Gregory Waters Profile picture
Jun 17, 2018 20 tweets 15 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
New thread on interesting SAA & Republican Guard facts/anecdotes I’m finding for an upcoming report. Mostly stuff from earlier in the war.
Video shows #Chechen foreign fighters in Ballermoun, Aleppo on March 17, 2014

On 3/21 rebels here killed Maj General Samea Abbas, head of the 102nd Regiment RG. On 3/25 they killed Brig General Qasi Mohammad, commander of the 415th Battalion of the 102nd.
Seems the 415th Battalion was destroyed in this battle as I can’t find any credible references to it after Qasi’s death. 102nd remained in #Aleppo until late 2017 (when deployment reports end).
Brig Gen Mohammad Nayouf took command of the 102nd by 10/14/2014. He commanded the regiment in #Aleppo until 11/14/2017 when he took command of the 105th Brigade RG and oversaw their operations in #Harasta, #EastGhouta, & #SouthDamascus (pics from S Damascus & Aleppo).
I reported a story on Feb 28 of the 1421st RG Battalion that was ambushed in Zariqiyah, #EastGhouta and lost 70 men. The initial FB post put blame on the supporting units, not Lt Col Mustafa Suleiman.
However, the regime blamed Suleiman & arrested him shortly after the failed attack. Suleiman (from Baniyas) had been promoted on Jan 2 (pic 1) & had already received multiple medals “due to his honor & courage” (pic 2 from Feb 2017) pic 3 is calling for his release from jail.
One site claims Suleiman was executed for his “treason” (again, he was accused of botching an attack that some sources claimed was the fault of other units). Article also claims Suleiman took part in the Baba Amr attack (in which govt killed Marie Colvin)
After Suleiman, Major Basil alGhush took command of the 1421st. Basil commanded an RG unit besieged during the March 2017 Jobar attack& “gained the confidence of” #Assad & RG Commander Maj Gen Talal Makhlouf (pic 1). Basil personally greeted Assad on the Ghouta frontlines (pic 2)
Maj Basil later joined a #Douma operations room alongside Liwa Abu Fadhal Abbas commander Maher Ajeeb (pic 1, center) and Maj Khalid Ghassan Ali (pic 1, left), commander of the 105th RG Brigade’s 358th Battalion. Maj Ali also met #Assad during hit Ghouta visit (pic 2).
Maj Ali (105th RG, 358th Battalion) is apparently still operating alongside Liwa Abu Fadhal Abbas commander Maher Ajeeb. Pictured on June 5 (bottom right pic, raised arm) alongside Ajeeb overseeing #Quneitra front lines.
1/ Thread on the history of Maj General Zaid Ali Salah of reef #Jableh, #Latakia (pictured below), the current Syrian commander of the 5th Assault Corps, whose promotion was announced on January 22, 2018 (pic 2).
2/ Zaid began the war as the commander of the 10th Division’s 62nd Brigade fighting in South #Damascus, including during the Battle of #Zabadani in 2015. On Jan 28, 2016 newly selected RG commander Talal Makhlouf appointed Zaid as his deputy commander of the Republican Guard.
3/ In May 2016, Zaid was appointed head of all #Aleppo RG units & within 2 months was credited with the govt victories in Ballermoun, Khalidiya, Castillo Road & Bani Zaid in #Aleppo (pic 1) Zaid replaced Maj Gen Adib Mohammad, who in Aug 2016 was removed from all military duties.
4/ On August 8, 2016 Zaid was promoted to the head of Political & Mil Security in #Aleppo & remained Talal Makhlouf’s deputy commander (pic 1). Sometime in October 2017 it appears that Zaid’s 2nd in command, Brig Gen Malik Alia (pic 2, right), took over his position.
5/ Malik had been shadowing Zaid for over a year, serving 1st as his deputy in each new position before succeeding Zaid each time he was promoted. Ex: Pic 1 shows Malik as the newly promoted Commander of #Aleppo RG alongside 102nd RG commander Mohammad Nayouf on Aug 15, 2016.
6/ On Jan 22, 2017, Zaid was again promoted, this time to head the new 30th RG Div which would unite all #Aleppo RG & Pol/Mil security units under one command (Zaid remained head of Pol & Mil security). Again, Malik became his Chief of Staff.
7/ In Sept 2017, Zaid announced that draft dodgers had one month to join the 30th Div & be forgiven (pic 1). One man surrendered himself to the 30th but was instead transferred to the 83rd Battalion in #Harasta & wounded during the rebel offensive (pic 2).
8/ In Nov 2017 Brig Gen Malik replaced Zaid as commander of the 30th Div. It’s not clear what, if any, new position Zaid took. In December he was pictured touring #abukamal #DeirEzZor w/ DeZ #NDF commander Firas al-Jaham (right) & Security Branch head Brig Jamal Razouk (center).
9/ Finally, on January 22, 2018, Maj Gen Zaid was announced as the new Syrian commander of the 5th Assault Corps (the Russian-backed unit created in late 2016) making appearances in #Hama (pic 1) and #EastGhouta (pic 2).
10/10 Zaid rose rapidly through the SAA likely due to his personal standing w/ Talal Makhlouf. Zaid was THE man in Aleppo, meeting w/ Defense Minister (pic1) Russian Lt Gen & Suheil Hassan (pic2) heads of Liwa al-Quds & Liwa al-Baqir (pic3) & Desert Hawks’ Mohammad Jaber (pic4).

