This column was originally written for the Unz Review: http://www.unz.com/tsaker/week-three-of-the-russian-intervention-in-syria/
Whether this tragedy was directly linked to the war in Syria or not, there is no doubt that the downing of Kogalymavia Flight 9268 was the main event of the past week. Since I have covered this issue elsewhere, I shall not return to it in detail again here. I will just repeat here my personal conclusion that this tragedy will not impact the Russian operation in Syria or affect the political situation inside Russia. As for the cause of the tragedy, there are increasing indications that both western and Russian security services have come to a tentative conclusion that it was, indeed, a bomb. On Friday, the head of the Federal Security Service has recommended canceling all flights to Egypt and the evacuation of all the Russian citizens in Egypt (roughly 70,000 people). Several EU countries have also taken similar measures.
There has, however, been another interesting but less noticed development this week in the Russian operation in Syria: the Russians are quietly but very effectively “digging in”.
For the first time, Russia has officially declared that air-defense units were also deployed with the Russian forces. Until now, the main burden for air defense had fallen upon the Russian Navy and, specifically, the ships equipped with the naval variant of the S-300 missile system. This was not an optimal solution not only because it put the burden of defending land based assets from the sea, tying down the Russian navy expeditionary force, but also because this solution only “covered” about half of Syria.
The use of the Moskva guided missile cruiser was a stop-gap measure designed to protect the Russian force in Latakia, but now it appears that dedicated air defense units have been deployed. These are most likely the land-based versions of the S-300 missile, possibly in combination with point defense systems such as the Pantsir-S1 and other, shorter range, MANPADs such as the 9K338 Igla-S and the advanced 9K33 Verba.
There are also reports indicating that the Russians have deployed very sophisticated electronic warfare units including top-of-the line Krasukhka-4 EW systems which are amongst the most sophisticated mobile EW systems ever built and they are reportedly capable of jamming AWACS and satellites in space. Add to this the presence of SU-30SMs in the skies, and you have a force capable of controlling the Syrian skies.
When asked about this Russian officials gave a cute reply: they said that these air-defense systems were deployed in case of a hijacked aircraft being used to attack the Russian airbase in Latakia. Right.
The real purpose of these efforts is becoming obvious: Russia is trying to deny the US the control of the skies over Syria and, so far, there is very little the USA can do about it (short of starting WWIII). Furthermore, the Russians are also sending a message to Turkey, France and Israel – all countries which have, at different times and in different ways, indicated that they wanted to use the Syrian airspace for their own purposes.
There are now also reports of Russian special forces being sent to Syria. The WSJ suggested that these forces could be given the tasks of liaising with Syrian intelligence and acting as forward air controllers (FACs). I also personally see another important task for these units: to pre-position hidden fuel caches for the Russian helicopters should there be a need to send them to rescue downed Russian pilots in eastern Syria (Russian Spetsnaz units did create such fuel cashes in southern Afghanistan during the war).
Take a look at the combat radius of Russian helicopters in Syria. Ideally, a search and rescue mission would employ both a dedicated attack helicopter such as the Mi-24 and a multi-role helicopter such as the Mi-17, the former provider cover and protection for the latter. It would also be possible to have SU-25s protecting Mi-17s, but the best possible version would be to have a covert refueling base somewhere deep inside nominally Daesh territory to extend the range of the rescue teams.
Some western sources believe that Russian special forces might also be given direct action missions. This is absolutely possible and such missions are well within the capabilities of the Spetsnaz GRU. Still, there primary mission is a special reconnaissance one and while they might be used to destroy a high value Daesh target (material or human), we will probably never hear about it.
What is certain is that the Russians are steadily increasing their capabilities in Syria and that their presence is rapidly growing from a small and vulnerable force to a much more balanced and capable one.
The Syrians, in the meanwhile, might be achieving their first real successes in their counter offensive. While the Syrian government forces have been slowly pushing back Daesh on many fronts, this progress had, until now, failed to yield an operational breakthrough. This might be happening right now with the much awaited reopening of the highway to Aleppo.
The main problem for the Russians remains the fact that the Syrian military has not been able to capitalize on the Russian intervention. This is due to a combination of factors including the fact that the Syrian military is over-streched and unable to concentrate enough forces in one location to achieve a significant breakthrough and the fact that Daesh fighters are well dug-in and are, by all accounts, resisting with determination and skill. Still, the Russian air campaign is degrading the Daesh capabilities and it is possible that, eventually, this will result in a sudden collapse of the Daesh lines in a critical part of the front. For example, the Syrian army is, reportedly, only a few miles from liberating the Kuweyres military airbase and even though its progress is very slow it is likely that the Syrians will eventually break the Daesh siege of this crucial objective. Likewise, in Djobar neighborhood of Damascus is gradually being reconquered in, again, a slow moving but successful operation.
All in all, I am very cautiously optimistic and I keep hoping for an operational victory for the Syrians. If it does not happen, the Iranians and Hezbollah will have to move much larger forces in.
Graphics by SouthFront
I wonder why would SAA squander their limited offensive capabilities on almost all sections of the front instead of concentrating and achieving operational succes in one most important front. I doubt they are that incompetent, but i can’t understand why they operate in such way. Experts, please reply
Given the superlative quality of the article, it would be good if only experts reply, and the rest of us watch on and learn.
Yes. Wait. Hold your breath. The Authority will tell you what to think.
Sort of the anti-Vineyard, eh?
