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The warring forces didn’t retreat. They stayed on their positions, received reinforcements, fresh bodies, more supplies, more ammunition. They prepared for contiunous fight. But what was there to fight for? Most combatants didn’t even knew, why they were out there. Why did they attack? Why was this conflict even happening, even though just three years ago they were fighting arm to arm?
And yet, there they were.
Southern front would see the most action. With Jordanian and Saudi troops preparing to assault in the second phase, at least attempting to break through Syrian lines, they were reinforced by more armor, planes, and had some tricks up their sleeves. The plans drawn were much more conservative this time, though; instead of grandiose operation, reaching so far as to Aleppo, this time the main issue was breaking through Syrian defensive line and overcoming roads which were still held by Syrians, and take the city of Deraa, at the very least. With moderate manpower, but pretty impressive hardware, they would attempt to get into the city - or die trying. The rest of the frontline remained fairly similar, with conservative objectives in sight, and realistic timetables. Some eleven thousand Jordanians were supported by about fifteen thousand saudis (including eight thousand militia). Shortly before the invasion, Egyptian forces moved into West Bank, seemingly trying to “secure” the area, yet they quickly began patroling skies, along the jordanian planes.
On the other side of the front, the numbers were swelling massively. With the conscription enacted, and reinforcements from Lebanese front arriving, they soon surpassed the numbers available to Arab Coalition. In recent months the volunteers from Soviet Bloc arrived as well, quickly taking busses and trucks to lead them to Daara. They were spread evenly across the front, with no strategical objective in mind. First shipments from USSR arrived as well, including pilots but, most importantly, a lot of hardware to bolster slowly exhausted syrian army, which would still take some time to arrive.
One cold, winter morning, a barrage of artillery fire awoke syrians entrenched in Deraa. Artillery hitting around and in the city, planes buzzing in the sky and leading their dogfights, people rushed in to defend. A crackling noise of machine guns in the distance was telling - that wasn’t a probing attack. Nearly four thousand jordanian troops from all around Deraa engaged in the attack, with the main objective being simple - take over the city. Two main prongs of attack led into the city proper, and to pierce through the highway leading into the city. Initially, syrians were able to withhold the attack for a day - with soviet volunteers being the main force behind that - but eventually, the road was cut, leaving Deraa with a single supply line. Heavy armored counterattack failed, despite inflicting very heavy losses on Jordanian armor, and the beachhead was established. But then, the frontlines died.
Defying their commanders, defender of Deraa and acting commander of Jordanian offensive met on neutral ground to discuss the terms of retreat. Both seeing the pointlessness of the fight, they agreed to twenty four hours ceasefire, during which syrian forces would abandon the city, and after which time jordanian forces would be allowed in. A corridor for civilians was also established, along which they would be able to retreat back into Syria. The ceasefire was taken with relief and happiness from soldiers, who were fighting for too long - and with somewhat of a dismay from soviet volunteers, who were used to bitter fighting.
Few days later another offensive was attempted by Jordanian forces; this time, however, it failed in the first hours, failing to breach syrian line. On the contrary, Syrian army attempted counterattack, reaching into suburbs of Deraa once more, and even capturing some of the buildings. Only intense street fighting would see a cease to the fighting, and since then, the frontline remained stable.
Elsewhere, Jordanian forces weren't as successful. The attempts at attacks in the west and east failed. While there was some progress in proximity to Golan heights, however they couldn’t beat the experience brought by volunteers. Syrian conscripts, while not exactly prepared for offensives, were good enough to put them in defensive lines and for the to contribute to the defense greatly. It was after the second failed Jordanian attempt at the attack that the leading commander of the local regiment ordered an attack towards the Sea of Galilee, in order to retake some lost ground. Surprised Jordanian soldiers, completely unprepared for a counterattack, gave up their positions easily, not inflicting many losses, but also not taking any themselves. However, few artillery guns fell to the Syrians in that somewhat rare situation. The attack was however quickly contained by arriving jordanian reinforcements, and now, both sides are just facing each other, awaiting orders between occasional artillery shellings.
In the east, an attempt was made to pierce supply roads across the entire frontlines. Artillery barrages were disrupting the movement of supplies, but not badly enough for units to be starved of supplies. There was success in the eastern part of the frontline - where massive strikes of Saudi forces managed to take a few smaller towns - but those were occupied by very high losses under brunt of syrian air force and artillery support. The rod no 109 stays mainly in Syrian hands, albeit facing enemies from two sides - it’s still defended.
And with the situation on the frontlines stabilized, there was another one brewing.
Turkish army sent some sixty five thousand men into Syria, in an attempt to “protect the minorities”, as their soldiers were saying - at least the indoctrinated ones. The rest had no idea why they were there, or why they stopped in the middle of Syria, but one was certain - civilians weren’t happy with them. It started with stones being thrown at passing cars, or groups of soldiers. Soon, however, it escalated into brutal clashes, where civilians would often fall dead. Turkish soldiers would then quickly abandon the area, but word of mouth spread very quickly, and soon enough, most people knew what was happening.
The anti-ottoman sentiments were still alive. While living in Syria wasn’t ideal, it wasn’t terrible. It beat the ottoman rule. Now, descendants of ottomans were marching on their streets and behaving as if they owned the place. What could people do? They could either stand down and keep to their own business, or go out, and make their word known. However, since SSNP was officially allowing them in, there wasn’t much they could do - except to take the fight themselves.
