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Author: Subject: Syrian Civil War and all involved
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[*] posted on 24-5-2018 at 05:43 PM


Arab Women in Syria, Inspired by Kurdish Sisters, Join the Fight — and the Movement

By Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Council on Foreign Relations

May 23, 2018


Defense One Photo/Kevin Baron

"There is no difference between us and them, we are both women. What is really important now is women are having a role."

RAQQA, Syria — Enter this war-torn city and amid the rubble and devastation is an unexpected sight: women.

In the public sphere, in the security forces, back at school teaching, and running shops on the streets where some commerce has returned, Syrian woman are everywhere.

This is a city on whose streets women were bought and sold, held captive, and enslaved by fighters for the Islamic State who had declared Raqqa its capital. Now, six months after its liberation, women are returning to the city with their families and taking on new roles in the rebuilding process, as they restart their lives and open stores.

“I dreamed of opening this shop; now is the right time to make my idea happen,” says Hawla, a shopkeeper in Raqqa who owns a women’s clothing store close to the city center. She opened her store, which sells bras, underwear, and nightgowns, a month ago after returning home following the grinding battle for Raqqa waged by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces — except something about the city has changed.

“We used to see men in all these stores but now there are women.” Hawla waves her arm toward the street and a front window, whose top half is darkened so that men cannot see in from the sidewalk, and talks about what is next for her and her city.

“I hope the future will be really good after all that we have seen; we were broken and we hope the future will be better,” she says. “At first I was the only one with a shop and now there are more women. It is new for Raqqa.”

For women, Hawla says, things are changing for two reasons: First, ISIS pushed women too far and made them determined to push back.

“When ISIS was here we were suppressed a lot. Women couldn’t do anything. They were telling us, ‘You need to wear the niqab and stick to your home.’ Everything was banned. This made us become eager to work. Their pressure helped us to be liberated,” she says of herself and other women in Raqqa.


Photo courtesy of Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

The second reason Hawla cites for her determination is that when she fled Raqqa during the ISIS fight last year she saw something unexpected: women in liberated territories who were playing all kinds of roles in military and civil society. Never mind that they were Kurdish and she was Arab, Hawla says. What mattered to her was what they had in common.

“There is no difference between us and them, we are both women,” says Hawla. “What is really important now is women are having a role.”

I heard both these themes across Raqqa as I spoke with women about their stories of survival and endurance. The trials they faced at the hands of ISIS along with the experience of seeing other women playing roles in their societies are motivating them, they told me, spurring them on to contribute to their city.

The challenges are many, the destruction is utter and overwhelming, and their numbers, while hard to gauge, are likely small. But there is no doubt that women are gathering themselves and finding ways to push forward for their families, their communities, and themselves. Whether they succeed depends in part on whether the United States and the coalition that defeated ISIS chooses to invest in their future. The mission is not building nations, but a much more achievable goal, already visible and underway: maintaining stability.

In one of the city’s northeastern districts, Rumeilah, I interrupted a women’s council meeting just getting underway.

This local women’s council, gathering in a two-room home just off a quiet street, started its work ten days ago, its organizer Zelikha Ebdi says. Their hope is to gather enough money to fund a sewing factory to put all the women now coming to them to work. Each day women are arriving at the center to sign up to work with the women’s council, security forces, or other local civil society organizations.

“Women in Raqqa have suffered a lot,” says Ebdi. She tilts her head in the direction of the women seated in a circle in this office who speak about how they plan to organize themselves and the services they want to see in their neighborhood. “This is a new step for everyone. We wondered, would women be able to take their part? As we were from Raqqa, we never had that experience before. But all these women are from families coming back to Raqqa.”

Among the dozen women assembled is Bera’a, a mother of three girls. ISIS took her husband three-and-a-half years ago, she says, and she has not seen him since. Seated on the other side of the circle, another women’s council member echoes Hawla’s words.

“We suffered for four years, but that has given us the presence to fight for our rights,” Ebdi says. “We saw those women in Qamishli,” she says, speaking of Kurdish women there who are part of the SDF and the local police. ”We knew they were organizing and working for women rights and saw those women in society. We said, ‘Why can’t we do this?’’”

One answer: Arab families in northeastern Syria are traditionally viewed as more conservative than Kurdish families, many of whom saw their daughters join the Kurdish all-women People’s Protection Units, known as the YPJ, in the fight against ISIS.
Related: Read Defense One‘s complete coverage of Syria.

Outside northeastern Syria, experts are quick to discuss all the reasons why the U.S.-backed experiment in women’s equality now underway in this isolated slice of imperiled real estate doesn’t have a chance of spreading or lasting through the year, much less the war. But on the ground, women are making change, slowly, in small steps, and in ways that are reshaping their lives.

“I hated ISIS and I wanted to do something,” says 22-year-old Hind, a native of Raqqa now serving in the Asayish, or local police force. She was one of several young women passing through the hallways of the security forces offices we saw while awaiting our interview.

“ISIS beheaded two of my cousins,” Hind said. “So when I came back I wanted to do something for my city — I loved my city and wanted to be part of rebuilding it. I feel like I am doing something very important.”

She is hardly alone, she says.

“My sister, my friends, a lot of women I know are joining Asayish,” she tells me.

Hind dreamed of becoming a pharmacist. She was in her first year of studying chemistry at the local university when ISIS took power and closed her school. Her family stayed in Raqqa until the end of the battle, when they fled to the northern town of Manbij to escape the brutal fight. As soon as ISIS was defeated, her family returned to their home, much of which was destroyed. For the last three months she has been serving in the Asayish. And for the first time in a long time, she says, she has hope.

“I am happy because the situation is better,” she says. “Everything is okay now — we have returned and our work is going well. It is the first time I feel hopeful because it is the first time I am working, the first time that i feel like I am doing something.”

And she is quick to answer critics who say that all of this is a limited experiment in women’s equality born in Kurdish communities and living on borrowed time.

“I would say they should get rid of their ISIS thoughts in their brain,” Hind says. “We suffered a lot under ISIS, so many girls suffered under ISIS. I want to prove myself because of all that happened.”

“Here,” she says, “we are doing our job.”

Mustafa Mohammed Alali contributed to this report.
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[*] posted on 5-6-2018 at 03:46 PM


Coalition Forces, Partners Begin Phase 2 of Operation Roundup

(Source: US Department of Defense; issued June 3, 2018)

SOUTHWEST ASIA --- Syrian Democratic Forces have initiated ground operations for phase two of Operation Roundup to defeat Islamic State of Iraq and Syria remnants in northeastern Syria, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials announced today.

The SDF ground offensive, aimed at clearing Dashisha, is bolstered by coordinated coalition cross-border air and artillery strikes, and strikes by the Iraqi air force and army artillery positioned near the border.

Iraqi security forces have also enhanced their border presence to prevent the escape of ISIS members from Syria into Iraq.

Operation Roundup began May 1, and the successful first phase ended with the clearance of Baghuz, Syria, May 15.

Powerful Offensive

"This is a well-coordinated, powerful offensive to annihilate ISIS remnants in northeastern Syria," said Army Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve. "Our partners are aggressively taking the fight to what's left of ISIS's conventional force, which has been demoralized by military losses and its leadership's abandonment of the terrorists they left on the front lines."

Coalition strikes supporting Roundup in May exceeded April's strike total by 123 percent, and March's strike total by 304 percent. Ongoing strikes are targeting ISIS command-and-control centers, weapons production and storage facilities, safe houses and facilitation sites.

Coalition and Iraqi forces are also targeting ISIS tunnel complexes and underground storage sites, Funk said.

