Aware of the global sentiments in favor of the neutralization of CIA trained ISIS/L in the Middle East, Russia continues to send additional ground troops and more warplanes and reconnaissance drones to beef Syrian government military capability to repel the terrorists.
Here’s a recent video showing a fleet of Russian SU-24 following a refueling aircraft, i.e. these crafts were taking a detour through Iran and need to refuel along the way.
According to mainstream sources:
“Russia is to deploy 2,000 military personnel to its new air base near the Syrian port city of Latakia, signalling the scale of Moscow’s involvement in the war-torn country.
The deployment “forms the first phase of the mission there”, according to an adviser on Syria policy in Moscow.
The force will include fighter aircraft crews, engineers and troops to secure the facility, said another person briefed on the matter.
Three western defence officials agreed that the Russian deployment tallied with the numbers needed to establish a forward air base similar to those built by western militaries in Afghanistan.”
Russia Expands Fleet in Syria With Jets That Can Attack Targets on Ground
Eric Schmitt and Neil MacFarquhar
WASHINGTON — Russia has sharply increased the number of combat aircraft at an air base near Latakia, Syria, giving its forces a new ability to strike targets on the ground in the war-stricken country.
Over the weekend, Russia deployed a dozen Su-24 Fencer and a dozen Su-25 Frogfoot ground-attack planes, bringing to 28 the number of warplanes at the base, a senior United States official said on Monday. Until the weekend, the only combat planes there had been four Flanker air-to-air fighters.
The deployment of some of Russia’s most advanced ground attack planes and fighter jets as well as multiple air defense systems at the base near the ancestral home of President Bashar al-Assad appears to leave little doubt about Moscow’s goal to establish a military outpost in the Middle East. The planes are protected by at least two or possibly three SA-22 surface-to-air, antiaircraft systems, and unarmed Predator-like surveillance drones are being used to fly reconnaissance missions.
“With competent pilots and with an effective command and control process, the addition of these aircraft could prove very effective depending on the desired objectives for their use,” said David A. Deptula, a retired three-star Air Force general who planned the American air campaigns in 2001 in Afghanistan and in the 1991 Persian Gulf war.
In addition, a total of 15 Russian Hip transport and Hind attack helicopters are also now stationed at the base, doubling the number of those aircraft from last week, the American official said. For use in possible ground attacks, the Russians now also have nine T-90 tanks and more than 500 marines, up from more than 200 last week.
“The equipment and personnel just keep flowing in,” said the American official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential intelligence reports. “They were very busy over the weekend.”
So far, the Russian warplanes have remained parked, the official said. But the additional attack planes — comparable to the jets the United States and its allies are flying against Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq — have heightened fears within the Pentagon and in European capitals about the risk of an inadvertent confrontation between Russia’s military and the American-led coalition.
Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter raised those concerns with Russia’s defense minister, Sergei K. Shoigu, in a phone call on Friday. At the White House’s direction, Mr. Carter began a dialogue with Mr. Shoigu aimed at ensuring that American and Russian aircraft avoid unintended incidents as they operate over Syria.
But American officials said there were no immediate plans for Mr. Carter or Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to contact their Russian counterparts despite the latest military developments.
“At this point, this is a diplomatic issue,” the official said.
Secretary of State John Kerry has said the Obama administration welcomed a role for Russian forces if it is focused on combating the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and not on propping up Mr. Assad.
Mr. Putin met in Moscow on Monday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, who had gone there to seek assurance that the new Russian hardware and forces — in particular, fighter jets and surface-to-air missiles — would not target Israeli forces. Israel also does not want Russian weaponry flowing to the militant group Hezbollah.
“All actions taken by Russia in the region have always been and will be very responsible,” Mr. Putin told him.
Russian intel sources can confirm that only an airbase is being enhanced at the moment. Additionally, under pressure from top military brass, Pentagon was forced to coordinate with its Russian counterparts. The CIA and rogue segment in the US military now realize they could not control ISIS/L according to their original playbook.
Russia and the USA coordinate their joint course against terror
As “Bild am Sonntag” reported, referring to US-intelligence circles, last week already leading delegations of the CIA and Russian foreign intelligence service SVR met in Moscow. The secret talks were aimed at coordinating the joint military cooperation in the Syrian war. The Americans intend to support future Russian military action against IS in Syria with findings out of their own espionage, so “Bild am Sonntag“.