You want to pretend to be an expert on everything and anything? To have an opinion on everything and anything? An opinion you think others should take seriously? What’s wrong with listening instead to those who’ve taken the trouble to study a subject? You might learn.
You will be surprised how little most “experts” know, and how much expertise exists in the minds of many from all over the world, many of whom come to the Vineyard and displays some gems.
I’m sure you realise what follows: if the experts don’t know, you sure as hell don’t. Their guesses are at least educated, ours are of no worth. It’s most obvious with things like particle physics or molecular and cell biology etc. but applies to some degree to all knowledge, including things like economics…and military strategy.
An expert is someone from out of town.
So a Martian would have been placed to put Yogi Berra right on the finer points of baseball?
Anyway, I clearly haven’t had my wish granted.
It’s a bit of a chore raking around for the odd gem. I suppose that argues for reading only the Saker and his guests, not his followers.
Agree.. I would have believed they’d focus all their effort in restoring territorial continuity first, such as taken over the the Rastan pocket first, that would have been very helpfully militarly and easy to maintain as the area already is a pocket and there is no way for the terrorist to take it again and it would have been a huge moral boost and operational victory(Thought not fully certain what operational victory means) . Then push the offensive to Hama and Latakia province.
If we are to view the situation in a super positive way, I can we can assume that the multiple offenses were made to test and distract, meaning initially they were probes, then when they found the area easiest to advance in, they focused all their effort their, this would be the Aleppo offensive then.
The problem is that in order to concentrate forces on any one sector of the front, they would have to remove critically important forces defending other sectors. This is why Daesh is attacking in several locations – to force the Syrians to go defend these sectors thereby preventing them from achieving the needed concentrations elsewhere.
Remember the rule of thumb: the attacker needs roughly a 3:1 advantage against the defender (higher in urban settings). So Daesh in defense has an advantage in numbers (which they even have in absolute numbers).
Does this clarify the issue for you?
Can you remind us again, what sort of numbers we’re talking about (ballpark)? How many Syrian army troops, how many Daesh? And how many could Hezbollah and Iran mobilise?
The Syrians were maneuvered into this battlefield position over a long 4 years of fighting the Hegemon, the Arabs, AQ, and now the fully trained and armed ISIS armies.
One reason the Russians had to move in was to save the overextended and weakened SAA.
However, they still have valor and now have real allies.
It is time for changes in tactics, and these take time. Eventually, ISIS will be facing Russian artillery en masse.
However, I see the need for Iranian forces in very large numbers to clean out Raqqa and some of the other large urban strongholds, and then to liquidate ISIS in Iraq, especially Mosul.
The Iranians have been timid, perhaps afraid of US bombing their formations.
Thus, until Russia can enforce Russia-only skies, this will be a tough slough.
The idea is to prevent resupply and counter offensives while transit and resupply points are shut down squeezing the anti-Assad groups. Two, the Syrians don’t want to over extend and risk a large defeat. Three, the Syrians don’t want armed groups behind them. Moving quickly risks this. The Russians know full well they were forced out of Afghanistan because of attacks on logistics, not on cities or bases. How long before the various rebel groups run out of food, gear, and ammunition? The U.S. can only have so many resupply accidents with a now coordinated operation.
Much of the civilian population has fled or is inside Assad controlled areas. Outside of the original Russian strikes around Damascus, there isn’t a pressing objective. Where would Al Nursa and ISIS flee to? Their open border is shrinking. With Iranian and Russian arms, the Syrians are free to not conserve ammunition.
I think the plan is to exterminate ISIS and Al Nursa. Native Syrians might be welcomed back in a fashion, but the foreign fighters won’t be offered any kind of reprieve. Killing 25,000 to 30,000 Islamic militants and closing the borders are the objectives. To prevent them from digging in, moving, and launching their own offensives, the Syrian coalition is attacking everywhere at once. Iran may step up if any potential weak fronts are perceived.
Remember the Russians aren’t looking for secret wmd stockpiles to justify action or hoping to nab a single individual which would require the whole country to be under lock down. Putin hasn’t made promises of being received by the “liberated” people with open arms and parades.
NotTmothyGeithner, How do you know that closing the Turkish border to supplies is a priority? I’ve seen no reports of any Russian/Syrian action in this area since the early confrontation between Russian & Turkish planes. The US is now “officially” near the 65-mile gap in the Turkish border where supplies come in. The Kurds wanted to close this gap, but the US is insisting that they take Raqqa instead– aparently part of the US intention to partition Syria.
However, there may be a good reason why resources were not expended earlier to cose this gap, since Turkey would then pass supplies via its border with Iraq. And in any case it’s been reported that ISIS, et al is being supplied via air drop. Does anyone know if this is true?
I don’t know that, but the border points controlled by ISIS is small and can be policed from the sky. Supplying 30,000 fighters which the estimate from the Russians will be difficult without Turkey formally invading Syria. The Kurds control a good deal of the border, and the Kurt and the Assad government seem to be working together.
I’m assuming the Russians aren’t complete idiots and have the semblance of a plan. Even if they can’t lock down the northern crossing, supplies to still have to reach the fighters spread throughout the country. The Russians will bomb convoys moving through desolate regions, and the Syrian army controls most of the mountainous areas. Again I believe the goal is exterminating the Islamic fighters not retaking spots on a map the regime has survived without.
