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Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Arab MKs Suspended For Being Arabs

By Gilad Atzmon

The Knesset's Ethics Committee decided yesterday to suspend Arab MKs Haneen Zoabi, Basel Ghattas and Jamal Zahalka from meetings of the Knesset and its committees. Mr. Zoabi and Mr. Ghattas have been suspended for four months, and Mr. Zahalka for two months.

Their crime: the three Arab Joint List members dared to meet with families of Palestinian freedom fighters who gave their lives in the battle to free their land.

The Arab Joint List issued a statement saying: "The vengeful punishment will not deter us and we will continue fighting against policies of racism and fascism, and in favour of true equality and true democracy, which Netanyahu is trying with all of his power to destroy."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the Knesset. "We will not accept a situation in which members of Knesset support the families of the murderers of Israeli civilians, and stand in memory of those who murdered our children. There's a limit. There's such as thing as national respect.” In his desperate attempt to equate the legitimate Palestinian resistance to occupation with Isis criminality, Netanyahu said,  "I'm trying to imagine what would've happened at the British parliament if British MPs stood in memory of Jihadist John, or if American Congressmen stood in memory of the murderers from California.”  Once again, I note that it is PM Netanyahu and the Israelis who are dwelling on Palestinian land as occupiers. Netanyahu has it backwards. It is the Jewish State and the Zionist brutality that is comparable to Jihadi John and the Islamic State.

In an additional ploy to intimidate the Palestinian MKs; on Monday the Israeli government proposed a bill that would allow a lawmaker to be suspended by a 90-vote majority in the 120-seat parliament. The bill, though not yet law, provides for the suspension of anyone whose “behaviour” is deemed "unbecoming" for a parliamentarian. So, the ‘Jewish democracy’ is way more Jewish than Greek. This should not be a surprise, Athens and Jerusalem are like oil and water, they just don’t mix at all.

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!


بالفيديو..الجيش السوري يحكم السيطرة على حلفايا ومحيطها
DER’AH:  The Big Surprise is getting bigger and better as people start to realize what Saudi Arabia has done to their country.

Al-Subayna Quarter:  20 rodents were killed and 28 wounded here yesterday.  In addition to that, 2 pickups with 23mm cannons were destroyed:
“Abu Sawmar” (Id pending)
Jaad Muhsin Al-Zaahid
‘Abdul-Salaam ‘Aqrooq
The others were not named.

Al-Karak:  On the Weather Observatory – Dam Road,  4 vehicles were destroyed along with 5 fortified positions.  This was the work of the Syrian Air Force.  No detailed report on rat casualties.

Al-‘Abbaasiyya Quarter on February 8, 2016:   14 rodents were confirmed killed in a raid by the SAA and PDC.  3 vehicles, one of which was a Toyota pickup with a 23mm cannon, were destroyed.

ON FEBRUARY 9, 2016:
One of the terrorists who was aghast at the agreement got an IED blown up in his face by remote control courtesy of the SAA-MI.  He was “Abu Yazan Al-Khaleeli”, a Palesteezian degenerate who was caught traveling on the Al-Muzayreeb-Tafas Road.

Al-‘Abbaasiyya Quarter, western edge of Al-Manshiyya Quarter and the Old Customs Building:  A terrorist HQ and 2 vehicles were destroyed east of the Electric Company Building.  A Toyota pickup was also a part of the mess.
رفع العلم السوري في بلدتي ابطع وداعل بريف درعا
Al-Nu’ayma Town:  to the northeast of Der’ah City, the SAA destroyed a pickup with 23mm cannon, a mortar and a group of 8 Nusra/Alqaeda rodents.