The multi-ethnic Syrian Democratic Forces remain committed to liberating the people of northeastern Syria from ISIS's control and putting an end to the human suffering in the area, officials said.

CJTF-OIR remains committed to the destruction of ISIS and setting the conditions for follow-on operations to increase regional stability, officials said.

(ends)

Operation Roundup Hits ISIS Remnants in Iraq, Syria

(Source: US Department of Defense; issued June 01, 2018)

SOUTHWEST ASIA --- Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve and its partners increased offensive activity against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria targets in designated parts of Iraq and Syria throughout May.

Since the May 1 start of Operation Roundup, Syrian Democratic Forces resumed major offensive operations in the middle Euphrates River valley. Since then, the SDF has continued to gain ground through offensive operations, coupled with precision coalition strike support.

During May, the coalition has conducted 225 strikes with 280 engagements. This demonstrates a 304 percent increase over the 74 strikes conducted in March, and a 123 percent increase over the 183 strikes recorded in April.

Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve and its partner forces continue to exert pressure on ISIS senior leaders and associates to degrade, disrupt and dismantle ISIS structures and remove terrorists throughout Iraq and Syria. ISIS morale is sinking on the front lines as privileged ISIS leaders increasingly abandon their own fighters on the battlefield, taking resources with them as they flee, task force officials said.

Over the coming weeks, Operation Roundup will continue to build momentum against ISIS remnants remaining in the Iraq-Syria border region and the middle Euphrates River valley.

Coalition military forces conducted 41 strikes May 25-31, consisting of 49 engagements in Iraq and Syria:

May 31 Strikes
On May 31 in Syria, coalition military forces conducted six strikes consisting of seven engagements against ISIS targets. Near Abu Kamal, four strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit, destroying three ISIS vehicles, an ISIS command-and-control center and an ISIS fighting position. Near Shadaddi, two strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed two ISIS command-and-control centers.

On May 31 near Basheer in Iraq, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of one engagement again an ISIS tactical unit.

May 30 Strikes
On May 30 in Syria, coalition military forces conducted six strikes consisting of six engagements against ISIS targets. Near Abu Kamal, three strikes destroyed an ISIS fighting position. Near Shafah, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed two ISIS vehicles. Near Hajin, two strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed two ISIS fighting positions.

There were no reported strikes in Iraq on May 30.

May 29 Strikes
On May 29 near Abu Kamal in Syria, coalition military forces conducted a strike engaging an ISIS tactical unit, destroying an ISIS vehicle.

There were no reported strikes in Iraq on May 29.

May 28 Strikes
There were no reported strikes in Syria on May 28.

On May 28 near Qayyarah in Iraq, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of two engagements against ISIS targets.

May 27 Strikes
On May 27 in Syria, coalition military forces conducted five strikes consisting of five engagements against ISIS targets. Near Abu Kamal, four strikes destroyed three ISIS fighting positions. Near Shadaddi, a strike engaged an ISIS unit and destroyed an ISIS vehicle-borne improvised explosive device.

On May 27 near Baghdad, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of one engagement against ISIS targets, destroying an ISIS-held building.

May 26 Strikes
On May 26 in Syria, coalition military forces conducted 11 strikes consisting of 12 engagements against ISIS targets. Near Abu Kamal, 11 strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit, destroying two ISIS logistics hubs and two ISIS vehicles.

There were no reported strikes in Iraq on May 26.

May 25 Strikes
On May 25 in Syria, coalition military forces conducted eight strikes consisting of 11 engagements against ISIS targets. Near Abu Kamal, seven strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed three ISIS fighting positions. Near Shadaddi, a strike destroyed six ISIS fighting systems and three ISIS logistics hubs.

On May 25 near Kirkuk in Iraq, coalition military forces conducted a strike consisting of three engagements against ISIS targets, destroying two ISIS-held buildings.

Definition of Strikes

The coalition's strike report contains all strikes conducted by fighter, attack, bomber, rotary-wing, or remotely piloted aircraft, rocket propelled artillery and ground-based tactical artillery.

A strike, as defined by coalition officials, refers to one or more kinetic engagements that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative effect in that location. For example, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIS vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against a group of ISIS-held buildings and weapon systems in a compound, having the cumulative effect of making that facility harder or impossible to use. Strike assessments are based on initial reports and may be refined.

Task force officials do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 7-6-2018 at 04:50 PM


Operation Roundup in Syria Continues to Target ISIS Terrorists

(Source: US Department of Defense; issued June 05, 2018)


French soldiers assigned to Task Force Wagram provide fire support to Operation Roundup in Qaim, Iraq. with their Caesar 155mm truck-mounted artillery guns. (US Army photo)

WASHINGTON --- In Syria, Operation Roundup is in its 36th day of targeting and destroying remnants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Army Col. Thomas Veale, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman, told Pentagon reporters today via teleconference from Baghdad.

"The increased operational tempo under Operation Roundup includes 225 coalition partner strikes in May," the spokesman said. "That's a 304 percent increase over March and a 123 percent increase over April strikes. We and our partners have pounded ISIS remnants from the ground and air in relentless pursuit of their leaders and fighters."

Sagging ISIS Morale

ISIS' morale is low and its leaders are scurrying for their lives, he said, noting that thanks to increased coalition and partner pressure, quite a bit of ISIS traffic is now flowing west toward Syrian regime-held territory.

Veale also announced the removal of a key ISIS operative from the battlefield in Syria. Amed al-Hamdouni, a courier for ISIS senior leadership, was killed during a coalition operation May 17 near Dashisha, Syria, he said.

Al-Hamdouni carried messages among high-level ISIS leaders throughout Syria and Iraq. His death hurts ISIS leadership's ability to communicate securely and increases their risk of public exposure or further isolation, Veale said.

Turning to Iraq, Iraqi security force partners continue to provide excellent internal security and border security to protect Iraq's sovereign soil and citizens, Veale said.

Iraq's citizens are increasingly coming home, and to date, more than 3.7 million Iraqis have returned, he said.

The spokesman emphasized Iraqi security forces' key role in securing the Iraqi side of the border with Syria in Operation Roundup. "Iraqi border guard forces and the Iraqi army have covered the western border as our partners' ground defenses attack ISIS remnants in Syria," he said.

Operation Reliable Partnership

The coalition also continues support to Iraq through Operation Reliable Partnership, which will enhance Iraqi forces' ability to train and equip themselves, Veale said, adding, "Reliable Partnership will build resilience and security and sustainment capabilities, as well as the growing air enterprise, security policy and operations, intelligence and counterterrorism."

The United States views Operation Reliable Partnership as an investment in Iraq's future security and, as the successful defeat-ISIS operations have shown, is also an investment in global security, Veale said.

"We look forward to continuing the successes of this partnership," he added.

"Our mission remains unchanged: to defeat ISIS in designated parts of Iraq and Syria, and to help set conditions for follow-on operations to increase regional stability," the spokesman said.

"We, the military arm of the global coalition, work by, with and through our partners to achieve and help sustain security that enables stabilization activities," he said. "Military action will only take us so far by providing a safer environment in which to work. We now encourage the international community to take advantage of the space, time and opportunities military successes have bought."

Veale said the coalition and its partners have dealt severe blows to ISIS. However, he added, the enemy is adaptable and determined to rise again.

"There is no doubt momentum is on our side, but we're facing a determined enemy and there is much work to do," the spokesman said. "We're grateful for the support of the global coalition of 71 nations and four international organizations, and we are ever mindful of the sacrifices our predecessors and our partners have made."

-ends-
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[*] posted on 25-6-2018 at 06:22 PM


Syrian troops launch southwest offensive despite US warnings

Tim Ripley, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

22 June 2018

The United States has criticised a new offensive by pro-government forces in southwest Syria that appears to involve Russian forces.