The Russians are well aware of the losses the Kiev regime suffered at the hands of the NAF by just driving tank columns around. The CIA might hope to trick the Russians to fall for a strategy that wrecked their fracking project in Ukraine, but the Russians can’t afford to be that stupid. Of course, the Russians do hang their hats on defeating Napoleon who rushed to grab spots on a map with no ability to hold and assimilate what he seized. As they say, “there is nothing new under the sun.” The Russians will deny resources, probe the enemy constantly, and attack weak points when they arise. I can’t imagine Moscow and Iran would sign up without being sure they could severely limit supply shipments to their enemy.
Last I heard the West was still parachuting supplies to the “moderate” rebels, which obviously means to ISIS, too since they are fully aligned.
You know what is funny? Spiked ammo, ammo that when the terrorists use, it blows up their guns.. Russia should airdrop this to the terrorist, but using american flags on the boxes, the terrorist will think “oh joy, more treats from our american masters” and then the next time they try to storm SAA position, the spiked ammo will blow up in their faces, this will cause them to distrust american drops and all ammo they capture in the future.
To many fronts and Turkey etc keeps pouring in resources…manpower weapons….it is like wac a mole to an extent. That is really what has to stop supply lines along that border.
Hi goatlover, I’m sorry I am not an expert but I am half Syrian and I have been following the events from the beginnings and I read a lot everyday. There was a very good analysis about the strategy of the Syrian army which seems slow and does not bring the immediate success and victory we are all craving so much. This analysis on a German website (sorry I can not offer a translation now) argued that the Syrian army is about to liberate village by village. This may look disappointing but all these small liberations will at the end liberate a huge area. Also it looks like the SAA is trying to trick the terrorists and make them believe they would attack at a certain area but in fact they are planning to attack somewhere else thereby binding enemy forces and weaken their defines lines. So far this tactic is working out when you look at the highway to Aleppo and Kuweiris airport.
Sorry if my explanation was not helpful but as someone who only understands very little about military tactics this is the best I could do.
Forget former wars; in your mind, overfly this terrain. There are thousands of battle-scarred veterans down there, not in your view but where they have been digging in for four years. They are more highly mobile than anything we’ve ever seen and we do notwant them behind us.
There’s nothing for it but to clean them out one by one, small village, hidden tunnel, fortified hill.
The Russians learned the hard way in Afghanistan and Chechnya. It’s not grand-dad’s war.
The ancient capital Al-Raqqah of the Abbasid Caliphate,is the vile heart of this present day evil.
Acording to wikipedia and other sources,everything Shia has been destroyed,also anything non-Sunni.
To remove this heart perhaps requires ‘Thermobaric’ treatment.
One way to deal with wahhabism is to drop fliers telling all civilians that the everyone that does not leave within a certain date will be viewed as terrorists, and then drop thermobaric bombs over it after that. That is kinda what USA does with drones, it defines all males above the age of 15 as terrorists in the target area.
Will the cats be able to read the flyers? Will the elderly and inform be able to leave? Will anyone be allowed to leave by the terrorists? Will the houses, etc. that are burned up be needed ever again? Will the terrorists reading such notice stay there?
Are you serious?
“Will the cats be able to read the flyers?”
-ISIS eat cats.
“Will the elderly and inform be able to leave?”
-Yes of course, as long you give more then a 24h notice.
“Will the houses, etc. that are burned up be needed ever again?”
-Are houses worth more then Syrian soldiers lives?
“Will the terrorists reading such notice stay there? ”
-Yes, they will hide in tunnels and basements, thinking the bombs wont reach them.
“Are you serious?”
-The only real concern is that they would not allow civilians to leave and even capture more civilians and put them on roof tops.
One might think you were American with you penchant for mass destruction — of people, infrastructure, and environment… except most Americans would say “Nuke ’em. Turn it all into a glass parking lot”, but it’s the same idea: imperialist terrorism.
Good thing the Russians are making the decisions.
One would think you were an american for your disregard for soldiers lives. Fighting in towns and cities is the worst type of fighting, and then doing it against an enemy that is fanatic and dug in for years of course even harder..
Perhaps you would not be so quick to disregard the value of the soldiers life to protect “the environment” if you had any idea how it was, going block by block, street by street, constantly under fire from above and infront and behind, forced to go into houses with booby traps behind everydoor, fighting room by room against an fanatic enemy that might have booby trapped the entire house to blow it up along with himself when enough troops has entered, forced to go down in deep dark, dank tunnels, filled with traps and ambushes around every corner to ferret out the last terrorists.. Only to find out the tunnels lead out of town and most of the terrorist has escaped and dug into the next town a few miles ahead which they have prepared with an equal amount of booby traps and fortifications which which will claim the lives of many of soldiers they even see the terrorists.
There is a huge difference between taking out a house — regardless of the weapon used (even a thermobaric grenade) — and warning with fliers to evacuate the place and then destroying the whole area (essentially like carpet bombing).
One might also use siege tactics — surrounding or guarding the area while denying essentials such as water — and wait them out, depending on the particular circumstance. It’s not necessary to kill terrorists right away if they are stuck hiding in the basements, and if they expose themselves to attack then they can be targeted.
But I think it best to leave such tactics to the military rather than sitting at the computer and telling them to destroy everything.
Assuming and accusing me of disregard for the welfare of soldiers is just something in your own head.