Tafas:  The illustrious and endangered Liwaa` Al-Mu’tassim bi-llaah, a branch of Harakat Al-Muthanna Al-Islaamiyya, went up with their only HQ and 13 rodents.  This group had sworn allegiance to ISIS.
LATAKIA:  The SAA has liberated even more villages as the army approaches the Turk border:
Al-Waadi Al-Azraq
Zhahrat Al-Baydar Al-Mahrooq
Al-Kattaaf Properties
Tallat Ziyaarat Al-Baydha

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الجيش يسيطر في ريفي حلب واللاذقية ويتقدم نحو الحدود السورية التركية



(Image: SANA)

Kiffeen Village is 6 kilometers from the main headquarters of Nusra-Alqaeda in the northern rural areas stretching to the Turk border.  It is only 23kms from Turkey.  It’s position overlooking Tal-Rif’aat makes it an ideal place to launch the attach that will devastate the Turk-supported rodents of Alqaeda.  It is happening as I write.  Also, note that Ahraar Al-Shaam mounted a ferocious, but inept, counter-offensive to reclaim this village last night.  They were repelled by a Syrian Army completely entrenched in the area. Over 50 rodents were reported killed.

Kafr Naayaa:  Rats are calling desperately for help in the shape of trucks and bulldozers in order to rebuild destroyed fortifications.  It is east of Kiffeen and will fall during the next few hours.  All terrorists inside are foreigners.  A huge offensive backed by HZB, PDC and the Badr Brigades has resulted in this town being completely surrounded with crazed chatter filling the airwaves, rats begging for immediate help that cannot come because all roads have been blocked.  Wait for tomorrow’s news about this place and Bayaanoon.
The SAAF has shellacked ISIS at:
Tallat Al-Shawaayaa
Rasm Al-‘Alam
Sarjat Al-Kabeera
Read more 

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US Position on Syria Tilts in Favour of Russian Intervention

The US seeks to take advantage of shared American-Russian interests in fighting ISIS, downgrading the objective of Syrian regime change

Global Research, February 09, 2016
Middle East Eye 8 February 2016

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (L) and US Secretary of State John Kerry shake hands after a news conference after a UN Security Council meeting on Syria at the United Nations in New York on 18 December, 2015 (AFP). - See more at:

Featured image: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (L) and US Secretary of State John Kerry shake hands after a news conference after a UN Security Council meeting on Syria at the United Nations in New York on 18 December, 2015 (AFP)

The major developments on the Syrian battlefield in recent months have brought a corresponding shift in the Obama administration’s Syrian policy.

Since the Russian military intervention in Syria upended the military balance created by the victories of the al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front and its allies last year, the Obama administration has quietly retreated from its former position that “Assad must go”. 
These political and military changes have obvious implications for the UN-sponsored Geneva peace negotiations. The Assad regime and its supporters are now well positioned to exploit the talks politically, while the armed opposition is likely to boycott them for the foreseeable future.

Supporters of the armed opposition are already expressing anger over what they regard as an Obama administration “betrayal” of the fight against Assad. But the Obama policy shift on Syria must be understood, like most of the administration’s Middle East policy decisions, as a response to external events that is mediated by domestic political considerations.
The initial Obama administration’s public stance on the Russian air campaign in Syria last October and early November suggested that the United States was merely waiting for Russia’s intervention to fail.

For weeks the political response to the Russian intervention revolved around the theme that the Russians were seeking to bolster their client regime in Syria and not to defeat ISIS, but that it would fail. The administration appeared bent on insisting that Russia give into the demand of the US and its allies for the departure of President Bashar al-Assad from power.
But the ISIS terror attacks in Paris focused the political attention of Europeans and Americans alike on the threat from ISIS terrorism and the need for cooperation with Russia to combat it. That strengthened the position of those within the Obama administration – especially the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CIA – who had never been enamored of the US policy of regime change in the first place. In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, they pressed for a rethinking of the US insistence on Assad’s departure, as suggested publicly at the time by former acting CIA director Michael Morell.

The political impact of the Paris attacks has now been reinforced by the significant gains already made by the Syrian army and its allies with Russian air support in Latakia, Idlib and Hama provinces.
The bombing and ground offensives were focused on cutting the main lines of supply between the areas held by ISIS and the Nusra-led coalition and the Turkish border, which if successful would be a very serious blow to the armed opposition groups.

Dramatic successes came in late January, when Syrian government troops recaptured the town of Salma in Latakia province, held by al-Nusra Front since 2012, and the strategic al-Shaykh Maskin, lost to anti-Assad rebels in late 2014, thus regaining control of Daraa-Damascus highway. Even more significant, the Syrian army has cut off the lines of supply from Turkey to Aleppo, which is occupied by al-Nusra and allied forces.