And soon enough, trouble began. Initially, some roadblocks appeared on turkish border. Easy obstacles, put in place just so turks would have to stop for a second. Then, roadblocks began to grow. More elaborate, heavier, and more difficult to get through. No one was admitting to building them. Enough money exchanged hands so police officers would not report any weird activities by civilians. Those blockades were real pain for turkish forces, oftent stopping supply deliveries by dozens of hours, if not days. Attempting to go around, the needed to turn around and go back through entire cities and villages, clogging the roads and creating a massive headache for everyone involved.
Then, fires began. Molotovs were thrown on the stranded trucks, very often forcing turkish soldiers to run in panic. Many of them turned back beaten, unable to recognize people who beat them, only talking about how many there were or in how much pain they were. When trucks were on fire, syrian police and guards would block off the area - with not enough fire fighting engines, they needed to let the fires finish, and with risk of cookoff of explosives and munitions in there, people had to be moved back.
That only assisted shadowy figures in quickly putting out the fires with water and sand, and stealing weapons, munitions, and supplies.
Soon enough, convoys were escorted by armored vehicles and trucks full of soldiers. In one very unlucky accident, entire convoy of six trucks and two armored vehicles was set on fire; killing nearly everyone onboard as they were shot attempting to escape.
Message was fairly clean - Turks weren’t welcomed there. Facing more and more adversaries in supposedly friendly territory, they’ve had two choices - either fall back, which wasn’t really an option, or keep going, and fight their way through.
Command took the second option.
On this very fateful day, 29th January, a convoy of few trucks and armored vehicles were passing through Manbij underway south. Expectedly, it was blocked by a roadblock, but this time, they did not stop, even when Molotovs were thrown at them, and an angry mob appeared in side streets. Instead of that, two platoons of soldiers, armed with automatic rifles, disembarked their trucks, and opened fire. People quickly fell, and who wasn’t hit was scrambling for their lives. The soldiers didn’t stop there, though; in organised groups, they entered local houses, and massacred the populace in an act of vengeance. No one was spared until the daylight appeared, when convoy reformed and left the city.
Word of the massacre has quickly spread, and suddenly, turkish soldiers were facing trouble everywhere - not only from civilians, but also from police and guards. More supply disappearing, more weapons lost, more soldiers hit - not only in Syria. In mountainous, eastern reaches of Turkey more and more trouble was brewing, with news of turkish bestiality against civilians of Manbij, out of which most had no connections to the attack. News of brutally raped and murdered eight-year old girl has taken first place, and soon enough, her face became the face of protests across northern Syria and kurdish regions in Turkey. And while the situation in the former was bad, the latter was terrible, with Kurds openly defying turkish rule and taking to arms. (Crisis post follows).
In the air, the situation remained similar to that of past months. Very little excursions happened, with Syrian planes guarding their zones of control and Jordanian and Egyptian planes guarding theirs. In one brave attempt, a wing of egyptian Vampyres attempted a low-level pass over the frontline and headed towards Golan heights, to take pictures of advancing Syrian forces. They didn’t reach far, however, before two syrian air patrols of MiGs-15 and Yaks-17 intercepted them, quickly reaching 4:1 superiority. Egyptian planes using Jordanian roundels were attacked at once, with only one out of six planes returning home, badly damaged, to only two Yak-17’s damaged.
In another notable event, two turkish Hawker Hurricanes were intercepted by a Syrian Yak-15 during their attempt in attacking presumed guerillas hideout in Syria. The jet fighter leveled flight with two props and demanded their identification, not recognizing their roundels. When they ignored him and went into tighter combat formation, he retreated, and began following two planes, attempting to understand their intentions. When he noticed, however, that they were lining up to attack one of the villages in Syria, he waited for them to the fire first shot. As soon as he saw bursts of their wing-mounted cannons, his own series pierced old planes, with one exploding, and second falling down in a plume of smoke.
Phase two has ended, and we are yet to see if the war continues. For now it continues to be stagnant, with little to no progress, and both sides swelling in their sizes with time. Turkey is facing more adversaries both abroad and at home, more problems seem to arrive on their horizons. Current frontlines of Syria; black lines being frontline changes
313 dead, 749 wounded, 121 missing
1 Yak-17, 1 B-24, 2 Tu-2
11 T-34, 6 T-44, 5 IS-2, 5 M4 Sherman, 12 M5 Halftrack, 8 ZSU-37 Tank Destroyers, 11 AT guns, 11 BA-64 Armored Cars
Antiimperialistische Freiwilligenarmee: 194 dead, 322 wounded, 15 missing Jordan
446 dead, 1741 wounded, 111 missing
6 Spitfires, 2 Mosquitos, 1 Beaufighter
3 Centurion tanks, 36 Matilda II Tanks, 12 Humber Armored Cars, 9 Universal Carriers Egypt
5 Mosquitos Saudi Arabia
551 dead, 2755 wounded, 301 missing
2 M46 Patton Tanks, 10 M5 stuart Light Tanks, 3 M24 Chaffee Light Tanks, 10 M5 Halftracks, 16 M3 Scout cars, 3 M8 Armored Cars Turkey
242 dead, 123 wounded, 13 missing
46 supply trucks burned and destroyed, 2 M46 Patton tanks burned, 2 Hawker Hurricane planes shot down Civilians
960 dead, 587 wounded, 2870 missing (60% of that assigned to Manbij Massacre)
- Small land exchanges between warring forces
- Deraa split between Jordan and Syria
- Turkey faces raising insurgence in mountainous region, and hate from arabs in Syria
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