Especially the high increase of IS-fighters and the stream of refugees out of Syria had forced the two great powers to act concertedly. Foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD), who is going to receive his US-colleague John Kerry in Berlin on Sunday, said towards “Bild am Sonntag“: “Finally there is movement in the Syrian crisis again. I appreciate that Washington and Moscow don´t talk about each other, but with each other again about the situation in Syria and want to compare notes about military matters.”
Russia is constructing a military base in Syria
translated by Alena Scarecrow
While the hunters for the traces of the Russian militaries in the Ukraine and Syria were monitoring social networks trying to dig out photos proving our marines’ presence at the Syrian port Tartus, the Western media resorted to different tactics – the one of assumptions and presumptions. Good logical thinking, indeed, for any of the numerous versions they have been advancing might well shoot under certain circumstances.
We would like to remind the readers that the Western journalists and the Russian restless Fifth Column both aim at proving by all means the Russian servicemen’s presence in Syria. Being unable to present any direct evidence thereof, “the debunkers” chose to recourse to their favourite technique – reading tea leaves.
One of the “researchers” Ruslan Leviev, for instance, made an error having placed a bet on the Russian marines – alas, their presence on the board of the large landing ship as well as at the Syrian port Tartus is nowhere close to a sensation being totally legal and regulated by Order 321 from 23 August 1997. Moreover, it is our army’s duty to protect military facilities abroad, so even finding the Russian marines on the airfield 5 kilometers from Latakia will hardly be a scoop. Sorry, Ruslan, a wrong shot.
Meanwhile, the Western media have been taking wild guesses over the course of the last two weeks, spitting into the informational space dozens of conjectures and proofs of the Russian military presence in Syria. A good half of the material is a fake, a part of it is versions and the rest is “information from reliable sources”. Nonetheless, having such a variety of ideas, the Western journalists in a probabilistic sense had a good chance to make a correct guess and hit the target. Let us recall their principal versions and proofs:
- Russia delivers to Syria 6 MIG-31 fighters-interceptors (the Turkish media, the middle of August).
- Russia deploys military aircraft with the Russian crew near Damascus (the Israeli media, the end of August).
- Russia is forming striking troops of a thousand of soldiers near Damascus (the Israeli media, the end of August).
- The Russian aircraft with the Russian crew bombs the positions of the Islamists (the Israeli media, 1-2 September).
- The Russian language is heard speaking among the Syrian troops near Latakia and Hama (the Lebanese media, 2-3 September).
- Russia is constructing a military base near Damascus (the Israeli media, 2-3 September).
- The FCA fighters meet more and more Russians siding with the government troops (the British media, 5 September).
- Russia is constructing a military base in Latakia (the Israeli and American media, 5-11 September).
- Russia moves thousands of soldiers to Latakia (the American media, 6 September).
- Russia is preparing for a large-scale operation against the Islamist fighters (the American media, 6-11 September).
- The Syrian army backed by the Russian troops launches an offensive in Latakia (the Lebanese media, 8-10 September).
Only one version has shot so far – “Russia is constructing a military base in Latakia”. As a side note, at the distance of five kilometers from Latakia seaport there is Bassel al Assad airport that also serves as a military airfield.
This information, presented by some Israeli and American media and initially treated with certain skepticism, has now been proved by the report of the American private analytical agency Stratfor known around the world as “the shadow CIA”. Here is a quotation from this report:
“Satellite imagery of the Bassel al Assad international airport near Latakia confirms the information of Russia performing military-transport flights to this airfield where the Russians have allegedly been constructing a base. The satellite imagery taken on 4 September shows a newly built aircraft control tower, new asphalt, and containers presumably used as mobile housing units. Construction work is under way on the whole territory of the airport. There are traces of excavations alongside the full length of the runway. Most likely, the airport is being prepared for servicing heavy transport aircraft”.
As can be seen in the satellite image, the following infrastructure facilities are currently under construction:
- helicopter pads;
- an aircraft control tower;
- mobile housing units.
Judging by the nature of the work, the second stage might well include constructing aircraft shelters, take-off and landing training sites, and an equipment repair area. At the moment the runway expansion work is under way. In the nearest future we can expect installing on the airfield ground-based electronic warfare units and radar stations, as well as building a center for training air-defense specialists.
