersed by aviation.

Since the end of the Russian air intervention in Syria, the Syrian army has slowly engaged in a war of reconquest. With the aerial threat reduced, the Islamic army can again move and use its logistics. Today we are witnessing the consolidation of the Islamic State forces near Aleppo to go on the offensive.

Obviously jihadist leaders need to regain control of the land and want to achieve a significant victory to compensate for the loss of bastions on the road from Raqqa and especially the loss of Palmyra with all the symbolism attached to it. But by consolidating their forces in the Aleppo region, they give another opportunity for Russian aviation or cruise missiles, to re-enter the action. A massive confrontation with the Syrian armed forces is a throw of the dice for the Islamic State, entailing, as it does large losses of fighters in new air strikes.

The battle of Aleppo should spell the end of the military ambitions of the Islamic state in Syria. Unfortunately, this defeat will lead to an increase of terrorist activity using the surviving soldiers. A victory for Damascus over the Islamic army in Aleppo must be considered by the French government as a signal for more vigilance at the borders and within the national territory.

With their virtuous attitudes chastened, our leaders will ask our intelligence services to enhance their activities with the Maghreb countries, the Middle East and South Caucasus.
The defense of France must include collecting and using information from all the countries fighting against terrorism, including Syria and Russia …

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