The federal government in Addis Ababa has reinforced the deployment of its military apparatus along the borders with the regional state of Tigray, sending several soldiers to the main areas affected by the fighting in norther Ethiopia.
The dynamics of the clashes seem to highlight how federal forces-supported by Amhara militias-and Eritrean forces have been launching attacks from the north and south, putting Tigrayan forces in a difficult position at this stage, as they have ceded territory at several points along the front.
Violent fighting was reported on September 12 in the Qwara woreda area of Amhara territory between federal army units (supported by Amhara regional militias) and Tigrayan TDF forces, while Tigrayan sources reported a double attack conducted on September 13 with armed drones against the Tigray regional state capital of Mekelle. The attack reportedly resulted in some civilian casualties, while no information was disclosed as to the targets hit (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-09-14/drone-kills-10-in-ethiopia-as-eritrea-pushes-deeper-into-tigray).
Federal and Amhara forces reportedly broke through the front line near the regional border between of Addi Arkay, penetrating north along the B30 provincial road for about 20 kilometers, succeeding in capturing the town of May Tsemere on September 7.
A massive reinforcement of Eritrean troops would be reported deep into northern Tigray, with the capture of a wide swath of Tigrayan territory east and west of the town of Adigrat, where fighting resumed in intensity on September 7 and continued in the following days throughout the area.
On September 13, however, Eritrean armed forces reportedly finally captured the town of Shiraro, in northwestern Tigray, after a week of intense fighting that began on September 8.
The resumption of the conflict, beginning last August 24, took a decidedly critical turn in the first half of September for the Tigrinya forces, which broke down at several points along the border under the push south of the federal offensive and north of the Eritrean forces (https://www.theafricareport.com/239656/eritreas-role-in-resumption-of-tigrays-war/?utm_source=newsletter_tar_daily&utm_campaign=newsletter_tar_daily_13_09_2022&utm_medium=email&utm_content=top_stories_article_2).
The military capacity of the TDF forces, at least at this stage, appears to be suffering from the prolonged attrition brought about by nearly two years of crisis, leading to the loss of the driving force that had characterized its first counteroffensive.
This condition would justify the changed willingness of the Tigray authorities to propose a cease-fire and begin negotiations according to a plan prepared by the African Union, declaring on September 13 that they were ready to send TPLF spokesman Getachew Reda and General Tsadkan Gebretinsae to represent Tigray in negotiations (https://www.voanews.com/a/fighting-puts-damper-on-ethiopian-new-year-as-tplf-says-it-will-accept-au-mediation/6746987.html).
The negotiating proposal formulated by the African Union, apparently joined by the federal government too, which appointed its own delegation, is a significant step forward in the attempt to resolve the serious military and humanitarian crisis unfolding in the country (https://www.garoweonline.com/en/world/africa/envoy-ethiopia-backs-au-led-peace-efforts-in-tigray-conflict). The Tigrayan TPLF authorities had until a few weeks ago rejected any negotiating assumptions made by both the federal government and the African Union, setting as a precondition for dialogue the liberation of the western regions of Tigray – still under occupation by Amhara forces – the effective release of humanitarian aid and the restoration of all essential services.
Following the violation of the cease-fire and the resumption of fighting last August 24 – a circumstance on which the actual responsibility has yet to be ascertained with certainty – and following three weeks of intense resumption of the offensive by the federal government, Amhara forces and Eritrean units, the military capacity of the TDF forces appears to have reached the limit of sustainability.
The Tigrinya government’s positive response to the African Union’s proposal was commented with satisfaction by the organization’s president, Moussa Faki Mahamat, as well as by the United Nations, where Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on all parties to seize the important opportunity for the start of a negotiation process.