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Syria Update: Noodly appendages at al-Bab

Sweet Christ. When the SDF decides to move, they can really MOVE. That long noodley appendage was all taken TODAY, completely surrounding an ISIS hardpoint and putting them in striking distance of al-Bab. If would have taken the Turkish-backed FSA weeks to cover that distance.

And speaking of noodley appendages, the Shiite militias in Iraq have finally taken Tel Afar airfield, roughly one million years after beginning their long, slow march across the desert to reach it. Good job, guys.

ISIL are putting up a hell of a fight north of Raqqa, but they've pretty much written off most of the area around al-Bab. Now that the connection to Turkey has been severed, it's not really worth all that much to them, though when the Battle of al-Bab begins in earnest, I do expect a lot of them to fight, die, and find out how just their cause really was.

They put up a strong fight against the Afrin SDF who were trying to take the hills to the west, so I do think they're going to try to protect al-Bab. Their supply route to Turkey has been badly weakened, but it is still functioning via smugglers, and maintaining at least some presence in the area could allow them to rebound someday if the war changes dramatically. They don't really care about the countryside, but they have been fighting for the most strategic areas, and they'll fight for the city, too.

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