Dramatic Drone Footage Shows Syrian Army Advancing Toward Islamic State Capital

Tyler Durden's picture

Starting about two weeks ago, a new campaign was launched to put the substantially weakened Islamic State on the defensive: in the south, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), Popular Mobilization, and Sunni tribal fighters have closed in on a multiple-axis assault to encircle the city of Fallujah. As we reported previously, Iraqi forces, together with Kurdish Peshmerga forces, Shi'ite Muslim militias, and Sunni tribal fighters, backed by U.S.-led coalition forces, have pushed on toward Fallujah after recapturing several key cities in the past year, including Ramadi, Tikrit, and Baiji. Here, the advance has been problematic however as Aljazeera reported earlier today, fighters battling to retake Fallujah say they have secured its southern edge and have almost completely encircled the whole Iraqi city.

A leader of the Iran-backed Shia coalition taking part in the offensive said on Sunday the only side of Fallujah that remained to be secured by pro-Baghdad forces was part of the western bank of the Euphrates. "We are now at the gates of Fallujah," Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy leader of the Popular Mobilisation Forces, told a news conference broadcast on state TV.  As reported previously, in a curious twist, it was in the Fallujah offensive that a familiar to Zero Hedge readers face has re-emerged, that of Iran's notorious Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps-Qods Force, the external operations wing of the Revolutionary Guards.

Indeed, as the ISW reports, Iranian-backed Iraqi Shi'a militias maintain a steady presence in northern Fallujah, where reports have surfaced of abuses against Sunni populations. Several local sources claim that Popular Mobilization fighters destroyed the Great Mosque in Garma while chanting sectarian slogans and vowing to kill residents. Sources claimed that militias prevented the Sunni Waqf head from entering Garma to organize Friday prayers, have looted homes and factories around Garma, and arrested civilians. A notable tribal sheikh in Garma claimed that Popular Mobilization militants kidnapped 73 men from Garma District and executed 17 of them on charges of belonging to ISIS. Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, however, criticized media outlets for distorting the truth and inciting sectarianism through false reporting on events in Fallujah.

Fallujah control map animated: May 23-31, 2016

And while the battle for Fallujah continues, a far more important battle is taking place in the northeast, where TV channel al-Mayadin reports that Syrian troops have crossed into Raqqa province for the first time in nearly two years and are nearing the ISIS capital of Raqqa, a city seized by the Islamic State in 2013 from rebels opposed to al-Assad.

According to BBC, heavy Russian air strikes have helped the offensive which was started by an alliance of Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters in May. As Sputnik adds, the troops crossed the administrative border of the province, capturing the strategic town of Zakia, which is an important transportation hub in the region. Some units of the Syrian army moved by approximately 10 kilometers and are now advancing towards the city of Tabqa, which has a vital military airfield.

Earlier, it was reported that the Syrian Army launched a large-scale offensive on June 3 to liberate the city of Raqqa, the de-facto capital of the Daesh caliphate.
According to retired Syrian Major General Sabet Muhammad, the operation started in the town of Isriya, in Hama province, nearly 140 km to the west of Raqqa. "Preparations for the operation lasted many days. Several thousand troops were deployed to Isriya. The forces have several interim objectives, including the town of al-Thawrah, a military airfield as well as the town of Resafa. These positions will be used for an assault on Raqqa," he said.

In February and March, the Syrian Army made an attempt to carry out an attack on Raqqa. After a series of clashes with militants the attack was suspended and the Syrian Army began their offensive on Palmyra.

Upon its liberation, a representative of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Iraqi Kurdistan, Gharib Hassou, told RIA that Raqqa will become a part of the Federal Democratic System of Rojava and Northern Syria.

As we await the biggest battle of the ISIS war yet, that for the capital of the Islamic State, RT has unveiled recently released aerial footage showing the Syrian Army making gains into the Raqqa province as forces loyal to the President Bashar Assad continue their assault. The drone footage, released on Saturday, demonstrates the swift advance of Syrian government troops into Raqqa province.

The video shows army vehicles, including tanks and missile launchers, taking positions on Thursday after claiming victory over IS militants at the Zakiyah Crossroad, a strategic area at the border between Hama and Raqqa provinces. Syrian forces reportedly advanced over 35 kilometers (21.7 miles) towards Raqqa within two days, while driving the rebels before them, in an offensive backed by Russian air strikes.

Another video shows the Syrian army launching missiles at militant positions, as Syrian troops prepare to press their offensive forward.

Despite the rapid initial advance, strategists say that as the Syrian army approaches the ISIS capital, the battle for Raqqa will be fierce and protracted. And, courtesy of modern technology, we expect most of it to be televised in real time courtesy of drone footage such as that shown above, a feat that has now made CNN's trademark war coverage obsolete.

