Several drone raids by Ethiopia’s federal armed forces have been reported over the past week against TDF targets in Tigray, where fighting continues as much in the north as in the east and west of the regional state.
The Associated Press reported on October 10, citing Tigrayan sources, that a mighty Eritrean offensive was reportedly launched in the northeast, near the towns of Rama, Koloburdo (actually cited as Tserona, or Tserona area, which is in Eritrean territory) and Zalambessa, along the country’s three main eastern arteries (https://apnews.com/article/africa-ethiopia-addis-ababa-eritrea-8300b0ef6e8c34068a45adb7953df11d).
The information, which the Associated Press itself has not been able to verify given the difficulties in communications, refers to an intense offensive that Eritrea is reportedly launching from the north with the support of Ethiopian Federal Army troops, and which is reportedly being conducted through relentless initial artillery action.
Also reported by the news agency, Eritrean forces engaged in the fighting would amount to 100,000 soldiers, organized into 10 mechanized infantry divisions, while the resumption of fighting would result in the final halt of humanitarian operations in Tigray and the suspension of food supplies.
Intense fighting was reported on October 11 in the vicinity of the town of Shire, which was hit by several drone-led air raids by the Ethiopian army, while Ethiopian federal and Eritrean forces appeared to have taken control of almost the entire road route of the B30 northwest bound branch, managing to push as far as the town of Adi Kokob, which reportedly fell on October 11 itself.
On October 14, Amhara regional state forces and their allied Fano militias also launched attacks from the southern front. The two main thrusts of these attacks were conducted along the route of the A2 highway, in the direction of the town of Alamata, and further west along the route of the B30 road, where Amhara forces reportedly succeeded in entering Tigrinya territory for several kilometers, pushing as far as the village of Mai Leham.
The current scale of the conflict appears to have again shifted in the direction of an attempt by the Ethiopian and Eritrean federal governments to sap Tigrayan resistance and wear down its operational capacity by engaging its forces in combat on multiple fronts. Tigray’s forces appear at this stage to be clearly struggling to withstand the brunt of such a massive offensive, although the scale of the Ethiopian and Eritrean advance still appears geographically modest.
Several countries continue to make appeals to the contenders to bring them back to the negotiating table, while criticism of Eritrea for its role in the conflict increases. The United States, Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Britain and Germany have condemned the resumption of fighting, explicitly pointing to the role played by Eritrea (https://www.dw.com/en/how-eritrea-fuels-the-war-in-ethiopia-making-peace-more-unlikely/a-63442246).
Finally, it is unclear if and how the announced and then postponed talks promoted by the African Union to be held in South Africa can actually be organized. Both the Ethiopian federal government and regional authorities in Tigray say they are ready to negotiate, but the continuing fighting and intensity of clashes could frustrate any attempt to promote dialogue.