120 SDF Killed !!!

Just saw this news report: US-allied Syria force says it foiled major IS comeback plot

They are saying that the prison overrun by the Islamic State in northeastern Syria is now fully under its control.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) say that more than 120 of their fighters and prison workers died in the ten-day standoff at Gweiran prison. More than 120 of their people killed, as reported by SDF! This is a degree of losses rarely seen by a counterinsurgent force. It is stunning.

The SDF also claims that 374 ISIL militants, including the initial attackers, were also killed. So, I was pretty rattled when I realized that ISIL was organizing a company-level attack. So, was this a battalion-level attack?

My previous posts on the subject:

In Case We Forget | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

More on the revived ISIL | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

The Revival of ISIL | Mystics & Statistics (dupuyinstitute.org)

Among many of the subjects that I wanted to address in our various insurgency studies (see Modern American Wars), before all funding stopped (because the U.S. was so good at combating insurgencies?), was an analysis of the early stages of an insurgency; how they started and developed in their first few years. This appears to be an insurgency that is revitalizing itself. Suspect it is only going to get worse. 

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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

Articles: 1516


  1. Insurgencies – like other wars – begin with one individual – someone has the will and dominant leadership personality to gather other like minded (or just wealth minded – booty ) people around him and is recognized as a leader who can create success. for instance, Al Capone – any number of Gothic, Saka. Arab, Afghan, African et cetera individuals who created even large empires as their success brought in more warrior minded individuals seeking to benefit from participation. As Dr McCloskey stermed it – betterment – john s

    • Well, we do have data base of over 80 post-WWII insurgencies. So what I would be looking at doing is conducting some additional research into the early stages of each of these insurgencies, looking at when the cadre of revolutionaries was first formed, where did they develop from, how big it was, how widely established was it, what was the nature of their cause/grievance, and how long did it operate before it rolled over to combat. And then from there, what was involved in its early development as a combat force, size, recruitment, and how long did it take to develop before people started taking it seriously as an insurgency.

      This is not a small task across 80+ insurgencies, but such an effort would provide some basis for examining and evaluating the threat from developing insurgencies.

  2. Thank you. Very interesting observation of a big gap in our knowledge. Makes me wonder how much of our present knowledge is just guesswork.

  3. Hola. Cuando se dice de un tipo de insurgencia que es baja. media o alta en que tipo de valores se puede basar uno? expansión territorial, facilidad para desplazarse y captación, armamento sofisticado?. Para que un experto diga que el Daesh está a un nivel de insurgencia todavía baja, en que se basa.

    • Translation courtesy Google:

      Hello. When it is said of a type of insurgency that it is low. medium or high on what kind of values can one base one? territorial expansion, ease of movement and recruitment, sophisticated weapons?. For an expert to say that Daesh is at a still low level of insurgency, what is it based on?

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