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More from @GregoryPWaters

Sep 4, 2018
Profile for al-Komeet Forces: a #Tiger_Forces "storming unit" from Tartous led by Firas Issa (pic 1).

Group is approx company-sized (~80 men) and is the *only* known TF unit fighting IS in south Syria (now moving to Lajat).
Al-Komeet is particularly interesting bc they have close ties to both #Hezbollah and Bustan Association.

While Tigers fought IS in Reef #Aleppo in Jan 2017, al-Komeet was fighting in #Qaryatayn w/ #Hezbollah & al-Rashashat Battalion of the Bustan Association.
Firas & al-Komeet also fought with #Hezbollah in #Boukamal #DeirEzZor in Dec 2017 (pic) and likely w/ them in #Suwayda now where they cont to operate alongside Bustan’s al-Rashashat Battalion.
Read 6 tweets
Aug 8, 2018
1/8 Short thread on Dyab “Abu Arab” Afouf, commander and founder of the Tiger Forces’ “Abu Arab Groups” from Harasta, Damascus. Here he meets with Suheil on Oct 3, 2017.
2/8 According to opposition sources, Afouf’s father was a close bodyguard of Hafez Assad but was killed when he tried to run away. Dyab Afouf was reportedly known for selling drugs & alcohol in Harasta before becoming a ‘Shabiha’ then joining TF.
3/8 But what’s really interesting is his role in negotiating the surrender of Harasta in March 2018. Abu Arab Groups (made almost entirely of Damascus fighters) were sent to Harasta frontlines as early as January 6 (when most TF units were in Idlib).
Read 9 tweets
Mar 26, 2018
Robert and I spent 6 months 'inside' IS FB communities documenting their culture and strategies. We also mapped the connections between 1000 FB accounts from every inhabited continent. Full (lengthy) report to be published by @FightExtremism in early May.
We saw 1st-hand IS use FB to recruit westerners and how FB's recommended friends algorithm rapidly connects you to active IS networks. Once one IS supporter is friended, dozens from around the globe are recommended. Read this thread for just some examples:
Blatant lies by #Zuckerberg. @RobertPostings & I found dozens of public profiles of American IS supporters explicitly calling for terror attacks & using FB Live to discus how to carry out attacks. FB has done nothing to combat extremism on its platform.
Read 28 tweets
Jan 11, 2018
Thread] Timeline of events in #Harasta #Damascus. 188 reported govt deaths since 11/14. 49 officers KIA. Total deaths likely reach 300.
Phase 1: 75 reported KIA
Phase 2: 113 reported KIA
Many high ranking officers died in both offensives including 10 Generals & Colonels (more than on any other front in November & December).
Rebels claimed to have destroyed or damaged 7 tanks, 2 BMPs & 5 pieces of artillery after Phase 1.
Read 48 tweets

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