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Solitudinem fecerunt,
pacem appelunt

Publius Gaius Cornelius Tacitus

Syria - Russian Intervention

The outgoing head of the CIA appeared to confirm April 12, 2018 reports that around 200 Russian mercenaries were killed in February during a clash with US-led forces in Syria. In Syria, a handful of weeks ago, the Russians met their match and a couple hundred Russians were killed, Mike Pompeo said, during a Senate hearing on his nomination to become US secretary of state.

Media reports about alleged dozens or hundreds killed Russian military servicemen in Syria are classic disinformation that was launched by anti-government militants, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated 15 February 2018 . Earlier this week, media reports claimed that a recent US airstrike in Syria left Russian servicemen dead, putting the figures anywhere from dozens to several hundred. Those reports stemmed from anti-government fighters in Syria, who spread them accompanied by doctored images, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at her weekly news conference.

The reports on the deaths of dozens, hundreds, of Russians is classic disinformation, Zakharova said. Preliminary data shows the armed confrontation, the reasons of which are currently being investigated, could have resulted in deaths of five people, presumably Russian citizens, the spokeswoman said, adding that their citizenship still needs to be checked.

On 11 December 2017 President Vladimir Putin instructed the [partial] withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria. Before Russia launched its air campaign in Syria, 50 percent of the personnel in Assad's army had "run off" and 60 percent of its armored vehicles had been destroyed. Russia was at war, making its biggest move in the Middle East, hitherto Americas domain, since the Soviet Union was evicted in the 1970s. And, unlike in eastern Ukraine, there's nothing to hide. This time, there's no reason to make a secret of what the military was doing.

Anti-Assad rebel commanders estimated that 80 percent of the ground forces the Assad regime deployed since the Russian bombing campaign was launched in September 2015 did not consist of Syrians but were made up of Hezbollah and Iranian fighters along with Shiite volunteers from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In July 2015, the commander of Iran's elite Quds force, Qassem Soleimani, visited Moscow, after which Russia entered the Syrian war. Russia then moved towards working with the Obama administration as co-partners in developing ceasefires, an International Support Group for Syria, and a United Nations-led Geneva process. The cooperation with the US did not work; however, Russia achieved its goal of appearing an equal to the US globally. The US entered that game without a policy on Syria, nor any weight on the ground. Former US Secretary of State John Kerry's words and techniques were no match for the Russian investment of hardware, and he effectively played into Russia's process.

On the eve of the arrival of the first Russian aircraft, support personnel, military advisors, and military equipment to Syria, by all accounts, Syrian government forces were in retreat on all fronts, being pushed back in Raqqa, Aleppo, Hama, Idlib, and Latakia provinces. The Islamic State, the Jabhat al-Nusra, the so-called Free Syrian Army, and many other smaller rebel formations were conquering towns and military bases, with their advance triggering a flood of refugees into Turkey, Jordan, and other countries. Syria stood practically alone, with some Iranian assistance for sure, against a seemingly motley group of rebel formations which, however, enjoyed generous financial, military, and even operational support by several outside powers, including the United States, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, with Jordan and Israel maintaining a state of benevolent neutrality toward the rebels. In September of 2015, the days of the Assad government seemed numbered.

In September of 2016, virtually nobody expected the Assad government to fall. Even the US Secretary of State John Kerry, in conversations with Syrian opposition which were made available to US media, acknowledged that the anti-Syrian coalition has been outmaneuvered to the point that the long-standing US/NATO/EU mantra of Assad must go has become obsolete. To the extent that nearly everyone recognizes that the world is now multipolar, Russias effective use of military power in Syria is the single most important factor behind that shift.

The jihadists and wild geeze werent the most dangerous foes faced by Syria. The Russian military had to minimize the prospect of a direct NATO military operation against the Syrian military and government that, as in the case of Libya, would have been spearheaded by US airpower. The goal of conventional deterrence against both air and land NATO incursions was achieved, though only after the loss of one Su-24 bomber, treacherously shot down over Syria by Turkish fighters, by the deployment of advanced S-400 air defense systems, Su-35 fighters, and Iskander-M tactical ballistic missiles, and the demonstration of the power of Russias air- and sea-launched cruise missiles which would have struck US air bases throughout the Middle East in the event of any escalation.

There was talk in the West that Russia played a prominent role in instigating the migrant crisis. For example, Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rivas claimed that Moscow bombs "Syrian hospitals and other civilian facilities" instead of Daesh militants in order to trigger a new flood of refugees to Europe. Some Western media outlets also adhere to this point of view.

Mercenaries from the private military company ChVK Wagner, for example, are fighting and dying in Syria, but this is actually a body founded at the initiative of the government, funded by the government, and directed by the government -- and yet technically presented as a wholly independent, commercial group. Not least, that helps keep the "official" body count down -- although reportedly casualties suffered by Wagner's men were in the dozens.

Anyone watching Russian TV might be shocked by the kind of war reporting that was unseen during the Ukraine conflict. There were constant reports from various command centers, and officers and generals giving brisk reports of their military successes directly from the Defense Ministry. In euphoric tones, reporters inform viewers about where bombs have hit in Syria. Public opinion in Putins Russia had become almost pathologically susceptible to manipulation, swinging literally overnight from mad obsession with Ukraine to equally insane interest in the Syrian civil war.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem thanked Russia for its "effective participation in the support of the Syrian efforts in combating terrorism." He told the UN General Assembly that Moscow's bombing campaign was based on his government's request. US president Barack Obama rejected Russia's military action in Syria as a dead-end strategy. President Obama said Moscow risked becoming 'stuck in a quagmire' and strengthening the 'Islamic State' (IS).