So ,how many people on this site do you think are Americans (It’d guess about 1/3rd).I seem to get from some people on “our side” sometimes a “reverse exceptionalism” feel.But maybe I need to remind people of other “exceptional” nations in our common past.The Roman Empire,that conquered and ruled what they called the “known World” of their time.The Arab Conquest of the MENA,Iberia,and even into India and Central Asia.That led to the deaths of millions.The Mongols,who, “exceptionally” ravaged Russia,Eastern Europe,Iran,Central Asia and other ME areas.The Crusaders that slaughtered people throughout the ME and Eastern Europe “spreading more exceptionalism” as they went. The Spanish Conquest of the of the America’s.For every native American killed by the US,3 or 4 died from the Spanish Conquest.The English Empire (and French,Dutch,Belgian,and Portuguese,as well) that butchered millions over the years.And ended with at least a quarter of the World under their rule.The nazi Germans,the “Aryan exceptionalists” that planned and attempted to murder whole ethnic peoples.Some say they got their ideas from the English and Americans.But if so (a big if) they certainly “tweaked” them for their own purposes.The Japanese “exceptionalists” that murdered in the millions in China and other areas of Asia,they aren’t even Europeans to blame.I could look all over a World map and point out other cases of “exceptionalism”.But I think you should get the point from these.The US is the “current” bad guy on the stage.But we certainly aren’t/weren’t the only one.And any “exceptionalism” in the US is, luck of location,timing,and weakness of opponents at the time.So people can save the “holier than thou” attitude.The US isn’t any worse than anyone else would be if given the same chance to be.Which is why it is essential to have a multi-polar World.Where no one nation can have that chance to be that “exceptional”.
Most of the towns and villages being fort over are largely uninhabited. I dont know if you have seen any of the videos because you would see that these places have already been destroyed by years of war. Hardly more than rubble left, nowhere for civilians live, A place that terrorist thrive and launch attacks from but are very hard to dislodge.
“One way to deal with wahhabism is to drop fliers telling all civilians that the everyone that does not leave within a certain date will be viewed as terrorists, and then drop thermobaric bombs over it after that. That is kinda what USA does with drones …” >
So, here we are – on one hand the WAHABI TERRORIST GANGS ARE FORMED AND TRAINED, and on the other hand THOSE GANGS ARE BOMBED WITHOUT ASCERTAINING IF CIVILIANS ARE ALSO DYING … Both by the USA-BASED ANGLOAMERICANZIONIST clique … Wonderfully savage civilization !
Are you suggesting that, Russia should try out this practice ?
Clearly the Russians are trying very hard to avoid using tactics similar to the Outlaw Empire’s, especially the bombing of civilians and related infrastructure as that’s part of the Propaganda War. Liberating the many fortified towns will be very destructive given the nature of such combat. Avoiding the Outlaw Empire’s policy of destroying a village in order to save it is being pushed very hard and dominates Russia’s media briefings.
Yes, the problem with that is that it the price you must pay, in soldiers lives as they stumble their way throughout dark, trapped filled ISIS tunnels under every city.
Well, it would save tens of thousands of Syrian soldiers lives, instead of being forced into meatgrinders with fanatic wahhabi soldiers in dank dark tunnels under the citites, a thermobaric bomb could clean out an entire town in a jiffy.
The problem is that USA controls international media and they are just looking for any reason to turn the pubic against Russia and Syria. And naturally such behavior would be excellent propaganda, even thought Israel and USA does that sort of thing all the time.
I am pretty sure Hezbollah did the same thing also once, basically just told everyone that was not a wahhabist to leave town, the blasted it with thermobarics.
How about a bounty on ISIS fighters?
Say about $5000 or its equivalent in gold per body, open to Syrians or Syrian supporters.
And how about crowd funding it?
I would contribute $50-$100 towards taking one of them out of the gene pool.
You might just end up with many more ISIS fighters — those which exist now plus all the dead people who became ISIS fighters when they were shot to death to collect the bounty.
Remember the bounties on “terrorists” paid by the US before shipping them off to Gitmo?
Not to mention the “false positives” that were enough to create a scandal even in Colombia.
so you want to make the situation in syria worse? where will these ppl move to? are you talking about moving them to Europe in ships? or where exactly do you expect them to go? can you put yourself in their place and you are told to leave within 24 hours.
Week five: Thanks Saker for the cogent military analysis. The Hegemon is placing special emphasis on having its own special forces running around Syria ( CIA black budget has no accountability requirements). Not to have a mobile counter force available would be a mistake on the part of Russians. Plus, It will give them experience for how the CIA plans to do Operation Soft Underbelly in the Caucasus.
“When asked about this Russian officials gave a cute reply: they said that these air-defense systems were deployed in case of a hijacked [airplanes?] being used to attack the Russian airbase in Latakia.” Right.
This is better than just “cute,” Saker. It is hillariously Putinesque. Somebody needs to be keeping notes for a book on the Putin/Russian tongue-in-cheek but “cutting” humor. It so hits my funnybone that I often do laugh out loud.
Its also more realistic than it appears at first. The Empire can certainly come up with a “rogue” Iraqi or Lebanese pilot or two to humiliate the Russians by bombing their base.
Yes using their own false narrative in the WAR OF TERROR and throwing it back in their face.
There isn’t a conflict in the world where this couldn’t be done as all we get are false pretext and rationalizations.
The Russian air defense and the jamming equipment was on the ground (or in the Mediterranean) weeks before the RuAF started their campaign.
This was by far the most dangerous part of Russia’s Syrian operation – secretively preparing Russia’s Latakia Landing.
