This account of the fighting is published since it tackles the difficult question of Eritrean involvement.
Professor Awet Weldemichael provided it in a series of Tweets, of which the first is attached. The map is not his and is added to provide context.
#Ethiopia’s largest offensives against #TPLF came from the North. That’s b/c Eritrea has been part of conflict since shortly after TPLF attack on Northern Command on 11/04. Initially, federal troops in Humera were blocked at the bridge from crossing into Omhajer in Eritrea.
In subsequent days, though, federal units seen in Omhajer, reorganizing. #Eritrea/n president & 2 senior-most generals sighted, overseeing coordination. When fed. troops marched on Humera, Eritrean & Eritrean-manned Ethiopian artillery offered cover. TPLF units had no chance.
Around Ethiopian-occupied Eritrean village, Badme, 1 infantry & 1 mechanized divisions of federal army entered Eritrea on 11/07. They joined their respective Eritrean counterparts in area. 2 senior Eritrean generals received the Ethiopian commander & planned joint operation.
#Eritrea/n long-range artillery with additional federal heavy weapons took out TPLF defenses b/c of prior knowledge of targets (area of 20-year conflict/confrontation b/n the 2 countries), paving way for federal infantry to ‘easily’ reach Sheraro (deep inside Tigray).
Reorganized #TPLF reversed their initial advance & gave chase toward Eritrean border before #Eritrean infantry entered the fray to stop TPLF’s return. That was first time Eritrean combat units faced off #Tigrayan forces. Exact coordinates of each side’s positions not clear.
Farther east, #Eritrean heavy shelling started unprovoked before federal troops marched on TPLF-held Zalambessa. TPLF tactical counter-offensive scattered federal troops & fought inside Eritrea. Joint forces then slowly pushed TPLF toward Adigrant – at a heavy toll, presumably.
In days leading up to (& following) #TPLF bombing of #Asmara – 11/14, dozens of #Ethiopian military planes airlifted 1000s of soldiers, equipment & logistics to 3 Eritrean airports before transporting them by road to war zone.
Some of these fresh troops likely took #Rama (Ethiopia) from #AdiKuala (Eritrea). Attacks from north (Rama) and northwest (Badme) converged at Shire to devastating effect on TPLF. That line of attack then proceeded east toward Aksum & Adwa, flanking Adigrat on its west.
#Eritrea’s outsized and highly refined military knowhow unmatched in the region in past 5 decades. Just as it rescued TPLF in 1989 at Shire against the Derg, I believe it’s now been effective in whittling down TPLF strength and speeding up federal troops’ advances.
It’s been difficult to establish Eritrean presence as fighting continued deeper into Ethiopia – telecommunications blockade, effective. Equally difficult to corroborate TPLF claim that Eritrean artillery (and/or expertise) are deployed in Raya/Alamata front south of Mekelle.
If Eritrean forces are now around Mekelle as TPLF claims, the latter stands no chance in conventional warfare. But my anxiety isn’t over who will win/lose. I continue to agonize over cost to innocent civilians & chances for peace slipping through our fingers EVERY GODDAMNED TIME!
Finally, point here is not whether #Eritrea has reason to get involved; but that it’s been part of fabric of this #EthiopianCivilWar is beyond question. That’s why any diplomatic talk/pressure for peaceful resolution won’t succeed unless it involves Asmara – in 1 form or another.