Russia wanted to first achieve a ceasefire, or, as some say, a "frozen conflict" in Syria, and Turkey is the key to getting armed opposition groups to agree. This is the logic that justifies the cooperation between the two. Iran was not fully happy with the Russian-Turkish approach, as it wanted a clearer and firmer victory for Assad.

A new round of confrontation between Russia and the US began because of the chemical attack by the Syrian regime. On the evening of April 6, the Syrian troops launched an operation to free the city of the Duma from the militants of the city - the last settlement beyond the control of the forces of President Bashar Assad in East Guta. The rebels reported that the regime dumped a bleach bomb in the Syrian city of Dumas on April 7. According to observers, more than 40 people were killed because of an attack by an unknown substance. According to the World Health Organization, about 500 people are hospitalized with "symptoms similar to chemical poisoning." The Ministry of Defense of Russia denied the information about the chemical attack by the government forces of Syria against the rebels in the city of the Duma. The statement on this issue was made by the head of the Russian Center for reconciliation of warring parties in Syria, Major-General Yuri Yevtushenko.

In an interview with the controlled Hezbollah TV channel, Alexander Zasypkin said that Moscow could not only destroy missiles but also strike at "targets used to launch missiles" - in the case of the United States it is the destroyers used to launch the Tomahawk cruise missiles ". It does not say who authorized Zasypkin to such statements.

The Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation notes that "the use of armed forces, other troops and bodies in peacetime is carried out by decision of the President of the Russian Federation in accordance with the procedure established by federal law." "At the same time, the use of the armed forces, other troops and bodies is carried out resolutely, purposefully and comprehensively on the basis of an advance and continuous analysis of the developing military-political and military-strategic situation," the document says.

On 10 April 1027UTC the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL) issued a Rapid Alert Notification for Eastern Mediterranean / Nicosia FIR area stating that: "Due to the possible launch of air strikes into Syria with air-to-ground and / or cruise missiles within the next 72 hours, and the possibility of intermittent disruption of radio navigation equipment, due consideration needs to be taken when planning flight operations in the Eastern Mediterranean / Nicosia FIR area. Aircraft operators are invited to check any relevant NOTAMs."

The Russian Navy is going to launch missile launches from the Mediterranean Sea, a source said with reference to the international notification for aviation personnel (NOTAM). April 11, the agency Interfax reported on the upcoming exercises of the Russian Navy near the coast of Syria. The international notification for aviation personnel (NOTAM) and navigational warning for seafarers indicated that the area will be closed 11-12, 17-19 and 25-26 April from 10 to 18 MSK due to training firing.

After the beginning of the operation in September 2015, the Russian military department did not disclose the number of military personnel participating in them. Journalists had to calculate by indirect signs - for example, by awards. In March 2016, the media drew attention to the fact that the Ministry of Defense of Russia announced a tender for the purchase of more than 10,000 medals to the Participant of the military operation in Syria. In February 2017, an order for 20,000 such awards was placed on the site of state procurement. In December 2017, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu officially announced for the first time that "more than 48,000 servicemen of the Russian army received invaluable combat experience in Syria."

Shoigu spoke about this at the final board of the Ministry of Defense, where he reported to President Vladimir Putin on the implementation of his decision to withdraw the bulk of Russian troops from Syria. Putin ordered the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria on December 11 during a visit to the Russian airbase Khemeymim. Now, eight months later, the Ministry of Defense has sharply raised the estimate of the military contingent in the country where civil war has been going on since March 2011.

These and other data are published on the official ministry channel in YouTube under the title "Military Operations of the RF Armed Forces in the Syrian Arab Republic - the results in figures".

  • The operation involved 63,012 Russian military personnel, including 25,738 officers;
  • 434 generals took part in the operation in Syria;
  • 91% of the army, 97% of the military transport and 60% of the strategic aviation of Russia passed through Syria;
  • "All commanders of military districts passed through the grouping with the collectives of their staffs," they declare to the Russian Ministry of Defense;
  • During the operation, 231 samples of weapons were tested;
  • aviation carried out more than 39 thousand sorties;
  • ships and submarines inflicted 100 blows with cruise missiles "Caliber";
  • the forces of the Navy carried out 189 military campaigns, in which 86 ships and 14 submarines took part;
  • strategic long-range aircraft were attacked 66 times by air-launched cruise missiles;
  • As a result of Russia's attacks, as the Russian Defense Ministry says, more than 86,000 militants and 830 of their leaders have been killed.

According to official publications of the Russian Defense Ministry and representatives of Russian regional authorities, during the military operation in Syria, which began on September 30, 2015, as a result of the fighting, by 29 May 2018 at least 43 Russian servicemen were killed (including those killed during the battle, reported on May 27). In addition, non-combat casualties were recorded - 50 servicemen. Of the non-combat losses, 49 are aviation accidents, another was a suicide.

A US airstrike in February 2018 reportedly killed at least 100 Russian mercenaries after a surprise assault on a US-held base in the province. Russian media has reported that thousands of Russians under contract to the Wagner group also have fought in Syria since 2015, helping turn the tide of battle there in favor of President Bashar Assad, Moscow's longtime ally.




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