US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters on 21 June that the de-escalation agreement announced in July 2017 had saved lives and facilitated humanitarian aid but was now being violated by pro-government forces. “They’ve initiated airstrikes, there have been artillery and rocket attacks, and that’s a tremendous concern of ours,” she said.

Nauert added that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had raised these concerns with Russian Foreign Sergey Lavrov and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The State Department warned on 25 May that the United States was concerned about an impending offensive in the southwest and warned that it would take “firm and appropriate measures” if the de-escalation zone was violated.

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[*] posted on 6-7-2018 at 11:59 AM


Islamic State militants kill three Iranian fighters in Syria's Deir al-Zour

IHS Jane's Terrorism Watch Report - Daily Update

05 July 2018

MEDIA reports on 12 June stated that three Iranian fighters were killed by Islamic State militants in the town of Al-Bukamal in Syria's Deir al-Zour governorate on unspecified earlier dates, Tasnim reported. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for killing the three fighters on 11 June.

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[*] posted on 14-7-2018 at 03:08 PM


Syrian government advance towards border with occupied Golan risks provoking major Israeli military response

Columb Strack - IHS Jane's Intelligence Weekly

13 July 2018

Key Points

- Opposition factions resisting reconciliation, and up to 234,000 displaced civilians, are likely to be pushed into the demilitarised zone along Syria’s border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
- Syria is likely to stop short of moving into the demilitarised zone, but will probably test Israel’s commitment by advancing towards the zone and engaging opposition forces located within it.
- Israel will respond in kind to any stray fire into the Golan Heights, holding the Syrian government responsible, regardless of whether it was initiated by Iranian forces or non-state groups.
- Rockets fired from Syria into Israel proper and causing Israeli civilian casualties would most likely provoke a major Israeli military response in Syria, aimed at forcing President Assad to implement an Iranian withdrawal from Syria.

Event

Syrian government forces and Russian military police units took control of the formerly opposition-held parts of Deraa city on 12 July, following a reconciliation agreement.

The recapture of Deraa city, where the Syrian uprising began in 2011, follows two weeks of rapid territorial gains by the Syrian government in Deraa and Suwayda provinces east of the M5 highway, which include the Naseeb border crossing with Jordan.

President Bashar al-Assad is winning the civil war and remains committed to re-establishing control over all of Syria, with backing from Russia and Iran. What remains of the Syrian opposition is now concentrated in the northwestern province of Idlib, where a Turkish military presence is deterring further government advances.

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[*] posted on 25-7-2018 at 04:17 AM


Israel has apparently just shot down a Syrian aircraft that strayed 2km into Israeli airspace.



Repent!

The darkest hour of Humanity is upon us. The world
shall meet it's end and we shall be submerged into a
new dark age. Repent your sins, for the apocalypse,
and the end, is extremely f@#king nigh!
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[*] posted on 26-7-2018 at 12:39 AM


Quote: Originally posted by ARH  
Israel has apparently just shot down a Syrian aircraft that strayed 2km into Israeli airspace.


An SU-22 apparently. Shot down by Patriot with a dual missile launch.

So old Floppsy will no doubt now “prove” to everyone that Patriot as well, only has a .050 PK...




In a low speed post-merge manoeuvring fight, with a high off-boresight 4th generation missile and Helmet Mounted Display, the Super Hornet will be a very difficult opponent for any current Russian fighter, even the Su-27/30
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[*] posted on 31-7-2018 at 09:34 AM


After Counterinsurgency Victory, Syria Looks to Rearm

(Source: Forecast International; issued July 30, 2018)
by Derek Bisaccio

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov in November 2017. Source: Russian Presidency website

More than seven years after domestic protests broke out against the Syrian government and President Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian military, with Iranian and Russian backing, has achieved victory over insurgent forces. Pockets of anti-government forces certainly remain, including in the southwest and southeast of Syria, as well as the province of Idlib in the northwest, and a large question mark hangs over the future of the Syrian government’s relations with the U.S.-protected People’s Protection Units (known by the Kurdish acronym YPG) and of portions of rebel territory where Turkey has deployed troops. Nevertheless, the war for the ouster of President Assad is at its conclusion.

Writing for the online platform War on the Rocks, Luke O’Brien and Aaron Stein discussed President Assad’s counterinsurgency strategy, which falls firmly within a rather brutal strain of the “enemy-centric” camp of counterinsurgency. They wrote that the Syrian military’s use of chemical weapons “demonstrated their value for warfighting,” noting in particular that, along with other benefits, “[f]or Assad, chemical weapons also compensate for the limitations of his army’s older, less sophisticated weapons.” Despite international conventions on the use of chemical weapons, the munitions proved to suit the Syrian military’s needs well. The government, even prior to Russia’s 2015 direct intervention on its behalf, was willing to risk external invasion for the perceived benefits of the chemical weapons in fighting insurgents.

Chemical weapons may also have served as a deterrent of some form against external invasion. The Syrian military would not be able to win a war against, say, the United States, but the rather grisly implication of its willingness to use chemical weapons on its own people is that it would certainly not hesitate to do so against the people of other, neighboring countries in the event an existential external threat emerged.

The collapse of the Syrian government, furthermore, would conceivably result in the diffusion of at least some of these weapons into the hands of myriad militant groups that, like the government,[ii] have little qualms about deploying them.[iii] This sort of “deterrent,” such as it is, would certainly not be sufficient to preserve the Syrian government were another country to perceive a need to remove it, but a lack of compelling strategic interest to do so makes the costs of intervention much greater than the value.

The Syrian government’s chemical weapons might have been able to address non-state actors, and perhaps offer a degree of deterrence against existential threats, but they are unable to address the more likely threats faced by the Syrian military. As the civil war winds down, the Syrian military’s conventional weaknesses have been laid further bare. Even prior to the war, much of the military’s inventory was aged, necessitating the negotiation of new arms contracts with suppliers like Russia. The civil war resulted in the destruction of much of the military’s initial equipment, from fighter jets to helicopters to tanks. As this was ongoing, Syria’s neighbors continued to bolster their forces with the latest generation of hardware, such as the introduction of the F-35 into Israeli service,[iv] heightening the divide between Syria and its traditional rivals.

The discrepancy shows. The Israeli military has conducted air strikes largely unhindered in Syria throughout the conflict,[v] continuing to strike deep into Syria despite Syria’s air defense network.[vi] Besides Israel, foreign militaries hostile to Damascus have been directly operating in Syria since 2014,[vii] paying no heed to Syrian protestations. The U.S. shot down an Su-22 in 2017 and Israel downed another this month.

To rectify the situation, the Syrian government is negotiating with Russia, its traditional supplier and newly found counterinsurgency partner, for new supplies of military systems. Throughout the early phases of the war, Russia was reluctant to cancel the supply of weapons to the Syrian government.[viii] Following the Russian intervention, Moscow provided some secondhand equipment to replenish the Syrian military, including tanks, armored vehicles, self-propelled mortars, and perhaps even aircraft, according to pro-government media.[ix] Syria also received new batches of the Pantsir-S1, an air defense system.

Moving forward, Syria is interested in a complete renovation of its forces, with the exception of its Navy. In terms of major hardware, Damascus needs new fighter jets, jet trainers,[x] helicopters, missile systems, tanks, armored vehicles, and self-propelled ordnance.

Cost burdens and politics will be significant impediments. The lowest estimate of reconstruction costs for the country is $200 billion,[xi] for which Syria will almost undoubtedly not be able to leverage Western financial support. The government’s total budget for 2018, SYP3,187 billion,[xii] equals only a little over $7 billion (at the official exchange rate), limiting the amount available for arms imports. Russia can certainly be expected to extend some financial assistance for the procurement of military equipment, but at some point it will want compensation for its arms, via either payment or economic concessions.