The runway expansion work suggests that the airfield is planned to receive heavy aircraft on a regular basis. Stratfor notes: “Having built an airbase, Russia will have far more possibilities to back up the government troops providing them with air support”. Expanding the runway might serve a different purpose, though – the simultaneous take-off of several aircraft.
The first indirect evidence of the Latakia airfield being renovated appeared on 6 September; it was Alexander Tkachenko ferry going through the Bosporus with several dozens of army fuel drums and fire engineering on board.
The next day first Russian transport aircraft was noticed landing at the Bassel al Assad airport. Here are all the flights that have been registered so far in the chronological order:
7 September – An-124 (RA – 82039) Chkalovskyi – Latakia;
7 September – Il-62M (RA – 86496) Chkalovskyi – Latakia;
8 September – An-124 (RA – 82035) Pskov – Mozdok – Latakia;
9 September – An-124 (RA – 82039) Mozdok – Latakia;
9 September – An-124 (RA – 82040) Mozdok – Latakia;
10 September – An-124 (RA – 82035) Mozdok – Latakia;
11 September – An-124 (RA – 82035) Chkalovskyi – Latakia;
11 September – An-124 (RA – 82039) Chkalovskyi – Latakia;
11 September – An-124 (RA – 82040) Chkalovskyi – Latakia – Mozdok;
13 September – An-124 (RA – 82040) Mozdok – Latakia.
RA – 82040 (11 September), leading the aircraft group of the three, had to turn back – presumably, ordered by Iraq – and later on landed in Mozdok. The other two aircraft (82039 and 82035) successfully landed in Latakia and came back to Russia the following day.
Among all the flights to Syria listed above the RA-82035 one from 8 September seems to be of particular interest. Having left its base (Seschi, Bryanskaya Oblast) on the previous day, this aircraft’s first destination was Pskov, where it got loaded up and only after that headed for Syria. For most Russians Pskov is invariably associated with these three things – the Pskov fortress, the Trinity Cathedral, and the paratroopers. Accordingly, all the interested parties arrived at a not surprising conclusion that it was the paratroopers the aircraft had transported to Syria. That is a rational supposition, but there might well be others.
Pskovskaya Oblast is known to be rich in military units and here are some of them that might relate to this flight:
the 656th separate guards field engineering battalion (m/u 452930);
the 7th separate repair and maintenance battalion (m/u 63320);
the 1682nd separate battalion of material support (m/u 42689);
the 353rd artillery ammunition depot (m/u 01706);
the 2098th artillery armaments depot (m/u 64527).
The version of the Russian paratroopers having been deployed to Latakia might prove true; however, we are quite skeptical about it. Clearly there is no involvement of the Russian troops in the warfare in Syria at the moment; the only task for our soldiers to perform is the protection of the two military facilities – the logistics base in Tartus and the military airfield in Latakia. But this for decades has been marines’, not paratroopers’ duty.
As for the idea that the aircraft might have transported from Pskov armaments and ammunition, we regard it as highly dubious as well. Firstly, it would have been much more rational to load the aircraft up in the warehouses near Mozdok where our military planes do perform flights from; secondly, all military exports pass through Rosoboronexport, which renders the hypothesis of such a secretive delivery ridiculous.
Rather, under the current circumstances, the Russian aircraft in question might have transported engineering and repair and maintenance units. The construction of military facilities abroad is normally carried out by local contractors. Their functionality, however, is quite limited – building mobile housing units, roads, fences, and embankments is nearly as much as they are usually trusted with, all complicated work being done by army’s engineer corps, particularly as regards building military bases. Given that our base in Latakia is being constructed in record time (according to the media), we can confirm with full confidence that there are Russian engineer and repair and maintenance units taking active part in it.
As for the cargo of the rest aircraft, we cannot but guess. The official media calls these flights “humanitarian”, transporting material necessary for constructing a camp for 1,000 refugees, the theory we willingly accept but for one reservation – only two aircraft rendered humanitarian aid as such, which our media in fact reported. All others, as we presume, delivered to Latakia electronics and construction materials required for the new military base.
