Syria

Well, I have an interest in these matters, but don't consider myself an expert. I was of the view however, which doesn't necessarily contradict yours, that a key requirement for improving the situation is to increase levels of greenery in any areas where you wish to mitigate the effects of warming/drying.

Still, probably something of a thread deviation, although key to the long term future of Syria...
There are several related issues. One is "desertification" the changing of land to desert due to unrestricted grazing of goats and sheep and other environmental degradation. In long settled areas this is often a by-product of war, civil or otherwise. This will be mainly a problem in dry, but not exactly desert climates.

A second problem is loss of land in places such as oases or irrigated areas to encroaching sand dunes. The water may still be there, but the land becomes buried beneath sand.

Another is rain fed agriculture in a dry climate. Crops are subject to loss due to periodic droughts. As the climate becomes drier, the droughts become longer and more frequent. Very long droughts will force farmers to abandon their land as no longer economically viable.

Yet another is irrigated agriculture in a dry climate. Farms can be very productive and less vulnerable to drought, but a drying climate will over time reduce the available water supply, again forcing the abandonment of farms at the margins.

Related to the above is over-exploitation of ground water though the use of modern technology (e.g. diesel powered pumps) which causes traditional irrigation systems to dry up, but that is really just a redistribution of water.

With regard\s to the first and second problems, the solution often involves restricting the herding of livestock and planting suitable desert trees and other vegetation. Iran has been doing this on a very large scale for some time now. There is also an excellent documentary on the Loess Plateau of China describing this as well. The transformational recovery of the latter is absolutely astounding.

Deserts can be man-made, but they are more commonly the consequence of the climate. Efforts to restore the environment will improve life in marginal areas, but they won't reverse a drying process induced by a changing climate.

In China

In Iran.
 
There are several related issues. One is "desertification" the changing of land to desert due to unrestricted grazing of goats and sheep and other environmental degradation. In long settled areas this is often a by-product of war, civil or otherwise. This will be mainly a problem in dry, but not exactly desert climates.

A second problem is loss of land in places such as oases or irrigated areas to encroaching sand dunes. The water may still be there, but the land becomes buried beneath sand.

Another is rain fed agriculture in a dry climate. Crops are subject to loss due to periodic droughts. As the climate becomes drier, the droughts become longer and more frequent. Very long droughts will force farmers to abandon their land as no longer economically viable.

Yet another is irrigated agriculture in a dry climate. Farms can be very productive and less vulnerable to drought, but a drying climate will over time reduce the available water supply, again forcing the abandonment of farms at the margins.

Related to the above is over-exploitation of ground water though the use of modern technology (e.g. diesel powered pumps) which causes traditional irrigation systems to dry up, but that is really just a redistribution of water.

With regard\s to the first and second problems, the solution often involves restricting the herding of livestock and planting suitable desert trees and other vegetation. Iran has been doing this on a very large scale for some time now. There is also an excellent documentary on the Loess Plateau of China describing this as well. The transformational recovery of the latter is absolutely astounding.

Deserts can be man-made, but they are more commonly the consequence of the climate. Efforts to restore the environment will improve life in marginal areas, but they won't reverse a drying process induced by a changing climate.

In China

In Iran.
I haven't had time to watch the first video (will do so tomorrow) but the second - Iran's anti-desertification - is most interesting. Thank you.
 
I felt for the old man and, I assume, his son. What can you say? You have lived in the rebel stronghold and are under suspicion. I thought the younger man pitched it better than the older. A good point was made by the older man about not being able to ask men 'which faction are you?'.
Asking rebels questions like who they are is probably a good way to get yourself shot as a government spy.

The decoy was fascinating. I don't know enough about how targets are identified by aircraft to know how effective a visual decoy is. Does a modern decoy need an electronic, magnetic, or heat 'presence' to seem a real tank?
The decoy looks commercial in origin. Edit: just seen a clearer image and have revised that opinion!
View attachment 413412View attachment 413413View attachment 413414
For commercially made decoys:

Features include:
  • Standout thermal signatures simulate engines and mufflers
  • Radar reflective components deceive even advanced surveillance systems

There are loads of inflatable "decoy" tanks advertised on Alibaba. Most seem to be intended as advertising displays, but there are at least some which look visually convincing enough to be an actual decoy.