Politics will similarly inhibit the sale of significant equipment, such as air defense systems, that the Syrian military needs to secure its territory. After the trilateral French, British, and American strikes on the Syrian government in April of this year, Russia publicly toyed with the idea of resuming supply of the S-300 to Syria under a moribund contract dating prior to the civil war. In 2018, a number of Russian officials discussed with Russian media a resumption of the Russian government’s deliberations over the sale, stressing that “no moral barriers” exist that could prevent it should both parties want to conclude a deal.[xiii]

The public musings prompted strong warnings from Israel that it would destroy any S-300s transferred to Syria,[xiv] threats that the Israeli military underscored by displaying footage showing the bombing of a Syrian Pantsir-S1.[xv] Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu later walked back the subject of the S-300 sale, saying that the Syrian government had not actually made a request for the system at all.[xvi] Whether Damascus made a request to resume deliveries of the S-300 is unclear – the government stayed mum on the matter, though its state-owned media outlet did cover Defense Minister Shoigu’s comments[xvii] – but the public S-300 saga demonstrated that significant political barriers exist to the supply of major equipment.

The political challenges might not be insurmountable for Damascus, as the Russian sale of the S-300 to Iran went through similar public wrangling, but in that case, Tehran had the sort of finances to cover the purchase of the missile system and the supply of the system came as an incentive for Iranian participation in the 2015 nuclear accord. In Syria’s case, the government lacks leverage other than appeals to shared security interests and Russia’s determination to keep President Assad in power.

Countries regularly turn to multiple suppliers in order to strengthen their negotiating position or to lessen dependence on one in particular, but in Syria’s case, the only realistic alternative to Russia is China, limiting Damascus’ flexibility in negotiations, as China has comparatively never been a major supplier of conventional equipment to the Syrian military. Given Damascus’ determined goal of asserting control of the entirety of Syrian territory, the government will need to overhaul its military, but the only way to do so is through further dependency on the Russian government.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 1-8-2018 at 12:59 PM


Russian Aircraft In Syria Face UAV Barrage

Aug 1, 2018

David Hambling | Aviation Week & Space Technology

Khmeimim Air Base, the main operating base for Russia’s air operations over Syria, is under siege. Night after night, small unmanned aircraft launched by insurgents attempt to break through defenses and bomb the ranks of parked military aircraft.

This is a resumption of the type of assault first reported on the night of Jan. 5, when the Russian defense ministry described a “massive application of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV),” numbering about 13. Each had a 3-m (10-ft.) wingspan and carried 10 grenade-size bombs. The UAVs were powered by lawnmower engines, with an estimated range of 60 mi. (97 km).

The Russians say they brought down all the attackers using a combination of signals-jamming and missiles.

- The UAVs are typically garage-made copies of the Russian Orlan-10
- Strike tactics have changed this year, moving from mass swarming to gradual erosion

While the UAVs appeared crude, with parts made of wood and plastic sheeting, Russian authorities suggested this disguised their sophistication and that foreign powers may have been involved. An intelligence source told Russian news agency TASS that it was a “strange coincidence” for a U.S. P-8 Poseidon aircraft to be in the area at the time.

On Jan. 12, the Russian defense ministry said it had destroyed the insurgent group responsible, knocking out UAV manufacturing and storage facilities with a laser-guided artillery strike and killing personnel: “The whole subversive group was eliminated.”


The Russian military shot down the UAV pictured and others during a January strike on its aircraft. Credit: Russian Defense Ministry

Despite this, there was another UAV attack in March, and since the end of June the raids have been nearly continuous. There were three nights of attacks June 30-July 2, another three nights July 5-7, one on July 16 and then three more July 20-22.

Some raids were carried out by one or two UAVs, although the June 30 attack involved up to five. Some, such as an attempt on July 27, were executed by a single drone.

On July 6, a UAV identical to those used in the attacks washed up at Mersin, Turkey, having presumably flown off course.

The UAVs tend to be the same type—garage-made copies of the Russian Orlan-10, several of which have been lost in Syria.

Targeting appears to be via GPS, using coordinates from satellite imagery of the air base. A release mechanism drops the bomb loads one at a time in a line, to maximize the chance of a hit.

The most obvious change since January is the weaponry. In the first attacks, the UAVs carried 10 400-gram (14-oz.) bombs, each packed with ball bearings with an estimated effective radius up to 50 m. Recent pictures show four larger munitions, which appear to be manufactured from Russian 57-mm S-5KO rocket warheads. Large numbers of these rockets have been looted by insurgents in Syria—for example, from Taftanaz Air Base in 2013—and used as improvised weapons.


The Russian military seized the pictured munitions in the January attack. Credit: Russian Defense Ministry

There has also been a shift in tactics from mass swarming to gradual erosion.

In January, the aim appeared to be to saturate defenses. Among the systems deployed by the Russian defenders are the Pantsir S-1 mobile system, an armored vehicle with two dual 30-mm automatic cannons and launch tubes for 12 95A6 missiles. The attack in January reportedly prompted deployment of a new small, low-cost missile nicknamed Gvozd (Nail). A pack of four Gvozds can replace a single 95A6 launch tube, resulting in the potential to carry up to 48 missiles.

The insurgents are now sending only a few UAVs at a time. The goals may be to probe defenses, cause disruption and degrade the air base’s efficiency or deplete ammunition stocks. It may, however, simply be a numbers game. No defense is perfect, and any error will be expensive. Each of the prized Sukhoi Su-57 aircraft at Khmeimim costs about $50 million; damaging one would be an excellent return for a hundred UAVs costing a few thousand dollars apiece.


The UAVs striking Russian forces appear to be garage-made copies of the pictured Russian Orlan-10 UAV. Credit: Russian Defense Ministry

The Russian defense ministry insists that no UAV has penetrated its defenses, though it acknowledges that two servicemen were killed in what was described as a mortar attack in December.

Reuters quoted reports in the Russian newspaper Kommersant that seven aircraft had been destroyed. Social media showed damaged aircraft, and some sources said the attack was carried out by UAVs. Russian authorities would not comment on the actual level of damage.

The continuing raids highlight the challenges of countering small UAVs. Faced with similar challenges from UAVs operated by the Islamic State group in Iraq, U.S. forces preferred to tackle the threat before it was launched. Launch sites are difficult to pinpoint, though. On July 5, Russian aircraft carried out strikes apparently aimed at the source of the attacks, in the Jisr Al-Shughour district of Idlib, controlled by the Turkistan Islamic Party insurgent group. This did not stem further attacks.

Even identifying the group responsible for any attack is challenging, due to the use of open-source, commercial components rather than traceable military hardware.

Although rudimentary, such do-it-yourself UAVs possess long range and high precision. They are cheap and can be assembled in basic workshops. Future versions are likely to be progressively stealthier and more capable. These features will make improvised UAVs attractive to insurgents and others for attacks on air bases and other high-value targets. Expect them to become an increasingly common threat in the next few years.
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[*] posted on 29-8-2018 at 10:57 AM


Russia deploys military ships to Syria armed with Kalibr cruise missiles

By: Matthew Bodner   8 hours ago


The Russian naval grouping is led by the Northern Fleet’s guided missile cruiser Marshal Ustinov. (Olga Maltseva/AFP via Getty Images)

MOSCOW — The Russian military is deploying a flotilla of at least 10 ships to the Syrian coast, the Izvestia newspaper reported Tuesday, citing unidentified Defense Ministry sources. The grouping was reported as Russia’s most powerful to deploy to Syria since Moscow began its intervention in the conflict there nearly two years ago.