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Truther's picture

Check Mate Big O.

Manthong's picture

I strongly advocate that one not stand behind someone who has an RPG up on his shoulder.

Truther's picture

If the Syrian army were given the right and updated weapons, it would be moderated as one of the toughest urban/desert fighting forces in the world.

Unlike the Saudi Wahabists, who outsource their boots to the pakistanis, in exchange for BJs and Tranny goats in return.

OpTwoMistic's picture

Syrian army best watch out for US carrier planes.

user2011's picture

My take is that it has never been the weapon issue. Isis is us backed and trained. Syrian army will have not chance. Only now that Russian has stepped in, that force US to withdraw the support. That is what made the Isis going down. Do you recall months ago, Iraq, Iran, Syrian all support the idea of getting Russian help instead of US help. That's already the indicator of what really is happening.

frankly scarlet's picture

May the Syrian army, its friends and the Syrian people prevail.

Cold War Kid's picture

That drone footage looks like CGI to me. The people's movements seem disjointed and mechanical.

no ita lever's picture

It was a mix? Clearly the man standing at the entrance of the pit by the mounted pickup truck, does not move one inch over a long period of time. The rocket launches look real enough though.


Something is not right with it.



Ms No's picture

Two pieces of good news in one article.  Bye, bye CNN.  They were probably getting their funding from the NSA anyway as they have no viewers.  I wonder if Don Lemon will cry.

CheapBastard's picture

I'll cheer anything that does away with Woof Bitzer.


Maybe he can join the other two putzes -- Stepanopolis and Rose --- on morning talk shows discusing such crucial world events and ladies, summer fashion or the most embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions at half times.

Buster Cherry's picture

There's a rent house across from me where 3 of these refugees are living.

No wives or kids. They take turns walking up and down the sidewalk in front of this house.

We never see them come and go, no visible signs of employment, but we do know they get to the store somehow

because on trash days the cans are packed with empty beer bottles.

Wonder who's paying their tab?

Restorative_Ally's picture

If you have to ask, it's probably you.

meghaljani's picture

All hail to Putin the great. 

Hannibal's picture

US asks Russia (again) NOT to target Al-Qaeda branch in Syria –


"...a coordinated attack against the Islamic State and al-Qaeda and for peace in Syria. Indeed, as Lavrov explains, the U.S. has again asked to spare al-Qaeda from Russian air strikes"....


HowdyDoody's picture

A short video showing a massive convoy of trucks heading from Turkey to Syria. Turdogan says 'humanitarian aid'. Russkies say 'weapons'. I say light em up and find out.




any_mouse's picture

What, no Allen's Snackbars post launch?


This shows the success of a free market for military assistance. Allow choice between the US or Russia or Iran, etc. Whoever does the job the best with the east strings attached.


Collectivism Killz's picture

God speed and aim true!

Herdee's picture

Obama's foreign polict decisions have all been dismal failures.What better bum buddies to have than the Wahhabi terrorist funding friends of Saudi Arabia,Qatar and Turkey.A real trio of the worst scum.

HoserF16's picture

Looks like the Syrians, with RUSSIA's help, is winning again. Guess US forces aren't helping much. No wait, they are helping. Helping save the environment from hydrocaron damage. Damn good thinking Obama/Pentagon. OUTFUCKINGSTANDING!!! Once again, the Russians do in 6 months what the Army/Navy/Air Force can't in 2 years. Weird...

TruthHunter's picture

Most of the time since WWII we've had the best military.

 Now we just have the most expensive.


Kind of like health care.

WTFUD's picture

You don't kill the hand you feed!

madashellron's picture

A big thank you to Putin for having such a cool head.  There are a number of incidents the West as created that might of lead to WW3. But Putin realizes these are created events to have him go for the bait. However there will be a time in which he will have to react.  Like if Nato conitines placing missiles on Russia border. When that day comes it won't be pretty for us in the States or maybe even the whole world.

Uchtdorf's picture

Some guy on a bulldozer had to show up before there was a pile of dirt behind which he could safely work as he built a pile of dirt.

logically possible's picture

The dozer driver would be, kind of like the guy driving the golf course ball retriever

Taint Boil's picture



That is a lot of sand .......

WTFUD's picture

No Prisoners! Kill every Vichy DC, Saud and Turkish sponsored mercenary. Let them crawl back into Turkey and cause mayhem in that country.

. . . McCain must be devastated having to go cap in hand once again for another $50 billion to Congress, MIC/BOOZ and Goldman to train the next crop of Believers.

conscious being's picture

"a feat that has now made CNN's trademark war coverage obsolete." Well there's that to be thankful for.