By the time Secretary of State John Kerry met with the head of the Syrian opposition delegation, Riyad Hijab, on 23 January, it was clear to the Obama administration that the military position of the Assad regime was now much stronger, and that of the armed opposition was significantly weaker. In fact, the possibility of a decisive defeat exists for the first time in light of the Russian-Syrian strategy of cutting off the supply lines of the al-Nusra front.

What Kerry told Hijab, as conveyed to the website Middle East Briefing, reflected a new tack by the administration in light of that political-military reality. He made it clear that there would be no preconditions for the talks, and no formal commitment that they would achieve the departure of Assad at any point in the future. He was unclear whether the desired outcome of the talks was to be a “transitional government” or a “unity government” – the latter term implying that Assad was still in control.

The armed opposition and its supporters have been shocked by the shift in Obama’s policy. But they shouldn’t be. The administration’s previous Syria policy had been based in large part on what appeared to be a favourable political opportunity in Syria. As described by Washington Post correspondent Liz Sly’s official US source, the policy was to put “sufficient pressure on Assad’s forces to persuade him to compromise but not so much that his government would precipitously collapse….”

The Obama administration had seen such an opportunity because a covert operation launched in 2013 to equip “moderate” armed groups with anti-tank missiles from Saudi stocks had strengthened the Nusra Front and its military allies. American Syria specialist Joshua Landis estimated last October that 60 to 80 percent of the missiles had ended up in the hands of the Nusra Front in Syria.

Those weapons were the decisive factor in the Nusra-led Army of Conquest takeover of Idlib province in April 2015 and the seizure of territory on the al-Ghab plain in Hama province, which is the main natural barrier between the Sunni-populated area inland and the Alawite stronghold of Latakia province on the sea. That breakthrough by al-Nusra and its allies, which threatened the stability of the Assad regime, was serious enough to provoke the Russian intervention in September.

But given the new military balance, the Obama administration now recognises that its former strategy is now irrelevant. It has been supplanted with a new strategy that is equally opportunistic. The idea now is to take advantage of shared US-Russian strategic interests regarding ISIS – and downgrade the objective of forcing a change in the Syrian regime.

A signal fact of the war against ISIS in Syria that has been ignored in big media coverage is that the United States and Russia have been supporting the same military forces in Syria against ISIS. The Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) the leading party in Syrian Kurdistan, controls a large swath of land across northern Syria bordering Turkey. Its military force, the Peoples Defence Units (YPG), has been the most significant ground force fighting against ISIS.

But the YPG has also fought against al-Nusra Front and its allies, and has made no secret of its support for Russian air strikes against those forces. Moreover, the PYD has actively cooperated with the Syrian army and Hezbollah in northern Aleppo province. It is both the primary Syrian ally of the United States against ISIS but also a strategic key to the Russian-Syrian strategy for weakening al-Nusra and its allies.

US NATO ally Turkey has adamantly opposed the US assistance to the PYD, insisting it is a terrorist organisation. The United States has never agreed with that, however, and is determined to exploit the strategic position of PYD in the fight against ISIS. But that also implies a degree of US-Russian cooperation against the main armed opposition to the Assad regime as well.

The Obama administration is no longer counting on a military balance favourable to the armed opposition to Assad to provide a reason for concessions by the regime. Whether military success against the armed opposition will be decisive enough to translate into a resolution of the conflict remains to be seen. In the meantime, the Syria peace negotiations are likely to be at a standstill.

-Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and winner of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for journalism. He is the author of the newly published Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare.

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Syrian President’s Advisor: Aleppo Operation Aims at Securing Border with Turkey

ShaabanSyrian President Bashar Assad's Media advisor, Bouthaina Shaaban, said that the campaign launched by the Syrian army and allies in Aleppo aims at regaining control over the northern province and securing the border with Turkey.

In an interview with Reuters news agency, Shaaban added that the international talks on Syria have failed because the countries which back the militant groups have not decided to halt supporting terrorism.

They are seeking ceasefire in order to let the terrorists improve their military position on ground, not to end the crisis, the Syrian president advisor noted.

The Syrian army and allies have launched a large scale campaign against the terrorist groups in Aleppo northern countryside, breaking the 4-year siege imposed on Nubbul and Zahraa towns and controlling a large number of villages in the area.