The Izvestia report comes one day after Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov told reporters that Moscow was concerned over apparent preparations for an American cruise missile strike on Syrian government forces as they ready to launch a final offensive on Idlib — the last remaining rebel stronghold in the Syrian civil war.

The Russian naval grouping is led by the Northern Fleet’s guided missile cruiser Marshal Ustinov, a large anti-submarine warfare ship called the Severomorsk, three of Russia’s newest frigates, one large patrol ship, three small missile boats and two Kilo-class submarines. Many of these ships, Izvestia noted, are armed with Russia’s Kalibr cruise missiles.

Several more ships are reportedly en route to join the flotilla, making it Russia’s largest (in terms of pure numbers of hulls deployed) naval deployment to Syria — and possibly the largest since the end of the Cold War. But claims that it is the most powerful deployment are dubious; in late 2016 Russia’s two largest ships led an eight-ship flotilla to Syria on a power-projection cruise.

The main difference between the two groups are their capabilities. The two ships that led Russia’s last major naval deployment to Syria were the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and nuclear-powered battlecruiser Peter the Great. They were accompanied by two destroyers and several other ships.

However, Kuznetsov and Peter the Great are not armed with Kalibr missiles.

When the Kuznetsov battle group deployed to Syria in late 2016, it did so as Washington was again debating the merits of strikes on Syria. That group was a better deterrent — for no other reason than Peter the Great was in theater. The Russian battlecruiser is designed to pound American carriers from a distance. But the group en route to Syria is now comprised of smaller ships with cruise missiles, indicating Russia may have an eye in supporting the Syrian government’s expected push into Idlib.

For Washington’s part, Russia’s allegations of a coming strike have been brushed off as propaganda.
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[*] posted on 29-8-2018 at 02:37 PM


Iran, Syria Sign Deal on Military Cooperation

(Source: Radio Free Europe; issued Aug 27, 2018)

The defense ministers of Iran and Syria have signed an agreement on military cooperation in the war-torn country, Iranian media report.

The "defense and technical agreement" provides for the continued "presence and participation" of Iran in Syria, Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami said in Damascus on August 27, according to the Tasnim news agency.

It also quoted Syrian Defense Minister Ali Abdullah Ayub as praising Tehran for supporting the government of President Bashar al-Assad in the seven-year Syrian conflict.

Hatami was on the second day of a two-day visit to Syria’s capital, during which he also held talks with Assad, Tasnim reported.

Iranian and Russian support for Assad throughout the war has helped turn the conflict in the Syrian leader’s favor.

Rebel forces have been routed in many parts of the country. Syrian pro-government forces are preparing to launch an assault on the northwestern province of Idlib, the last major rebel stronghold.

Israel and the United States, which supports rebels fighting against Assad’s government, have expressed concern over Iran's growing influence in Syria.

But Hatami told reporters in Damascus on August 26, "No third party can affect the presence of Iranian advisers in Syria."

The war in Syria has killed hundreds of thousands of people and uprooted millions since it began with a government crackdown on protesters in March 2011.

More than 1,000 Iranians, including senior members of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), have been killed in the conflict since 2012, according to Reuters.

UN-mediated peace talks in Geneva between Syrian government delegates and the opposition broke up earlier this year without significant progress.

Meanwhile, Iran, Russia, and Turkey have sponsored a series of negotiations on the Syrian conflict in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, and cooperated to create "de-escalation zones" to reduce fighting while backing separate sides.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will travel to Iran on September 7, his office said on August 27, on a visit expected to include a summit with Russian and Iranian counterparts on Syria.

The tripartite meeting will take place in the northern Iranian city of Tabriz on September 7, according to Turkish state television.

The Kremlin has said that Russian President Vladimir Putin may take part in talks with Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rohani at the beginning of September.

The last such meeting between the three leaders took place in Ankara in April.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 30-8-2018 at 12:13 PM


Iranian Military Says Will Stay in Syria Despite U.S. Demands for Exit

(Source: Radio Free Europe; issued Aug 29, 2018)

Iran will maintain its military presence in Syria despite demands from the United States and Israel that it withdraw, Iran's military attache in Damascus has said.

"The continued presence of Iranian advisers in Syria was part of this military cooperation agreement between Tehran and Damascus" that was signed by the two nations' defense ministers over the weekend, Brigadier-General Abolqasem Alinejad said on August 28, according to Iranian news agencies.

"Iran will help Syria in clearing minefields in different parts of the country... Iran will help Syria to rebuild the military factories that were damaged in the war," Alinejad said.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has sent weapons and thousands of fighters to Syria to help shore up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during his seven-year-long civil war with Sunni Muslim rebels.

Iranian Defense Minister Amar Hatami visited Damascus over the weekend and signed a deal for military cooperation at a time when both Israel and the United States have been demanding that Iran withdraw its advisers and fighters as part of any final settlement of the Syrian war.

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton last week repeated Washington's call for Iran to remove all its forces from Syria.

The United States is reimposing economic sanctions against Iran partly over its involvement in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen as well as over its nuclear and missile programs.

Israel has also been adamant that Iran should withdraw from Syria, and has been particularly wary of Iran's involvement in building factories for weapons that Tel Aviv fears will be used against the Jewish state.

"The pact between Syria and Iran for rehabilitating the Assad army is an excuse and a facade meant to grant legitimacy to the Iranian forces remaining in the area," Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told Ynet TV on August 28.

"But as far as we are concerned, no machinations keeping the Iranians in the area will be acceptable," he said.

A senior Israeli official told reporters that Israel's military, which has staged deadly air raids against Iranian positions and facilities in Syria, "will continue to act with full determination against attempts by Iran to transfer military forces and weapons systems to Syria."

More than 1,000 Iranians, including senior members of the elite Revolutionary Guards, have been killed in the air raids and in battlefield action in Syria since 2012.

The Guards initially kept quiet about their role in Syria. But in recent years as casualties have mounted, they have been more outspoken, framing their engagement as a struggle against Sunni Muslim fighters of the Islamic State who regard the Shi'ites that form Iran's majority as apostates and have staged a growing number of attacks against them.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 31-8-2018 at 11:49 AM


Women Rise as Raqqa Rebuilds Without the World’s Help

By Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Council on Foreign Relations

August 29, 2018

VIDEO: Syrian women celebrate at the Raqqa Women’s Council: https://youtu.be/W32amAv0fIg
Local women and local security are reawakening the Syrian city, with few Americans in sight.

RAQQA, Syria — Two things surprised me, as we walked into the courtyard. We heard the music first and proceeded on foot toward security cordons blocking the way for cars. Navigating our way toward the music and around the sideways-parked Hi-Lux pickup trucks, we stepped inside the gate to see what was happening.

Joy. Pure joy. Joy contagious enough to crush any tired war-observer’s cynicism. There was dancing. The spirit of possibility. The blaring music. The mix of people, men and women, young and old. The place.

This is Raqqa today. That was the first surprise.

The second surprise was at what we didn’t see: foreigners. I couldn’t find more than a handful of foreigners, and if there were many other Americans, I sure didn’t see them. I couldn’t even spot any of the U.S. forces I knew were based in the region. Not a single pair of wrap-around glasses in sight, if things went awry. To be clear, I scanned and saw lots of security forces: at the doorway, by the stage, standing atop rooftops all around us, walking about on the streets out front.

But none of them looked like they had traveled from thousands of miles away to be there as security.

These folks belonged to the city.

We had arrived that morning, my fixer and I, to attend the opening of the Raqqa Women’s Council. It is a council for and by women on streets where ISIS once bought and sold them, in a city held until last November by violent extremists who made the sexual enslavement of women central to their hall of horrors.