The West, largely due to its Zionist controlled ‘fantasy and wishful thinking’ media, was taken completely by surprise, went into shock-paralysis and couldn’t recover for weeks!
When our Western heroes finally came out of their coma, the Syrian train had left the station.
This is a multi story page.
Recently western MSM have been using fake stories…Russia is …”slaughtering civilians”…..”we’re pulling children from the rubble” etc etc.
people on this site may remember when the civil war in the Donbass kicked off, that volunteers of ‘punisher’ battalions were promised land and ‘slaves’.
It appears that similar promises were made to foreign mercenaries to join IS/ISIL……warlords,like some feudal chief,”bring your families and set up your own mini emirate”…..getting oil and gas transit fees when the pipelines go through.
So perhaps “slaughtering civilians”…..”pulling children from the rubble” are mercenaries families ?
This is a typical blurb:
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, aka Mr Rami Abdul Rahman, living in Leicestershire,UK.
A pensioner and mouthpiece for H.M Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
Sometimes shares a couch with Eliot Higgins aka Bellingcat
Russia don’t attack civilian infrastructure… So there are no civilians.. How can I be so sure about this? because there are like 30,000 places to bomb and Russia has only bombed like 2300 of them. They have more than enough places to bomb like ammo and fuel dumps, training camps and workshops and also a very few defensive fortifications.. Unlike the US who were making 5000 sorties in a few days, Russia is doing like 100 a day.. They can pick and choose and from what I saw they look at the after action images to see the damage. How would civilians be around these areas????? Such a target rich environment that in a few more months we can see them bomb more uncertain targets.. They are not doing targeted assassinations yet.. Iraq made a few of those but it is only the US who do assassination. They dont know who they are assassinating but it feels good..
I saw women and children walking around at the frontline in Aleppo, which happened to be at the location of the house they stayed in. I was surprised, almost shocked, that those people that don’t participate in the combat don’t get out of harms way. I mean when the frontline moves to the location of your house, shells hitting left and right, airstrikes, and they just stay put. I don’t get it, you see it all the time in war videos.
I would suspect they have nowhere to go.And no way,or money,to get out.And then there are some that that is their home and they don’t want to lose it.Its the same in all wars.The innocent and poor suffer the most of all.While those sitting in offices and palatial estates, that caused the wars usually escape responsibility entirely.The likes of Blair,Bush,Hollande,Cameron,Merkel,Poroshenko,Obama,Harper,Abbott,Netanyahu,Saudi and Qatari Princes,etc.Will live a life of luxury with their hands dripping the blood of their victims.
Even in Allepo, Russia is not bombing the front lines. I mean the Russian aerospace forces are on a reduce mission, they dont even provide air cover and close air support.. I saw they did “some” of that to take back the road to allepo but that is in the middile of nowhere and even there is was nothing like the usual close air support of using massive fire power, they used some low flying helicopters. The SAF does do some close air support and their targeting is not so good.. heck most of the planes need to be repainted as it seems many are sand blasted and missing items. Also the home made bombs are just dumb bombs. They should not use them in civilian areas but when dealing with terrorists who use civilians as shields, the people should run. From what I read the Syrians support a much more massive bombing of terrorist held areas because those who are left behind are mostly sympathizers who support the terrorist philosophy. If you watch utube videos you can clearly see that the terrorists kill anyone who dont support them in areas they control. Keeping the best for wives or organ transplants, british law makers and such.. The same thing they did in Ukraine.. A pretty young thing is worth over $200K in the US/UK.. makes you wonder why human trafficking is so hard to stop..
Did you see any of the old videos of Stalingrad? The civilians were also walking around in between the germans and the soviets.. Many supported the Nazi’s so as to get food to eat.. The soviets made a huge effort to provide food to the civilians left over, over 50,000 of them in at the heights of the fighting and the Nazi’s had taken over most of the city so it was left to the Nazis to feed the civilians left over. Assad has similar arrangement with the terrorists where they get most of the food, if they give some of it to the civilians. You could say, why give any food at all and starve them to death.. The US would do that and they have as we saw in falluja.. but I don’t think any other government would leave their people to die just so they could defeat those attacking them. That would just make the civilians turn against the government who left them to die. We sure don’t hear off the massive death tool in Libya do we.. It lasted less than an year and far exceeded the death tool in Syria in the last 5 years. Wonder why we don’t hear of the massive bombing campaigns done by nato in Syria.. If Serbia is any indication, nato humanitarian bombers are truly free with dropping tons and tons of freedom bombs on every civilian infrastructure that’s standing. Don’t even need to look at Iraq for that.. Rummies, o wow this is a very target rich environment and was disappointed that in Afghanistan they only a had a couple of hundred targets to destroy.
“The US would do that and they have as we saw in falluja.. but I don’t think any other government would leave their people to die just so they could defeat those attacking them. That would just make the civilians turn against the government who left them to die.”
Don’t forget about Ukraine.And we are seeing the results of that now.Where the people who at first just wanted autonomy and reforms “in” Ukraine now want freedom “from” Ukraine.But as for Falluja the US did order the civilian population to leave the area before the house to house fighting began.But just as in Syria,Stalingrad,etc,many civilians had nowhere to go,or ways to safely leave.
Thanks Saker for this update, there is aso the bukM2 system, so there is now various rings of air defence (i am waiting for Tor and more Su-30sm).
