Sunday, May 15, 2016

Syrian Army in Hasakah

The Syrian Army presence in the Eastern half of the country is down to three isolated pockets, one of which is Hasakah. Hasakah city is controlled jointly by the Syrian Army and the Kurdish YPG. The Syrian army (SAA) also has an artillery base East of the city known as the Kawkab artillery base, or 546th artillery base.

Kawkab base has proven itself to be an impenetrable fortress. The base contains about a dozen D-30 122mm artillery pieces and about 20 tanks.

D-30 artillery inside Kawkab:

Tanks inside Kawkab:

The last time Hasakah saw heavy fighting was during the Islamic State's offensive on the city during the summer of 2015. Initially ISIS was successful in pushing the SAA and YPG back, and were able to enter the city. ISIS took several neighborhoods inside Hasakah before the YPG cut off the roads they entered through, trapping them in these neighborhoods. The besieged ISIS fighters were then shelled by the SAA and YPG resulting in their annihilation. 300-400 ISIS fighters were killed in the battle along with about 125 SAA.

SAA T-55 tanks and one BMP-1 AMB-S moving to the Hasakah frontlines, 2015:

The Besieged ISIS-held neighborhoods were shelled by T-55 tanks as well as artillery fired from Kawkab base.

SAA KPV machine gun technical firing on ISIS positions:

Since the 2015 ISIS offensive Hasakah has been fairly calm. Small skirmishes and tensions have occurred between the YPG and SAA, but these tend to be resolved quickly. The SAA Hasakah garrison continues to grow as new recruits join the SAA and well as the SAA allied "National Defense Force" militia.

New NDF soldiers under training, May 2016:
New SAA soldiers training with T-55 tanks inside Kawkab base, 2016 (Photos via @Ivansidorenko1):
Notice two T-55 tanks and one BTR-60 in the background:

While things are quiet in Hasakah right now, ISIS could always try a new offensive. Should that happen, the SAA seems prepared to repel it.

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