Quite honestly, I expected little from the event. Over the years, spending time in and around the post-9/11 conflicts, I had become accustomed to attending such public gatherings to celebrate one council or another. Often times they felt like surface-level exercises or public relations sessions created by and for foreigners and secured by foreigners as well. The real stories of what was happening in women’s lives was often far from those more public-facing events, in far less-fancy rooms filled by local leaders pushing for change in their communities.

This was different. And it is a testament to both the spirit of the people of Raqqa and the work of the local security forces now securing the area who themselves are secured by America’s troop presence. What is missing is an international community ready to invest dollars in rebuilding the city while the war still grinds on in other parts of the country. Those dollars are critical to ensuring that the gains now being made can be built upon and multiplied. But that was not what this day was about. This day was about a new start.

We went to this event to follow up on a previous visit that showed signs of progress for women here. In April, we had visited a local women’s council on a side street in Raqqa and felt surprise then, too, at what we saw. There sat a group of women from around a neighborhood just coming back to life who had come together to talk about what they wanted for their family’s and city’s futures. One woman’s husband had been taken by ISIS more than three years earlier and disappeared. I spent an entire morning with the women, interrupting their meeting with my questions. I wanted to see more.

So, four months later — and two days before the blaring music at the Council’s opening — we stopped in to see the building in the center of Raqqa where the new Women’s Council would be headquartered. Two women, soaked with water and sweat from cleaning the building in the intensity of the over 90-degree heat, came to the door to greet us. Other women we met, busy with preparations for the opening celebrations, stopped their work for a moment to share their stories.

“ISIS killed three of my husband’s relatives,” said Juman, a Women’s Council member. “Those men had a lot of children we care for. We fled Raqqa and my husband joined the (Syrian Democratic Forces). Later I joined the Tal-Abyad women’s council.”

“I saw a woman watch her husband being beheaded by ISIS in Naim Square,” Juman said. “Whatever we say about ISIS, it isn’t enough.”

I asked Juman if she had her husband’s support in the work she was doing now. She nodded vigorously.

“I am here with my husband and my father’s support,” Juman says. Before ISIS, before the Women’s Council, she had never held a role outside her home. “I don’t think that would have happened without ISIS.”

Reem, another Women’s Council member from Raqqa, studied agricultural engineering at university in the city before ISIS sent her fleeing to safety indoors. “My family was terrified,” she said, standing near me but not sweating at all despite the heat and sweat tearing down my brow. “We wouldn’t even go outside.”

One of her friends was killed by ISIS and a neighbor of hers was arrested, Reem tells us. She did not recognize Raqqa when she first came back from Tabqa, the town to which her family fled in August 2017 during the heaviest of the U.S.-backed SDF forces fight to rout ISIS from Raqqa.

“In January, there was rubble everywhere, bodies in the street, IEDs, no water, no electricity,” Reem says. “It was a ghost city.”

Slowly, she says, things have changed. She has changed. More and more people are returning. And she is at the Women’s Council setting out to provide economic opportunities for women.

“There is a big difference,” she says of the energy in her city now compared to when she first returned eight months ago, speaking in a rush of words about her new role. “My parents are encouraging me to be part of this Council, that is important; we need to be part of building our own country, and I am very eager.”

Her work, she says, is critical. Raqqa is now home to a “huge number of widows.” She says the city needs “everything:” reconstruction, rebuilding, investment. And it needs women who can work and contribute to their families.

“The economy is most important,” Reem said. “When you have a strong economy, you can build your country.”

I mention that this whole thing — the women’s council, the push to include women in the Raqqa Civil Council now serving as the administrative lead for Raqqa— is often dismissed outside the region as a Kurdish project which is failing Arabs. Does she agree? Does she feel out of place as an Arab?

She, like nearly every Arab woman in Raqqa to whom I have posed this question, takes umbrage at the premise.

“It is not true it is a Kurdish project,” Reed says. “If it were a Kurdish project, what would I be doing here? This is not just for Kurds or Arabs, but also for Assyrians and Turkmen.”

And so, two days later, as we listened to the speeches, watched the dancing, heard the music blare and talked to women from Raqqa who joined the local security forces, we took pictures, trying to capture the moment and to make sense of what it meant. The instant of possibility in a city that has seen too much. The promise of little ones stepping out to figure out what all the noise was about. And the reality that while the world has not caught up with Raqqa, has yet to invest in the work now underway, the city is doing its best to look forward. To start once more. And that the international community could learn a lot simply by seeing its strength in action.

Mustafa Alali contributed to this report.
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[*] posted on 15-9-2018 at 02:25 PM


We Need a Strategy in Syria

By Rep. Adam Kinzinger

September 13, 2018


AP Photo/Susannah George

‘It’s time to act.’

The Syrian War rages on into its eighth year and yet the United States is still without a real strategy for the dire situation there.

While much of the world’s focus fades away with the ever-changing news cycle, the war crimes being committed in Syria are still happening in full force as President Bashar al-Assad continues to murder his people with help from his friends in Russia and Iran. They do not believe the world is watching; they do not fear any retribution; and they have no remorse for their genocide. If we fail to act, their offensive planned for Syria’s Idlib region will be more horrific than anything we’ve seen in this conflict.

Our lack of a strategy in Syria has been a failing practice. The initial attacks already happening in Idlib are just a prelude to the civilian bloodbath that the world will soon witness if Assad once again uses chemical weapons on his own people. We cannot stand idly by and allow this humanitarian crisis to compound further. The peace talks with Turkey, Russia, and Iran have failed.

It’s time to act.

Since World War I, the United States has held that chemical weapons have no place on the battlefield. We have held strong to this principle and it has been core to our American values.

We know that Assad and his ruthless regime have committed countless war crimes and bear responsibility for murdering more than half a million Syrians. We know that Assad has used chemical weapons on several occasions to attack and murder civilians. We know the Russian and Iranian regimes have supported Assad in this genocide, including strikes that account for more than 50,000 dead Syrian children. We have seen Assad and his cronies use food as a weapon in cities like Madaya, Aleppo, and Eastern Ghouta by refusing humanitarian aid deliveries by UN and other organizations. And we have witnessed the targeting and destruction of hospitals across the most ravaged cities in Syria.

Because we know all this, we cannot turn a blind eye and ignore the horrific reality in Syria right now. We cannot isolate ourselves from this crisis. If we fail to act in Syria and fail to inflict punishment over the use of chemical weapons, we will ultimately see the end of the nonproliferation treaty of chemical weapons and open the world to ghastly horrors, perpetual insecurity, and extreme dangers. What happens in Syria, and what happens in the Middle East, has a very real impact on America’s national security and the security of future generations.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting the U.S. invade Syria, post up thousands of U.S. troops, and start World War III. But, I am suggesting we take a stand for what is right, what is just, and what is in the best interest of the United States and the freedom-loving people around the world. We need a long-term strategy in Syria that leads to a solution of peace and an end to the ongoing, deadly conflict. This strategy should also include the end of the Assad regime and a place at the table of government for the Syrian people.

To do this, we must maintain a presence in Syria, bolster the de-escalation zones that have already been established, and enforce a no-fly zone in the region. This is vital for the safety of our coalition units, humanitarian aid volunteers, and Syrian citizens who have been forced to flee their homes and communities.

In July, I sent a letter, with support from my colleagues in Congress, urging the White House to develop an official strategy for the U.S. to maintain a strong presence in Syria, implement no-fly zones along the southern and eastern Syrian borders, and ultimately position the United States as the global leader our world needs right now.