I have this question. Why the Iranian commitment is so low in troop deployment inside Syria? If they would fully commit (as they should because its a strategic problem), there would be another situation on the battlefield (more reconnoissance, more ATGM used against fortifications and foxholes, more infantry obviously, more artillery, more special forces, etc) and the war can take another pace. Is this because the reaction of Saudi Arabia or Israel? I mean if it is obvious that this war is also against them they should commit more (even the russians were forced to do it and Iran just stays in the realm of assistance and pin point operations). Are the Saudis threatening with war if they see a Iranian build up in Syria?
And finally, do you think that the restrain with the Iranian armed forces are part of the Geneva meetings or maybe secrete negotiations with Israel , Turkey and SA?
Thank, El imperio va a caer!!
Technically, Iran could send 20 000 troops there, there would be nothing strange about Iran sending an expeditionary force to Syria, both are the legitimate governments of their respective countries. So there would not be anything illegal about it.
I don’t know about public opinion in Iran however. Perhaps that is an issue.
There is also the issue that Turkey or USA might invade Syria and start killing Iranian troops, but now with Russian aircover that should not be a concern.
can you please get someone in the know to do a specific analysis of Iran’s position as it relates to boots on the ground?
We know there are some IRGC types that are actively involved but their numbers dont seem anywhere near that which is, seemingly, required to be a game-changer.
Given that Tehran has discerned that this conflict has existential implications for the Islamic Republic, why are they hesitant in going all the way in committing the troop numbers needed to wrap this thing up??
Jaro, I’ve been asking that question from the beginning. Where are the Iranians? PressTV doesn’t even admit they are present. Why?
I think Syria is still going to be partitioned off w the US/Israel taking the northern (oil) part which w/b officially “for the Kurds” (They are a minority there– only 3 million which have been chased out of Turkey in Attaturk’s time and in Erdogan’s.)
And I keep wondering what US interest in Yemen is. Why are they helping Saudis destroy Yemen? Since everyone in the world predicted the Yemen war wd end up defeating the Saudis, is THAT the US game– to break up Saudi Arabia?? I don’t think we have all the pieces; this is much bigger than we think.
The next time anyone tells you about Assad being a “butcher” show them this video of the US’s Saudi friends.If they want to see “butchery”, the Saudis are up for the job.
Very graphic 18+:
Bob, I recall from school days religous indoctrination 65 years ago.
“After the Biblical ‘flood’, G_D promised……..next time Fire !”
It fits !!
Bob the link is no longer available, I guess it revealed too much.
I suppose FB pulled it.It certainly was horrible.It showed a man with a long curved sword going from one to the next knelling person.And lopping off their heads,the heads falling to the street.Followed closely by the bodies tumbling over to the ground, in front of crowds of people.I don’t know what crimes they may have been accused of committing (nor if they were guilty).But regardless of that.It was a horrible and bloody death for the five persons butchered.Five of dozens and dozens beheaded on a regular basis,for crimes ranging from criticism of the government,blasphemy,free speech,to murders.It is a sad thing that countries excuse a bloodstained regime like that one.Especially in the West.But lets be real about it,even nations that we support are guilty of dealing with that murderous tyrannical regime.The sooner that regime falls and the people of that land are free the better.Probably half the jihadi wars in the MENA would collapse without the support the jihadis get from the Saudis.
On a side but related story.In St Petersburg today there was a symbolic bell ringing for the victims in Egypt,”Earlier in the service, an emergency worker who helped clear up the debris from the plane, which was scattered for miles across the scorching sand dunes, read a poem dedicated to 10 month-old Darina Gromova, a photo of whom waiting for her family’s plane to take her to Egypt has become a symbol of the crash” .As investigators are now saying in Egypt they are 90% sure it was a bomb that destroyed the plane.In the US they say they are 99% sure.I wouldn’t doubt if they are actually a 100% sure, “they’ve seen the receipt for it”.And in Britain ” The Sunday Express reported that the UK’s intelligence agency, GCHQ, had intercepted chatter from jihadists in Sinai, who included English speakers with Birmingham and London accents, prior to the crash.
“There has also been some internet traffic suggesting that there was British involvement in the attack. This was a very sophisticated, carefully planned operation involving many moving parts,” an official told the newspaper.
“We know there are British jihadis in Egypt fighting with members of Islamic State. They were trained in Syria and are now hardened terrorists. Some of the Britons have an electronics background and have been developing some very sophisticated bombs.”
Egypt’s Mokadem complained that this intelligence has not being shared with investigators, but rather leaked to the media, and urged international agencies to offer direct co-operation.
Two points that must be looked into:
1) The Syrian forces, Hezbolla forces, and IRGC forces must be able to SIMULTANEOUSLY push into Damascus region, Damascus-to-Aleppo highway region covering Homs-Hama-Idlib, Coastal region covering Latakia-Tartus, Aleppo region, and of course Raqqa region.
Progress and success in one region but setback in another region IS NOT AN OPTION ANYMORE – at the most, the Syrian government can plan for Raqqa at a later date.
2) While Russia is/will assist (with air-cover and Spetsnaz force) the combined forces of Syrian+ Hezbolla+IRGC to liberate Syrian territory from ISIS terrorists, Syrian Military must get enough military HARDWARE & TRAINING from Russia and Iran (and any other country like China who has long term interest in the stability of west Asia) to KEEP THESE ISIS WAHABI TERRORISTS AWAY from Syrian territory in the decades to come.