Source: Reuters
09-02-2016 - 21:59 Last updated 09-02-2016 - 21:59

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The Syria War Will Not Be a Quagmire -- Because Putin and Assad Are Winning

02/08/2016 12:13 pm ET

Fmr. MI-6 agent; Author, 'Resistance: The Essence of Islamic Revolution'


BEIRUT -- Late in the night on Feb. 2, the news hit: "all communication and supply line[s]" between Turkey and Aleppo had been severed, according to a Elijah Magnier, a renowned Arab war correspondent with Alrai Media Group. It seems to be so: the Syrian army and allied militias, backed by Hezbollah and Russian air power, took control of a tendril of territory that cuts off Aleppo-based rebels from the Turkish border. See the map below. Eastern supply lines for the so-called Islamic State appear to have also been cut.

Of particular strategic importance is the village of Murassat Khan and adjacent towns north of Aleppo: by taking control of the area, Damascus ended the main Turkey-Aleppo insurgent supply line. The tourniquet around Aleppo can be pulled off the city -- and at the same time, one of the main ISIS oil corridors to Turkey is cut. If things proceed as they have been, with the regime advancing further into rebel-held territory, the red swathe of Syrian government forces will shortly expand to encircle all opposition forces (predominantly Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS), who themselves have been encircling Aleppo in the east.

Map courtesy of Syria Direct.

Edward Dark, a pseudonym for a respected commentator on Syrian affairs living in Aleppo, tweeted on Feb. 3, "This is the beginning of the end of jihadi presence in Aleppo. After 4 years of war & terror, people can finally see the end in sight."

But if we were to step back and take a look at more of Syria, as shown in the (slightly older) map below, a bigger picture emerges.

Take a close look at the map below. The yellow area purports to represent territory controlled by Syrian Kurds. In reality, "control" is not an appropriate word. But the territory in yellow nevertheless can be said to be friendly to the Syrian army. The People's Protection Units (a group of mostly Kurdish militias known by the acronym YPG) are being given Russian air support (and sometimes American air support as well). The Afrin canton (the yellow area in Syria's northwest corner) is the area through which the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency supply line to rebel coalitions, along the Mount Turkmen heights, reportedly used to run. The Latakia region is now in the process of being sealed.
If government forces, moving north, can make friendly contact with the Kurds in the northeast, almost all Nusra and allied rebel forces would be nearly surrounded. The insurgents would be caught in a cauldron with their backs to a lightly populated and forested territory.

Map courtesy of Al-Masdar / The Arab Source.

The grey, ISIS-controlled corridor, especially the Jarablus border crossing with Turkey, remains effectively open. Turkey has proclaimed this represents its "red line." Were this corridor to be closed by the Syrian Kurds, the Turks have indicated they could respond by invading Syria. The YPG say nonetheless, that they are contemplating just such a move.
In the last few days, the spokesman for the Russian defense ministry warned that Russia has seen clear evidence of Turkish preparations for a military invasion of Syria. It seems likely that this statement is intended by Russia as a warning to Turkey to do no such thing.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made it absolutely clear (to Turkey and to everyone else) that Russia intends to close the border area between ISIS-held territory and Turkey: "The key point for the ceasefire to work is a task of blocking illegal trafficking across the Turkish-Syrian border, which supports the militants," he said. "Without closing the border it is difficult to expect the ceasefire to take place." Russia is politely telling Turkey that any incursion risks direct confrontation and war. Recently, for whatever reason, ISIS forces have appeared to start pulling out of that area.

Lavrov in Oman on Feb. 3. (Alexander Shcherbak\TASS via Getty Images)

With Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan being the irascible character that he is, it is possible that we may yet see surprises, like a Turkish incursion into northern Syria aimed -- ostensibly -- at preventing the Syrian Kurds from linking up along the southern side of the Turkish border. But, if Turkey were to take such independent action, it would likely forfeit any NATO support beyond rhetoric, and any Turkish expeditionary force would have to be launched in the face of Russia's complete air superiority in Syria, which extends right up to the Turkish border.

To discourage Turkey from taking such a rash undertaking, however, Russia reportedly deployed several of its latest advanced fighter jets to Syria (which easily outclass Turkish F-16s) and also repaired and upgraded the Syrian air force's line up.