The ripple effect of this conflict has led strongmen like Assad and Putin to feel empowered by their horrific actions in Syria going relatively unchecked. The people of Syria feel entirely left behind. And the conflict has created the worst refugee crisis of our time, leaving millions of Syrians displaced throughout Europe and the Middle East.

Right now, our lack of a strategy in Syria is leaving many without hope or faith in the United States or our allies. The people of Syria need to know there is hope and that the world has not left them behind. This humanitarian crisis deserves our attention and our action.

I believe America has a mission to be an example of self-governance in a world drowning in strongmen, cruelty, and chaos—and I believe we have an opportunity to show the people of Syria, and the world, that the American Dream continues. We are still that shining city on a hill, and a beacon of hope for peace and prosperity.

Let’s shine a light on the evil actions of Iran and Russia, and expose with that brightness the torture, inhumane use of chemical weapons, and the bombing of aid convoys and hospitals by the Assad regime. Let’s make our presence known in Syria and let’s push back on these strongmen who target the innocent.

Let’s speak out for the freedom-loving people who so desperately need America’s voice. Let’s shine our light on the oppressive darkness around the world. And let’s save Syria.

Adam Kinzinger is a Republican member of the House of Representatives from Illinois’ 16th Congressional District and a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Kinzinger is a major in the Air National Guard and previously served in the U.S. Air Force in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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[*] posted on 15-9-2018 at 04:53 PM


Quote:
To be clear, I’m not suggesting the U.S. invade Syria, post up thousands of U.S. troops, and start World War III. But, I am suggesting we take a stand for what is right, what is just, and what is in the best interest of the United States and the freedom-loving people around the world. We need a long-term strategy in Syria that leads to a solution of peace and an end to the ongoing, deadly conflict. This strategy should also include the end of the Assad regime and a place at the table of government for the Syrian people.

To do this, we must maintain a presence in Syria, bolster the de-escalation zones that have already been established, and enforce a no-fly zone in the region. This is vital for the safety of our coalition units, humanitarian aid volunteers, and Syrian citizens who have been forced to flee their homes and communities.


I seriously couldn't roll my eyes any harder!

How does he propose enforcing a presence in Syria to maintain de-escalation zones, no fly zones, and removes the Assad regime, who are still backed by a Russian military presence, without thousands of troops and starting a direct conflict with Russia?

Talk about living in a world of fantasy. What he is talking about can only be accomplished via an invasion!




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[*] posted on 15-9-2018 at 05:32 PM


Mouthing off about what should be done without stating that resources are needed, is just so much wind..............of no consequence, and evaporates in the blink of an eye................
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[*] posted on 18-9-2018 at 10:58 AM


Syrian regime accidentally shoots down Russian military plane

By Barbara Starr and Ryan Browne, CNN

Updated 0007 GMT (0807 HKT) September 18, 2018


Russian IL-20

Of course there are a number of "conspiracy theorists" who are saying Israel shot it down, OR a French FREMM frigate currently stationed offshore Syria..........neither of which bear much credence at the moment..........:no:

(CNN)A Russian maritime patrol aircraft with multiple personnel on board was inadvertently shot down by Syrian regime anti-aircraft artillery on Monday after the Syrians came under attack by Israeli missiles, according to a US official with knowledge of the incident

The US official said the regime was actually trying to stop a barrage of Israeli missiles. A second official confirmed that Israel was responsible for the missile strikes on the Syrian regime.

The Russian state news agency TASS reported that a Russian IL-20 military aircraft with 14 personnel on board disappeared over the Mediterranean on Monday. According to TASS, the ministry of defense specified that "the mark of IL-20 went off the radars disappeared during the attack of four Israeli F-16 aircraft on Syrian targets in the province of Latakia."

The Israelis had fired multiple missiles against targets in the coastal area of Latakia where Russian has based much of its military presence, including aircraft. In an attempt to strike back against the Israelis, the Syrians launched extensive anti-aircraft fire, the official said and the Russian aircraft was hit.

The US found out about the incident because Syrian forces broadcast an emergency search and rescue radio call on an international frequency. The US then got a direct message from another country about the type of aircraft and circumstances of the incident. The official would not identify that country, but it is likely that Russia is the only nation that would know exactly what type of aircraft was shot down.

A spokesman for the Pentagon told CNN that the missiles were not fired by the US military but would not speak as to who was behind the strikes. An Israel Defense Forces spokesman declined to comment on the reports.

The aircraft was shot down by an anti-aircraft system the Russians sold to the Syrians several years ago, the official said.

The Syrian air defense network in western Syria is very densely populated with anti-aircraft missile and radar systems.

In February, the two-man crew of an Israeli F-16 ejected from their aircraft when a missile exploded near them, damaging their aircraft as they finished conducting a mission against Syrian forces.

An Israeli defense official told CNN earlier this month that Israel has struck Syria 200 times in the past 18 months to prevent the deployment of Iranian weapons in the region.

Natalie Gallon and Radina Gigova contributed reporting.
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[*] posted on 18-9-2018 at 12:18 PM


Not much to say beyond 'Oops'.

I've heard of Blue on Blue incidents, does this qualify as Red on Red?




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[*] posted on 18-9-2018 at 10:40 PM
Israel to blame for downed plane: Russia


https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/russian-mi...

Quote:
Russia has blamed Israel for indirectly causing a Russian military plane to be shot down near Syria's Mediterranean coast, killing 15 people on board.

Russia's Defence Ministry said the Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft, with 15 Russian service personnel on board, was brought down by anti-aircraft batteries of Moscow's ally, Syria, in a friendly fire incident.

But the ministry said it held Israel responsible because, at the time of the incident, Israeli fighter jets were mounting air attacks on Syria targets and had only given Moscow one minute's warning, putting the Russian aircraft in danger of being caught in the cross-fire.

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"We view the actions of the Israeli military as hostile," Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told Russian state television. "As a result of the irresponsible actions of the Israeli military, 15 Russian service personnel perished."

Israel's military declined to comment, as did the prime minister's office and the Foreign Ministry.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu spoke to his Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, and told him Moscow held Israel wholly responsible for the shooting down of the plane, Russian news agencies reported. The Israeli Defence Ministry confirmed the call but declined to give any further details.

Israel's ambassador in Moscow was summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry over the incident, foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

Moscow said its plane disappeared from radar screens as it was coming in to land at the Hmeymim air base in western Syria late on Monday, just as Israeli jets and French naval vessels were mounting air strikes on targets in the same area of Syria.

France denied launching any missile strikes.

According to the ministry, the Israeli F-16 jets carrying out the air strikes used the Russian plane as cover to allow them to approach their targets on the ground without being hit by Syrian anti-aircraft fire.

"Hiding behind the Russian aircraft, the Israeli pilots put it in the line of fire of Syrian anti-aircraft systems. As a result, the Il-20 ... was shot down by the (Syrian) S-200 missile system," Konashenkov said.

He said the Israeli pilots "could not have failed to see the Russian aircraft, as it was coming in to land from a height of 5km. Nevertheless, they deliberately carried out this provocation," Konashenkov said.

The spokesman said: "This absolutely does not correspond to the spirit of Russian-Israeli partnership."

"We reserve the right to take commensurate measures in response," Konashenkov said, without giving details of what those measures would be.

The Kremlin was extremely concerned by the incident and President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences for those who were killed, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.




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[*] posted on 26-9-2018 at 01:47 PM


Syria to Get Russia's S-300 Air-Defense Missile System Within Two Weeks

(Source: TASS; published Sept 24, 2018)

MOSCOW --- Within two weeks, the Syrian army will get from Russia S-300 air-defense missiles to strengthen its combat capabilities following the downing of a Russian Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft in Syria, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Monday.