The rebel tank decoy in the Syrian video looked like a locally produced product. A heat signature could be simulated with a charcoal burner or the equivalent of a camp stove. Radar signature can be enhanced with aluminium foil reflectors. The problem in either case would be in knowing how much to add in order to look convincing, and that in turn requires a certain amount of R&D with access to suitable sensors.

I suspect though that a decoy would not have to look overly convincing in order for it to be taken seriously enough by the Syrian government to have a bomb dropped on it.

The bigger reason that decoys haven't been more widely used my simply be that the effort involved in creating them and moving them into position simply isn't justified by any advantage to the rebels of using them.
 
Watching the propaganda videos, you'd be mistaken for thinking the fighting in the area was all but over. Meanwhile, SAAF air has been attacking targets near the Turkish OP in Morek:
Air strikes hit rebel positions near a Turkish military post in northwest Syria on Wednesday, where the Russia-backed army has waged a fierce offensive against rebels, according to activists and a senior Turkish security source.

There were heavy clashes between Syrian government forces and fighters about 500 metres from the Turkish observation post in Sher Maghar village, the Turkish source told Reuters.

“However, the conflict is taking place very close by and it is violent. Syrian forces bombed rebel positions,” the source said. The source said Turkish soldiers were not affected.
Russian SOF are near the outpost, ostensibly to prevent escalation, but some cynics may say they are there to keep the Turks in as they have retaliated against attacks on their OPs previously:
A senior opposition official in touch with the Turkish military said Russian special forces had taken up positions around the besieged Turkish Morek outpost to prevent any possible flare-up in the event the Syrian army attacks.

“The Russian presence around Morek is to defuse tensions between the Syrian regime and the Turks,” the official, who requested anonymity, told Reuters.

The Russians would protect the Turkish observation post while preventing the Turkish military from responding to any attack, he added. Turkey has retaliated against previous attacks on some of its 12 posts in Idlib and northern Hama.
 
An Anna news video about Northern Hama. Including an interesting interview of civilians in the area, a tank decoy (18.20 mins) and a long look at what are very extensive and deep rebel tunnel networks.
The video presents a broadly pro-govt and pro-Russian view of events. The value lies in the presentation in depth of events, which no one else is doing, or perhaps able/allowed to do.

I do keep wondering why the Anna journalists wear Ops-Core helmets and UBACs. The latter is understandable, albeit western press tend not to wear camouflage, but Ops-Core are (comparatively) minimal protection principally used by SF (inc Russian SF). It does provide protection but fairly minimal compared to a Gentex TBH-IIIA (MICH) helmet. If I saw Alex Crawford wearing an Ops-Core, I'd be very surprised at what her insurance company thought about its ballistic protection compared to the MICH etc. style.

Just a musing :)
 
I do keep wondering why the Anna journalists wear Ops-Core helmets and UBACs. The latter is understandable, albeit western press tend not to wear camouflage, but Ops-Core are (comparatively) minimal protection principally used by SF (inc Russian SF). It does provide protection but fairly minimal compared to a Gentex TBH-IIIA (MICH) helmet. If I saw Alex Crawford wearing an Ops-Core, I'd be very surprised at what her insurance company thought about its ballistic protection compared to the MICH etc. style.

Just a musing :)
Perhaps a nod to the SAA habit of eschewing all head protection?! The rebels seem more open to the idea. I can't ID the helmets used by those rebels shown at the start of the R&U video about the rebel counter attack. They look new. Any ideas please?
 