To put it baldly then, as things stand, Syria seems to be heading not towards a "quagmire" as many western politicians have suggested, but rather to a clear military outcome. As one knowledgable commentator noted, the negotiating table is not in Geneva. The true negotiations are taking place on the battlefields of Idlib and Aleppo -- and what has just been negotiated is the near encirclement of rebel forces into a cauldron.

Nor, it seems, is Syria heading toward a low-intensity guerrilla war in the aftermath of any military victory on the ground. The scenes below, showing people's jubilation when the Syrian Army and Hezbollah forces entered villages that had been retaken from rebel forces this week, tell a different story:

Pics: jubilation in Shia towns Nibol & Zahra N. Aleppo as army & Hezbollah arrive to lift 3 year jihadi siege

Put simply, should Nusra members (who are mainly Syrian) and other rebels try to disperse and hide amongst local communities, there will be no water in which these fish can swim, to paraphrase the Maoist adage. They will find little or no public support. Syria has a very effective intelligence service. We may expect that within a year, most of the disbanded jihadists will have been found out and reported to the intelligence services by locals, who suffered grievously under their occupation. Most will be arrested or killed.

Peoples who undergo the kind of trauma to which Syrians have been subjected either emerge as a psychologically defeated nation or they are strengthened by the crisis through which they have passed. I am quite sure from my visits to Syria through this crisis that its people will emerge stronger. Steel has entered into the Syrian soul.

I also expect Syria to soon again constitute a strong regional state. The meaning of this will be evidenced in a powerful, cohesive northern arc through the region -- and perhaps closer relations with Iraq. Correspondingly, certain Gulf states will find themselves eclipsed.

A civil defense team member stands on the debris of a building after a suspected Russian airstrike in Aleppo, Syria on Feb. 5, 2016. (Firas Taki/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
American and many European elites will find this outcome hard to swallow. Western diplomats and military officers have become more used to quagmires that lead to no political outcomes, or to fudges that lead to stasis, rather than interventions that have a real conclusion. That this should have been achieved with direct help from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah will be a bitter pill to swallow. It will have consequences too.

One is already apparent. The Obama administration announced this week it would ask Congress to quadruple its security assistance to Europe. Polarization seems to be on the cards. The 4+1 coalition (Syria, Iraq, Iran, Russia and Hezbollah) is likely to become the core to a real security architecture for parts of the Middle East -- and probably Central Asia too. China will increasingly be drawn into this new architecture as well, since it fears that its "One Belt, One Road" project, on which its economic future largely is staked, is as vulnerable to Wahhabism as was Syria and Iraq. Chinese officials, I've been told, are aware that America could again use the Wahhabist tool to frustrate their new project.

The question is, will the bitterness at Syria, Russia and Iran's achievement poison America and Europe's attitude towards the new security architecture being forged in Syria? Will it be seen as anti-Western (which it is not), or will Europe manage to curb the Pavlovian NATO impulses sufficiently to establish some modus vivendi? The auguries are not promising.

Also on WorldPost:

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What is the Difference Between Russia’s and US’ Air Campaigns in Syria?

A recent US intelligence report said that Daesh (also known as ISIL/Islamic State) is degrading. Two coalitions – one led by the US and the other by Russia – have been involved in fighting the terrorists. It is high time to figure out some differences between the two approaches.
The Common Goal

Russia, the United States, and Syria have one common enemy – the terrorist group Daesh. In September 2014, US President Barack Obama pledged to destroy Daesh with massive airstrikes.

“Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy. We will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists,” he said in a statement.

In November 2015, Russian leader Vladimir Putin described the goal of the Russian aerial campaign in Syria — “to clear the country of terrorists and secure Russia from possible attacks.” Meanwhile, he said an additional goal was to “stabilize the legitimate government and create the environment for a political compromise.”


The Russian task force has supported the Syrian Arab Army, which numbers between 150,000 to 200,000 personnel. According to military analysts, government forces have over 4,000 tanks (the Russian-made T-55, T-72 and the newest T-90A) and nearly 400 warplanes.