Those TOR systems are manned by Russians.. Seems so are most other new weapon systems. Not service personal.. Any Ukraine militia can join and get paid 5 times what they get in Ukraine. 10 times higher than what the jihadi’s get.. Ofcourse the jihadi;s get other perks like sex slaves and free organ transplants.. Since this is not an invasion, primary goal is getting control of supply lines. This will be slow as the battle field is prepared.
But remember how fast things went once preparations were done in donbas? cauldrons everywhere and then reduction using artillery..
Also primary targets are western backed terrorists. If there is nothing the moderate terrorists hold, then negotiations for nothing is still nothing. IS wont negotiate and now I doubt there will be ANY negotiated settlement with IS in any way political.. Also IS is far better organized and has better tactics than moderate terrorists.. Same MO as Libya..so most of them must be Libyan war veterans. Russia intervened when the US supplied latest TOW missiles and other weapons which broke through SAA defenses and took vast tracts of land almost cutting Syria into 2 separate areas. Right now the governmet controlled areas are pretty much a single area with most of the population. Nursa was almost cutting off Damascus from its ports and supply lines. I think it pissed off Putin enough to directly target these moderate terrorists first. It should have pissed off anyone. Arming terrorists with latest weapons aimed at toppling the government is not a friendly act.. Its blatant state sponsored terrorism.
The Syrian Army despite a month of stubborn fighting continues on the offensive, which is close to the bus stop in some areas, but still has a good chance of achieving significant success. In this regard, the Syrian army continues to underestimate – after 4 years of war the onset of almost feat. On the other hand it can be noted that similarly underestimate both the Caliphate, which proved more serious than the enemy in active clashes with the regular army is much superior in organization and quality control of Pro-Western rebel forces, which became the main victims in the past month, having suffered some significant defeats Assad and the Caliphate. However, the pattern of the war will change, the Russian and American coalition now increasingly will be sucked into a war with the Caliphate and there is the intensity and complexity of the fighting will only increase.
In General, if to speak about our military prospects in Syria, they seem to be moderately optimistic, with the hardest still to come.
NOVEMBER 6, 2015
Turkey Goes to War
by MIKE WHITNEY
These developments suggest that Putin will have to move fast if he wants to seal the border and derail Erdogan’s plan. The Russian president might have to deploy Russian Special Forces and armored divisions northward to discourage US-Turkey adventurism and to prevent the war from turning into a quagmire.
This is one situation where preemption could really pay off bigtime.
I don’t understand why the Iranians didn’t start w a larger force. I wonder if they are fully committed, or are they on board w the US/Israeli plan to partition off the north of Syria? (This is to be called “Kurdistan” although Kurds have always been a minority in the area.) I also don’t understand what “control” of the skies the Russians can have, since opponents are able to bomb electrical plants & to drop supplies to jihadis.
well, now I’m going to speculate…about Iran only being partly on board and working with US…
From what I’ve gathered about Iranian intergrity..its immpeccable and so therefore…personally I doubt that very much Penelope.
In Februari 2016 there will be parliamentary elections in Iran. Bodybags won’t help Rouhani win the elections.
And would the “loss” of Syria help him? That would/should be even worse.In fact it might mean he would be disbarred from even running in the election.As I recall,its the Ayatollah who has to give the OK for a candidate to contest an election.
The Mi-24 can carry troops, so there shouldn’t be any need for Mi-17 on a pilot rescue mission. But what’s lacking here is aerial helicopter refuelling capability. Relying on fuel caches is risky both to create and use, as they can be discovered and then pillaged, sabotaged and or ambushed. They’re also less flexible.
The optimal solution is maybe an heavily armoured (and armed) version of the Mi-26, half-way between the US MH-53 and AC-130 in capabilities, eventually further protected by a group of Mi-24 or other such Mi-26.
In addition, the airline destruction may speed up a Russian-Egyptian reconciliation.
Russia, Egypt Discuss Antey-2500, Buk Missile Systems Delivery
Read more: http://sputniknews.com/business/20151108/1029768035/russia-egypt-antey.html#ixzz3qvp73cpB
Also, in the last day or so, Sputnik has several articles about Russia discussing aircraft deals with Iran, UAE, Pakistan and Indonesia. So Russia instead of being isolated by the ZPC/NWO oligarchy, is expanding its dealings with long time colonies of that block.
When sputnik publishes so many articles its inevitable they’re going to make mistakes (understatement!): anyone familiar with the defense sector knows full well that it’ll be a cold day in Hell that the Empire’s vassals UAE and Pakistan would be permitted to or be able to buy advanced Russian equipment (especially anything important like combat jets and air defense). Such countries might be allowed to buy guns upto military helicopters, but not much else. Any interest these snakish nations such as Turkey and Pakistan have would be to get access to Russian weapons specs and then sell this intelligence to their hegemon. Turkey has been leading Russia on for years with bids and RFIs but purchased nothing, & Pakistan has only purchased a few military helicopters for the purposes using them against their own Taliban insurgency.
You may be surprised to learn that even the US Pentagon buys Russian MI- military helicopters for a program designed to bolster the afghan military. (because US helicopters are too fragile for Afghanistan’s extreme environment).