Perhaps a nod to the SAA habit of eschewing all head protection?!
I doubt it personally. My guess is they’re embedded with Russian SOF and wear the same kit.
The rebels seem more open to the idea. I can't ID the helmets used by those rebels shown at the start of the R&U video about the rebel counter attack. They look new. Any ideas please?
They are ‘MICH style’, but their origin could be any number of sources. Not least airsoft replica’s :)

The Russian 6B27 and 6B47 have a more pronounced rim, so unlikely to be them. Possibly some bulk purchase by a state and sent out to their ‘friendlies’ whether FSA or others and either captured and/or issued.
7301793B-27E3-4F74-93FA-14A8F67A74EA.png


The rebels in that film seemed quite well equipped and using tape to differentiate between themselves and SAA Forces. To be frank, they looked better equipped than the ‘pro Assad’ Forces in the video. Which may give credence to the earlier report about using those recently ‘voluntold’

They’ve been there a long time now and their supply routes are/were good.

What struck me on the tunnels was why build so high? Whether they’re improving on what was already there? Dunno tbh, but the tunnels seemed high for a defensive complex to me.
 
I doubt it personally. My guess is they’re embedded with Russian SOF and wear the same kit.

They are ‘MICH style’, but their origin could be any number of sources. Not least airsoft replica’s :)

The Russian 6B27 and 6B47 have a more pronounced rim, so unlikely to be them. Possibly some bulk purchase by a state and sent out to their ‘friendlies’ whether FSA or others and either captured and/or issued.
View attachment 413654

The rebels in that film seemed quite well equipped and using tape to differentiate between themselves and SAA Forces. To be frank, they looked better equipped than the ‘pro Assad’ Forces in the video. Which may give credence to the earlier report about using those recently ‘voluntold’

They’ve been there a long time now and their supply routes are/were good.

What struck me on the tunnels was why build so high? Whether they’re improving on what was already there? Dunno tbh, but the tunnels seemed high for a defensive complex to me.
Thank you for the information. Their kit looked new - they looked professional and the videos of them in a light infantry role are impressive. I think their issue is that their MO is now well known: LVBIED followed by 4x4 mounted infantry and the odd BMP. However, the RuAF and SyAAF are attacking anything that moves, and the SAA behavior is now day1 - advance; day2 - establish defences at captured areas. They still get caught by VBIED, often by not even posting look outs, which is amazingly poor.

Good point about the caves. I think many pre-date the conflict. In the video below, there is good coverage of caves and they look well-established and old (at 5.48, a vaulted brick roof, and worked stone in other parts of the caves). Perhaps dry, cool, free storage was useful for preserving food, materials, etc?

 
(...) Good point about the caves. I think many pre-date the conflict. In the video below, there is good coverage of caves and they look well-established and old (at 5.48, a vaulted brick roof, and worked stone in other parts of the caves). Perhaps dry, cool, free storage was useful for preserving food, materials, etc? (...)
He explains it in the video. The larger entrances are in the backs of old houses, the backs of which are dug into the hillsides. This is a very common practice in many areas. Turkey is famous for them.

New rebel galleries were started from these older works, either to conceal them or just to give them a head start in excavating. There are also smaller rebel tunnels dug directly from the surface. I suspect the larger systems though were started from the best locations.

In the earlier videos you posted a large proportion of the rebel tunnel systems were started in stone quarries. The large outer galleries parallel to the quarry face were likely part of the original quarry. The galleries which go at 90 degrees from them directly away from the quarry face will be the new ones dug by the rebels.

The tunnels systems are still quite large and the rebels still invested a considerable amount of labour in their construction, whether their own or that of prisoners and conscripted civilians.
 
How long before the Iranians get the good news from Israel ?

 
Very impressive. The amount of work that must have gone into all of that must have been very large.
It is impressive. In some caves, I genuinely wondered whether I had missed a linking shot and they were filming in a building.
It is, to me, nightmarish. An enforced underground existence thanks to Ru and SyAAF airpower. Despite the amenities, you are still underground because you have to be.
 
