The North Koreans are reportedly preparing to put the People’s submarine out to sea for a Christmas missile launch. Commercial satellite imagery showed ambiguous signs that North Korea’s GORAE-class, experimental, ballistic missile submarine is preparing to depart Sinpo. According to the imagery analysts at 38 North, the netting that usually covers the submarine and a submersible test barge has been removed.
There are many reasons the netting would be removed, but it is always removed before leaving port. Last week, open sources reported that North Korean engineers conducted land-based testing of the KN-11 submarine launched ballistic missile. In that context, a departure for an at-sea test should be expected.
The Norks don’t celebrate Christmas so in their typical Grinch-like behavior, they want to ruin it for a lot of other people by causing them to have to work on Christmas.
Snow in Syria
Fourteen Turkish soldiers were killed and 33 wounded in clashes with the Islamic State (ISIL) fighters at al Bab in northern Syria. Turkey claimed its forces killed 138 ISIL fighters.
“Once this area has been seized, Daesh’s (ISIL) dominance of al-Bab will, to a large extent, be broken,” it said in a statement, using an Arabic acronym for the group. ISIL was using suicide bombers and vehicle-borne explosives intensively, it added.
Syrian news services report that the evacuation of Aleppo continued on 21 December despite a snowstorm. Government forces have halted movements to enter the last rebel neighborhoods until the evacuees are gone. After that President Asad is expected to declare the liberation of Aleppo complete.
This is the highest number of casualties the Turks sustained since President Erdogan sent Turkish Army units into northern Syria on 24 August. The ISIL fighters at al Bab have put up stiffer resistance than the Turks expected. Thus far, the Turk’s so-called anti-terror campaign, Operation Euphrates Shield, has faltered as clashes occurred beyond the immediate border. Al Bab is about 18 miles from the Turkish border.