The US-led coalition has provided aerial support for the Iraqi Army (800,000 personnel and 389 tanks), the Kurdish militia (70,000 fighters) and various opposition groups (40-60,000 fighters).

Russia began airstrikes in Syria on September 31, at the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad. In the first 100 days of the operation, Russian jets carried out 5,600 combat sorties, with a daily average of 50-60. During the same period, the US Air Force carried out nearly 3,500 sorties. During the operation, US warplanes carried out a total of more than 65,000 sorties, with an average of 120 a day. US jets have tried to provide permanent aerial support for opposition and Kurdish forces.

Russia and the US chose aircraft in accordance with operational tasks and the capacity of the available airfields. The Russian task force was deployed to the Hmeymim air base, outside Latakia, close to theater of war. Nearly 4,000 servicemen and over 70 aircraft are currently deployed to the base, including Su-30 and Su-35 four-generation fighters, Su-24 and Su-34 tactical bombers, and Su-25 ground support jets.


“These aircraft have been chosen to accomplish the assigned tasks,” military expert Mikhail Khodarenok told RBK.

The Su-24 can carry up to 7,500 kg of weapons, including fragmentation ballistic bombs, up to a distance of up to 560 km. The Su-34 has even greater capabilities – up to 8,000 kg of bombs at a distance of up to 1,100 km. According to the expert, in order to be fully engaged in combat, those aircraft should take off from an airfield close to the battlefield. As such, most of theRussian airstrikes in Syria have been carried out by Su-24 and Su-34 bombers.

Long-range bombers, including the Tu-22, Tu-95 and Tu-160, have also been involved in the operation. Tu-22 bombers took off from an airfield in Russia’s Mozdok, while the Tu-95 and Tu-160 – from an airfield in Engels.

According to Khodarenok, using the Tu-22 in Syria is not as effective as it could be.
“With its maximum capacity of 22 tons of bombs, the Tu-22 cannot fly from Mozdok to Syria. It can fly with eight tons, but this is the same that the Su-24 can do,” he explained.
In one week, Tu-22 bombers carried out only 23 sorties. Nevertheless, according to the analyst, using strategic bombers is a good chance to show off the capabilities of all branches of the Russian Air Force.

The US does not have a base in the conflict zone. Its aircraft take off from airfields in Qatar, Kuwait, Turkey and the UAE as well as four aircraft carriers of the Fifth Fleet of the US Navy in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. At the same time, this allows for the US to use more aircraft than Russia.

During the operation, the US has deployed F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-15 Eagle jet fighters, both outperformed by the Russian Su-30. Advanced F-22 Raptor fifth-generation fighters have also been involved. This aircraft features a stealth design, supersonic cruise speeds, and super-maneuverability.

For strategic bombardments, the US has engaged B-1 Lancer strategic bombers, which have an operation range of 12,000 km without refueling. During the operation, Lancers have carried out over 5,000 sorties.

The Russian Air Force have also used the Su-25 ground attack jet. It outperforms the US A-10 Thunderbolt II in maneuverability and speed. It is more effective in areas where enemy air defenses are deployed but Daesh militants have no such weapons. The Su-25 is armed with the GSh-2-30 cannon, which, however, is outgunned by the A-10’s blazing Gatling gun.


The A-10 is heavier and less protected than the Su-25. But the Thunderbolt II boasts greater fire power, including Maverick anti-tanks missiles and the GAU-8 Avenger 30-mm seven-barrel automatic cannon. They are more effective against enemy personnel and equipment on the ground. A-10 jets have carried out over 7,000 sorties in the operation.

Naval Support

The aviation and air base in Syria is protected by a naval task force led by the Varyag missile cruiser. The unit also comprises the Dagestan missile, the Grad Sviyazhsk, Uglich and Veliky Ustyug small missile ships of the Caspian Flotilla as well as the B-237 Rostov-on-Don submarine of the Black Sea Fleet. Reconnaissance is carried out by the fleet’s equipment and by the Vasily Tatischev reconnaissance ship.


Russia has also launched ship-based cruise missiles against Daesh during the operation. In October 2015, warships of the Caspian Flotilla fired 26 Kalibr cruise missiles at 11 militant targets from a distance of over 1,500 km. A month later, another 18 missiles were launched against Daesh. The submarine also fired four missiles against Daesh targets. A total of 48 missile launches have been reported in the operation.