'A modern S-300 air defense missile system will be supplied to the Syrian Armed Forces within two weeks. It is capable of intercepting air assault weapons at a distance of more than 250 kilometers and hit simultaneously several air targets,' the minister said.

Shoigu said S-300 missiles will strongly strengthen combat capabilities of the Syrian air defense due to their jamming invulnerability and firing speed.

'I will underscore - at the request of the Israeli side, in 2013 we suspended the delivery of S-300 systems that were ready for the dispatch, while the Syrian military had undergone training. Now the situation has changed, and we are not to blame,' the defense minister said.

Command posts of the Syrian air defense will also be equipped with Russian automated systems, which guarantee the identification of Russian aircraft, the defense chief stated.

'The command posts of Syrian air defense forces and units will be equipped with automated control systems only supplied to the Russian armed forces. This will facilitate centralized control over all forces and resources of the Syrian air defense, monitor the situation in the air, and ensure operative issuance of orders. Most importantly, we will guarantee the identification of all Russian aircrafts by the Syrian air defense systems,' Shoigu said.

A Russian electronic surveillance Il-20 plane was downed over the Mediterranean Sea late on September 17 when it was flying back to the Russian airbase at Syria’s Hmeymim. According to the Russian defense ministry, the plane was shot down by a missile from a Syrian S-200 air defense complex when it was firing at four Israeli F-16 aircraft attacking targets in the Latakia governorate. The Israeli pilots actually used the Russian aircraft as a cover, exposing it to Syrian missiles, the ministry stressed.

(ends)

Russia to Supply Syria with S-300 Defense Systems

(Source: Deutsche Welle German Radio; issued Sept 24, 2018)

Moscow will boost Syria's armaments by sending them powerful S-300 missile defense systems, Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has said. Moscow claims Israeli jets caused Syrians to shoot down a Russian spy plane.

Syrian regime troops will receive S-300 missile defense systems from Russia within the next two weeks, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Monday.

The modernized version of the Soviet-era system 'is capable of intercepting aerial attacks at the distance of over 250 kilometers and simultaneously countering several targets,' the minister said.

The move comes after Moscow blamed Israel for indirectly causing the destruction of a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance plane last week. The incident claimed the lives of 15 Russian soldiers.

'We are convinced that these measures will cool down the 'hot heads' and keep them from ill-conceived actions threatening out troops,' Shoigu said in his televised address.

Israel denies responsibility

Russia's spy plane was shot down over Syria last Monday. Both Russia and its allies from the Syrian regime acknowledge the missiles were fired by the Syrian military, but say the troops had targeted Israeli jets flying sorties in the area.

Moscow has blamed Israel for the loss of life, claiming that Israeli jets used the spy plane as a cover to avoid Syrian fire. Israel admitted bombing targets in Syria before the plane was shot down on Monday. However, they denied any connection with the incident.

Supplying Syrian army with advanced anti-aircraft capabilities is likely to raise the stakes in the volatile region, where Israel and several other countries often conduct bombing attacks.

S-300 delivery 'not directed' against Israel

Russian President Vladimir Putin initially sought to deflate tensions with Israel, saying that 'a chain of tragic accidental circumstances' caused the Russian plane to be destroyed. On Monday, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the deployment of S-300 was 'not directed at any third country.'

At the same time, however, Peskov pointed the finger at Israel when speaking about the destruction of the Russian plane.

'According to the information provided by our military experts, the reasons for this tragedy are premediated actions of Israeli pilots, and that cannot but harm our ties' with Israel, Peskov said.

Time for an upgrade

Syrian military used the outdated S-200 missiles to respond to the Israeli attack. The systems, originally developed by the Soviet Union in the 1960s, have no capability to distinguish between friendly and hostile forces. Russian bases in Syria are already protected by the latest, S-400 systems, as well as S-300 also operated by Russian troops.

By delivering a revamped version of the more modern S-300 defense system, Russia seeks to reduce the risk of a similar friendly-fire incident. Moscow will also equip Syria's anti-aircraft command centers with high-tech systems to improve coordination and monitoring. According to Shoigu, hostile aircraft will also face electronic interference above parts of the Mediterranean in Syrian airspace.

Israel did not immediately comment on the Russian move. Earlier this year, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman speculated that giving advanced weapons to Damascus could trigger a response.

'For us, it is important that defensive weaponry which Russia is supplying to Syria, is not used against us,' he told the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, according to the Russian translation provided by the Interfax news agency.

'If they are, we will take action against them.'

-ends-
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[*] posted on 26-9-2018 at 01:49 PM


Russian Defense Ministry Presents Data As Evidence of Israeli Involvement In Il-20 Crash

(Source: TASS; issued Sept 24, 2018)

MOSCOW --- Russia’s defense ministry has presented data from the S-400 radar deployed at the airbase at Syria’s Hmeymim as evidence proving the Israeli air forces’ responsibility for the incident with the Russian Ilyushin-20 plane killing 15 servicemen.

The ministry’s spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, said on Monday the ministry took notice of certain comments seeking to distort the picture of the incident and thoroughly scrutinized the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) statement alleging that the Israeli F-16 fighter jets had not been hiding behind the Russian plane as they had already been in Israel’s airspace at the moment.

'Today, we will give additional data available to the Russian defense ministry to track the Israeli planes and the S-200 system’s missile literally second-by-second. These data were taken from the radars of the command and control post of the S-400 missile system deployed at the Hmeymim airbase,' he said.

According to Konashenkov, the S-400 system recorded the flight of an S-200 missile targeting the Israeli F-16 jet. The radar 'saw' the missile 'change its direction while approaching the Israeli plane to target the Il-20,' he said.

The missile hit the Il-20 at 22:02:45. 'The Israeli F-16, which had hid behind the Russian Il-20 from the missile, remained in the patrolling area west of the Syrian coastline,' he noted.

According to the ministry, data from the radar demonstrate that the Israeli F-16 fighter jets were staying in the area of the Russian Il-20’s crash thus refuting the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) statement that they were already in Israel’s airspace.

Konashenkov demonstrated a slide picturing the development of the air situation after the incident.

'The signal from the Russian Il-20 disappeared from the radar. But I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the Israeli F-16’s are still in this area, with one of them being in direct vicinity of the site of the incident. Please note that the number of this air target of the Israeli F-16 has changed. It means that it had changed the direction and altitude of the flight immediately after the incident. It is clearly recorded by the S-400’s radars,' Konashenkov stressed.

According to Konashenkov, the slides with the radar data show that the Israeli F-16 fighter jet that had hidden behind the Russian Il-20 plane, is staying in the patrolling area west of the Syrian coastline. 'The other three Israeli planes stay in the patrolling area west of the Latakia coast,' he stressed.

The Russian electronic surveillance Il-20 plane was downed over the Mediterranean Sea late on September 17 when it was flying back to the Russian airbase at Syria’s Hmeymim. According to the Russian defense ministry, the plane was shot down by a missile from a Syrian S-200 air defense complex when it was firing at four Israeli F-16 aircraft attacking targets in the Latakia governorate. The Israeli pilots actually hid behind the Russian plane exposing it to Syrian missiles, the ministry stressed.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 26-9-2018 at 02:39 PM


Syria gets S300 missiles, I hope the Russians are also supplying a decent IFF system, so they don't shoot down even more Russian aircraft.



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[*] posted on 26-9-2018 at 03:03 PM


They better keep it far away from the Israeli border, otherwise it's going to go "walkies".................:cool:
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[*] posted on 26-9-2018 at 05:37 PM


I suspect this will possibly become the first instance where a Western air force will gain first hand experience destroying the S-300 system in action. I don't see Israel allowing the system to operate for too long.



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