Only Iran and Indonesia (from the list you supplied) are autonomous enough be real buyers. The lionshare of Russian arms sales are to (in order of sales value): India, China, Algeria (over 60%) and CTSO countries. For example India has over 260 Su-30MKI. The Su-30SM is effectively the same plane as the Indian Su-30MKI with a few customizations for the Russian Air Force and a different radar; ie the Su-30SM is developed from Su-30MKI design. Russia only has 30 of these combat ready with another 30 in production (meaning Russia has fewer of these gen 4+++ planes than their partners). This gives you an idea how significant the export market is to Russian defense industries, and the volumes involved.
The most notable sales in terms of distrust of Western intentions are those to Algeria; another bastion of secular stability in the Arab world. It is noteworthy that despite Algeria being so close to France/EU they opted for the Russian plane: smart move, who can trust the treacherous Europeans to honor their contracts and who can trust that their equipment isnt sabotaged if they decided to destabilize Algeria the way they destroyed Libya.
The main point I made was that the Israeli-American attempt to isolate Russia is failing. the weapon sales talks Sputnik wrote about may not lead to anything, most of these discussions don’t, btw. But they are talking to Russia, not shunning her as the ZPC/NWO oligarchy demands. In the meantime, Russia continues to expand her export/import connections.
Both the UAE and Indonesians are discussing buying Su-35s (which outclass any aircraft the anglozionists have – including the U.S. F-22). The Pakistan talks were about expanding their Russian helicopter footprint, and the Iranians are looking into Russian airliners.
It’s not as black and white as you describe, either. Russia is Turkey’s largest trading partner and Pakistan has observer status at the SCO, and will likely eventually be a member.
The poor quality of the israeli-American geostrategy is accelerating the independence of their colonies. They are increasingly unable to enforce servitude.
Also, the Su-30 was designed for export, so naturally a lot more would be exported than kept. In fact the Russian AF had not intended on using that aircraft. But it is true that Russian aviation relies upon exports. So does aviation in most other countries, including the USA.
Speaking of geostrategy, some might want to go to Toynbee and ask themselves about the history we’re living – is “the west” following his outline?
why not explain your comment please….regarding Toynbee
I wonder just how much the use of narcotic stimulant drugs by the young men doing the fighting plays out. I ask what effect it might have on the fighting if the sources of these drugs were stopped or limited. Do all sides use stimulants? Given the terrible lethargy that results from withdrawal there may be a tactic in limiting the supply to one side or another. Just wondering.
From the description on Wikipedia of “Captagon ” it would seem to be a particularly vicious form of stimulant, with particularly unpleasant withdrawal, but I am no expert…
“liberating the Kuweyres military airbase…” This has been taking weeks. And imagine how dug in the place is….
Hi Saker, thanks for very interesting article about Russian operation in Syria…I hope it works..
and thanks for little funny comment about the Russian response as to why they are bringing in their ‘state of the art’ electronic jamming systems…
I keep amazing myself about the many reports that keep repeating that the “highway” to Aleppo has been re-opened.
The highway to Aleppo runs from Hama through Saraqib and is solidly in rebel hands. The supply route of the Syrian government – that for some time was cut – runs more east over rather secondary roads.
Honestly, it is a massacre.
Western media doesn’t want to talk about it and Russian media is naturally very cautious to give too many details on this very dangerous and delicate on-going military operation by their own forces. So it is up to me to say it out loudly:
It is a total massacre.
Al-Nusra, ISISand various consorts stand no chance whatsoever.
Their very secretively build-up extensive and expensive infrastructure in Syria consisting of a vast network of C&C centers, munitions depots, training camps, underground bunkers, repair shops, etc. costing tens of billions of Dollars has already been obliterated to a significant degree.
All US talk of sending here 50 advisers, there ten TOWs, conquering Raqqa with a handful of Kurds makes good reading. Beyond that it is utterly pathetic.
The SAA, Hezbollah, the Iranian commandos, dedicated local forces and the RuAF will make sure of it.
Honestly, it is a massacre.
Yes it is!
Here I sit, in the mountains of Tennessee, USA, and although I cannot know, my intuition is agreeing with you. Monty Python couldn’t have written a better line than, “Well, you never know when somebody will hi-jack a plane and try to run it into your stuff!” I paraphrase, of course, but this dig is SO sarcastic on several levels as to have me laughing every time I think of it. It is intended to be funny, very funny; and I do not believe that Russian “officials” would be issuing jokes such as this if the operations to rid Syria of the vile salafist takfiri murderers were not going well.
Today’s U.S. TV newsertainment trivia: The vile Christianist takfiri are accusing the coffee company, Starbucks, of waging “war on Christmas” because their new paper cups are plain red, and don’t even have a Christmas tree on them, much less a baby Jesus and his mum & dad surrounded by camels and sheep and shepherds and, oh yes, Wise Men from the orient bearing gold and frankencense
Well, I almost finished before accidentally brushing a wrong key.
GrandmaR, the hillbilly babushka, dangerous with the little Chromebook keyboard.
I keep reading about more and more Iranian senior officers being killed. Do you have any info about how this is being done? Also, about the massacre, do you have any links or can you say how you know, or just making a logical conclusion? (Like one has an airforce and one doesn’r)
have a lock at this video first before you write a comment
Electromagnetic weapon of Russia
The biggest problem Russia has is financial. Yes, the economic depression in Russia because of low oil prices is overblown in the western media but low oil prices still hurt. Wars are expensive, the rebuilt RF military appears to have the equipment, training and moral for the mission, I just don’t think RF has the funds for a drawn out operation. They need to hit hard and go home.