Two US aircraft carriers have fired 47 missiles during the operation. The USS George Bush and Carl Vinson alongside the Arleigh Burke destroyer and the Philippine Sea missile cruiser have provided for the take-off and landing of F/A-18F Super Hornet multirole jets in the conflict zone and launched Tomahawk cruise missiles at Daesh targets.

The Kalibr cruise missile is one of the newest and advanced Russian weapons. They entered service in 2005 and were never used in combat before the operation in Syria. In comparison to the Tomahawk, the Russian missile has a more powerful payload and increased range and accuracy.

However, in terms of missile launches in Syria, direct comparison between Russia and the US is not correct, Khodarenok pointed out.

“Until recently, Russia did not have non-nuclear means for coastal attacks. But having them in service makes the country a privileged military power,” he underscored.

At the same time, the Tomahawk launches cannot be considered notable since the missile has been used in combat for over 20 years.

Costs of War

According to the Pentagon, the US has spent nearly $11.4 million a day for their operations against Daesh in Syria and Iraq. The entire operation has cost $5.8 billion. As a comparison, the US spent $2.5 billion on the war in the Persian Gulf in 1991.

The Russian military has been able to conduct its operations at less of a cost. According to an RBK analysis, one day of the military operations in Syria costs Russia nearly $2.5 million, totaling $225-300 million for the entire operation so far.

There are several factors that make the US operation more costly than the Russian campaign. These are military bases remote from the conflict zone, F-22 Raptor expenditures (with a cost-per-flight-hour of $68,000), and Tomahawk launches from the Red Sea ($74 million).

At the same time, the US-led coalition has lost only one drone during the operation. It was shot down by Syrian government forces. In addition, one US soldier has been killed.
The Russian Air Force have lost a Su-24 bomber (it was shot down by a Turkish jet on November 24) and its pilot was shot dead from the ground while parachuting down. During a search-and-rescue operation a Russian marine was also killed. On January 26, a military training center in Homs came under mortar fire. A Russian military adviser was killed in the shelling.

Results of the Operation

There are two different ways the Russian Defense Ministry and the US-led coalition report on the results of their operation.

The Russian military emphasizes the number of destroyed targets and liberated areas. On January 15, Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff Sergei Rudskoy told journalists that 217 populated areas had been liberated during the operation or nearly 1,000 sq km of territory.

In turn, the US coalition usually publishes data on the number of destroyed militants. As for January 2016, over 22,000 Daesh terrorists were killed in northern Syria and Iraq.
Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry has not published information on the total number of terrorists killed.

At the same time, the Russian campaign has helped the Syrian Army and its allies launch a country-wide offensive against Daesh and al-Nusra Front militants. Government forces have already taken control over a number of strategic areas across the country.

According to a report by HIS Conflict Monitor, as for December 2015 Daesh’s “caliphate” has shrunk by 14 percent, mostly in northern Syria and Iraq.



Syrian Army’s Success Evidence of Effective
Cooperation With Russian Forces

The Syrian army’s latest successes in the counterterrorism fight are a testament to the effectiveness of its cooperation with the Russian Aerospace Forces, the governor of the Latakia province said Monday.

Last week, the Syrian army managed to cut off terrorists’ supply routes from Turkey in northern Aleppo. The troops, with support from the local militias, broke through the sieges in the towns of Nubl and Zahraa. Now the government army aims to gain control of the Syrian-Turkish border.

“These victories are evidence of good collaboration of the Syrian army and the group of the Russian Aerospace Forces. They show that our people are holding on to their land and will never allow it to be torn apart by terrorists,” Ibrahim Khodr Salem said in a speech addressing new volunteer recruits.

More than 500 new recruits gathered in central Latakia, having passed a basic training course. They are now awaiting deployment. According to Salem, this is the fifth set of volunteers.

Syria has been mired in a civil war since 2011, with the country’s government fighting against multiple opposition factions and extremist groups.

On September 30, 2015, Russia launched an aerial campaign against the Daesh terrorists in Syria at the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Daesh is outlawed and considered a terrorist group in Russia.

Submitted by SyrianPatriots 
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