Russia Carries Out Large Scale Operation in Syria

  • Russia destroyed terrorist training camps.
  • It is the first time Iskander-M was used.
  • Russia and Turkey are in discussions for Turkey to leave Syria.

Russia conducted one of its most powerful attacks on the terrorists in Syria. The Russian military destroyed facilities where foreign private military contractors were training militants. At the same time, it is reported that the Iskander-M complex was used against them for the first time.

The 9K720 Iskander (NATO reporting name SS-26 Stone) is a mobile short-range ballistic missile system produced and deployed by the Russian Federation. The missile systems are to replace the obsolete OTR-21 Tochka systems, still in use by the Russian armed forces, by 2020.

This may indicate the preparation of a major offensive by the Syrians on the positions of Turkey. It should be noted that the Iskander-M allows time spent by the launcher at the launch position to be completed within 20 minutes, while the interval between launches of the 1st and 2nd missiles is no more than one minute.

Missile launches do not require specially prepared engineering and topogeodesic starting positions, which may lead to their disclosure by the enemy. Launches can be carried out from the so-called “ready on the March,” i.e., the launcher drives to any site.

Syria has been a testing ground for the new Russian defense equipment. The first time Iskander-M was observed in Syria was in 2017, but this is the first full combat operation that Iskander-M is involved in.

According to a military source on the Telegram channel “Voenkory Russkoy Vesna,” in addition to the Iskander-M tactical complex, su-34 and su-24M bombers were involved in the Russian attack.

The main target of the strikes was the training camp of the terrorist group “Hayat Tahrir al-sham.” This group is banned in Russia, which was located on an area of more than 90 hectares near the city of Maarat Misrin. There were over 300 jihadists in training.

There is an allegation they were trained by private military companies, and some are from Turkey. However, the latter information has not been verified. The total number of terrorists killed in the strike is currently being clarified, but in general, the attack is called the largest since at least March.

The Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War began in September 2015, after an official request by the Syrian government for military aid against rebel groups. At the end of December 2017, the Russian government said its troops would be deployed to Syria permanently.

The mentioned Telegram channel is considered close to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. Previously, there were repeatedly released exclusive photos and videos about the activities of the military department.

It is highly likely that this large scale operation was carried out in the name of the Russian general who was murdered in Syria over this summer. The other two members of the Russian military were transported to Russia, but succumbed to their injuries.

Furthermore, there are discussions between Russia and Turkey for the latter to leave Syria. Thus far, there hasn’t been a resolution reached, but Russia is confident that it can be reached by the end of this year.

At the same time, Turkey has been strengthening its position in the Mediterranean.  However, this escalated tensions with the EU. At present, Turkey has not gained any strongholds. It is virtually impossible for Turkey to win against the Kremlin’s geopolitical interests.

Overall, Russia will continue its presence in Syria. The Kremlin supports Syrian President Bashar Assad, and has been providing aid to Syria. The region has been experiencing an atrocious situation for some time. Hopefully, the situation will improve in the near future.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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