The subtitled video “Russia delivers humanitarian aid to Syria” is here –
There is also a version that some of the aircraft might have been loaded with military equipment. However, in the light of the fact that all the logistical support of the Syrian government troops is provided by The Syrian Express, this possibility seems rather doubtful. Besides, the current situation at the Syrian front line can barely be considered as critical – the supply of the military equipment, even if increased, is nevertheless made in the normal mode. All this suggests that the recent intensification of the Russian flights to Latakia is only connected with the construction of a military base in the area.
At the same time, the data Stratfor analytics have been so kind as to provide us with implicitly evidences that the base is designed to service strike aircraft, thus suggesting the idea that one or several September An-124 flights deployed to Latakia military or reconnaissance planes. As practice shows, an An-124 can transport two aircraft with undocked wings. Military experts confirm the Syrian army is impatiently waiting for a couple of Su-25 planes to be delivered in order to considerably improve the situation at the front line in its favour.
The above asks for a brief explanation. The Syrian warfare is characterized by high front instability and fluid battlefield which partly stems from the critical shortage of weaponry and ammunition supplies the warring parties have been continually experiencing. Forming a well-armed and equipped striking force at any side of the front line – either among government or Islamist troops – would guarantee mounting a successful military operation resulting in the adversary’s retreat.
The chronology of the hostilities proves that nearly every act of delivering arms to the targeted front site has resulted in a successful operation. Given that the government troops’ fleet of wheeled and tracked vehicles has considerably thinned out in these four years of the ongoing warfare, the supply of Russian armored vehicles could give the war course a sharp turn. In case the Syrian offensive near Homs, Hama, Idliba and Latakia receives a due air backing, the Islamists will almost certainly have to retreat thus rendering the Mediterranean coast no longer dangerous to the Alawis.
A number of military analysts claim that conducting airstrikes in the area of Idliba parallel to the reinforcing the government army with even 50 armored vehicles would contribute to its gaining a considerable advantage over the Islamists. The Kurds’ offensive supported by the aviation of the coalition forces demonstrates how effective the interaction of the strike aircraft and advancing ground troops can be.
This is indirectly confirmed by the Stratfor’s report: “Even this level of the Russian logistical and operational support could crash the insurgents’ resistance. Enhancing the loyalist forces’ stance, Moscow hopes to strengthen its own position in the peace negotiations. Moreover, creating a secure “air bridge” enables Russia to launch a rapid military intervention if and when needed”.
With regard to the functions of the Russian airbase in Latakia, we can too make some assumptions:
The airbase will serve as the second channel providing an uninterrupted supply of weapons and military equipment to the Syrian government forces. The situation at the front line being unstable, third parties increasingly interfering in the conflict, and the sea channel failing to meet the current demands, – owing to all these factors Russia’s intervention might at any moment become imperative. The Syrian Express for obvious reasons is not efficient enough especially in respects of operational flexibility. The Stratfor’s report repeatedly featuring “supply channel”, “channel of operative measure” and similar wording speaks in favour of this version.
The runway improvements and constructing infrastructures might signify the airfield is going to be actively used by military aircraft. We have already mentioned that the extension of the runway will enable several planes to take off simultaneously, as well as that the government troops definitely require air support. The hysterics the entire international community headed by the United States is writhing in only bears out this inference. The point is the Russian political and military leadership renounces any Islamists’ gradation rightly considering the notion of “moderate” Islamist fighters nonsensical. This fact is of great concern to Washington which has placed its political bet in this war conflict on so called moderate opposition; accordingly, the perspective of the latter’s ranks getting considerably thinner as a result of the Russian air strikes is barely exciting for both the USA and the “opposition”. Hence the hysterics.
The above variants are not mutually exclusive, though, so the airfield might well serve two purposes. Time will tell. At all events, the construction of this airbase is not that bad a backup for Russia in the Middle East.
This twisted logic that Assad is “a magnet for terrorists” in the Middle East further underscores the West established method of interfering in domestic affairs of others.
All resource rich, independent countries are all magnets for terror groups affiliated with CIA. Proof of that is: even now that the US has formally acknowledged coordination with Russia, it still is supporting ISIS through satellite images of the Latakia airbase.
Media: Russian marines clashed with militants in Syria IG
According to the news agency “breeze”, the representatives of the IG on Sunday night trying to mount an attack on the airbase, but they fell into the ambush.
During the battle Russian soldiers allegedly destroyed part of the militants, and some captured.
The agency also notes that the militants in an ambush, possessed a detailed plan of the air base and clear satellite imagery with the marked key military installations
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