Evidence of RSF control in West Omdurman
Geolocation of RSF appearances along the frontline in Al-Thawra
Sudan’s most populous city, Omdurman, has suffered from unceasing combat since the outbreak of civil war in April 2023. The fiercest fighting has been in the Old Omdurman neighborhoods, the Popular Market [Alsuwq Alshaebiu], and the industrial area. This part of the frontline has been the focus of online debates, independent media coverage, and coverage by the military media of the two warring parties.
By contrast, few videos, reports, or other data have covered the situation in the western neighborhoods of Al-Thawrat, including the Halayeb district. This has made it difficult to identify the frontline in this part of Omdurman using open-source methods.
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It was therefore noteworthy when the Rapid Support Forces published a video on January 28 showing their troops in Al Thawra blocks 26, 27, 28, and 29, appearing also at the West Al Harat Police Station.
The RSF frontline in this area faces east toward the army’s right flank, west toward the Markhiyat hills, and north toward the northern neighborhoods of Al Thawra and the Karari military area. It is the northernmost RSF salient in the city. The RSF have used their forces in Al-Thawra to attack the army’s right flank, diverting troops that the army otherwise could have used along its main axis of attack in central Omdurman.
We’re unsure of the exact extent of RSF control in western Omdurman. There’s little evidence that they control anything north of the Halayeb market, though there have been clashes in the northern Al Thawra neighborhoods, and persistent shelling.
Videos like the one above are filmed largely for the benefit of RSF’s own soldiers, aiming to boost morale. Recently, the RSF have increased their output of propaganda videos from Omdurman, coinciding with SAF advances in the Popular Market and Old Omdurman.
The army has deployed some of its best forces and equipment in Omdurman, including troops of the intelligence authority’s Operations Authority, the 9th Airborne Division, and the Al-Baraa Ibn Malik Brigade, which is an Islamist armed group operating alongside the army with the implicit blessing of the SAF leadership. On August 25, Al-Burhan visited Al-Baraa’s leader, “Al-Misbah,” after being extracted from the besieged General Command headquarters on August 24, while publicly he denied that the army embraced the Islamists during a visit to Egypt on August 29.