It is impressive. In some caves, I genuinely wondered whether I had missed a linking shot and they were filming in a building.
It is, to me, nightmarish. An enforced underground existence thanks to Ru and SyAAF airpower. Despite the amenities, you are still underground because you have to be.
I suspect that they only used the shelters when there was a serious threat and spent the rest of the time in nearby towns and villages. Through much of the war though the front was far from there.

What is more interesting is that the shelters seem to have been built as part of a plan to use the "ledge" (as it is referred to in the video - I suspect "escarpment" would be a better translation) as a key defensive position from which to hang onto control of the province. It all seems to have fallen rather quickly though once the Syrian army got going.

It would appear that either the rebel position was not a strong as they thought it was, or perhaps the rebel armies are crumbling.
 
I suspect that they only used the shelters when there was a serious threat and spent the rest of the time in nearby towns and villages. Through much of the war though the front was far from there.

What is more interesting is that the shelters seem to have been built as part of a plan to use the "ledge" (as it is referred to in the video - I suspect "escarpment" would be a better translation) as a key defensive position from which to hang onto control of the province. It all seems to have fallen rather quickly though once the Syrian army got going.

It would appear that either the rebel position was not a strong as they thought it was, or perhaps the rebel armies are crumbling.
I saw one video on a pro-rebel YouTube account where two rebels seemed to be firing on the SAA from a cave position. The rebels seem to be as good as ever in terms of light infantry fighting but, as you will have seen, the SAA edge has been in having plentiful night vision equipment and in a, at the time, ruthless RuAF / SyAAF attack where any rebel vehicle, down to motorcycles, was targeted. The RuAF attacks have been more focused on military targets in the area of fighting in recent months.
 
The following link was posted on another thread by @SkippedOnce .

According to that source, Turkey wishes to resettle 1 million refugees in northern Syria.
“Our goal is for at least one million of our Syrian brothers to return to the safe zone we will form along our 450 km border,” Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara.
They want to build new towns in the so-called "safe zone" which is controlled by various foreign powers.
“We are saying we should form such a safe zone that we, as Turkey, can build towns here in lieu of the tent cities here. Let’s carry them to the safe zones there,” Erdogan said.
Turkey are looking to the EU to support and finance this. If the EU does not provide adequate support, then Turkey will open the doors for the refugees to once again go on to the EU.
“Give us logistical support and we can go build housing at 30 km depth in northern Syria. This way, we can provide them with humanitarian living conditions.”

“If the safe zone does not happen, we will be forced to open the doors. You either give support, or if you won’t, sorry, but we can only put up with so much,” Erdogan said.

“Either you will provide support, or excuse us, but we are not going to carry this weight alone. We have not been able to get help from the international community, namely the European Union.”
The Syrian Kurds however are saying that this plan is unacceptable to them, as most of the refugees are not Kurdish. Apparently they are concerned this will upset the ethnic balance in northern Syria.
Last week, senior Syrian Kurdish official Badran Jia Kurd said it is necessary to re-settle refugees in their home towns. “Settling hundreds of thousands of Syrians, who are from outside our areas, here would be unacceptable,” he said of the north east.
 
I saw one video on a pro-rebel YouTube account where two rebels seemed to be firing on the SAA from a cave position. The rebels seem to be as good as ever in terms of light infantry fighting but, as you will have seen, the SAA edge has been in having plentiful night vision equipment and in a, at the time, ruthless RuAF / SyAAF attack where any rebel vehicle, down to motorcycles, was targeted. The RuAF attacks have been more focused on military targets in the area of fighting in recent months.
Firing on someone from a cave or bunker will have limited usefulness unless that position covers a strategic bottleneck of some sort. Not many of them seem to be positioned for that purpose.

The main usefulness of the tunnel systems is to protect their equipment and personnel from air attack. That is useful however only so long as that equipment and those personnel can be deployed from the tunnels when needed against the enemy. If they are stuck in the tunnels, then those tunnels become a trap rather than a refuge.
 
Looks like Corbyn's 'friends' have been busy

 

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