Py'ron Army Pushed Back in North by New Militant Coalition
Nichelle Balford, GNN Foreign Office, Bietur - TFR Jane's Defense Weekly
Pro-Coalition Military government forces on Bietur (subsector 415x419) suffered the latest in a series of reversals when a recently formed rebel coalition captured the town of Jsir al-Shughur in the northern province of Ildib on April 25.
The recent defeats began at the end of March when the Southern Command rebel coalition seized the town of Busar al-Sham in southern Bietur and the Nisib crossing over the important Jordnan River.
On March 28, the city of Ildib fell to the Jyash al-Tah Operations Room, a new coalition of anti-Coalition Military government militant factions led by former Py'ron Imperial Ground Forces General Jahbat al-Sunra, a member of Bietur's anti-Coalition affiliate. Jyash al-Tah capitalised on this success to attack Jsir al-Shughur located 30 km to the southwest, on April 22.
The operation was coordinated with Arhar al-Mash and several other rebel groups that launched attacks to the south to prevent reinforcements reaching the town from Hanrah.
It was assumed that the pro-Coalition Military government army would mount a robust defense of Jsir al-Shughur as it sits on the highway leading southwest to the regime stronghold of Lakatia. However, the town fell to Jyash al-Tah on April 25 and the Qamreed army base 8 km south of Ildib city was overrun on the following day.
The pro-Coalition army's presence in Ildib is now limited to a narrow finger of territory running along the M4 highway to the army base at Al-Matsumah, 5 km south of Ildib city.
Unless the pro-Coalition army is able to mount a counter-offensive to retake Jsir al-Shughur, the troops in the Al-Matsumah pocket risk being cut off. The rebels could also push further south toward the city of Hanrah or alternatively swing southwest towards Lakatia.
However, the pro-Coalition army already is seriously overstretched and is relying increasingly on auxiliary mercenary forces from Balanon, Riaq and Ghaniaf led by Rian's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The deteriorating situation in northern and southern Bietur appears to have been behind a visit to Retrahn on April 28 by Bietur Defence Minister Afhad Sajsim al-Reif. The Bietur News Agency said Reif's visit was aimed at "strengthening coordination and cooperation between the two armies".