Russian Rules of Engagement in Syria
by Stephen Lendman
Russia’s intervention last year changed the dynamic on the ground. It holds key trump cards, waging real war on terrorism effectively.
It determined rules of engagement – turning the tide in a protracted conflict government forces were losing, now with the upper hand.
Fort Russ quoted an unnamed senior joint operation Syria, Russia, Iran, Hezbollah command official, saying:
“Russia has established new rules of engagement on the Syrian-Turkish border, and has retained the upper hand for the Syrian air force and the Syrian army.”
“Russia also refurbished and upgraded custom made Syrian MiG29SMT (warplanes), to protect the Russian air force squadrons, with clear orders to shoot down Turkish planes that enter the Syrian air space.”
An earlier 1998 agreement between Syria’s former longtime leader Hafez al-Assad (Bashar’s father) prohibited government air force planes from flying within 15 km of Turkey’s border, as well as no ground forces deployed in this no-go territory, except for border control and military officer personnel.
According to the unnamed command official, “this has all gone down the drain…Turkey’s dream of creating a safe zone is dead in the water, and with it the supply lines (once entirely severed), to continue supporting ISIS and other terrorist groups.
Erdogan’s downing of a Russian warplane last November (supported by or complicit with Washington) was a major costly mistake, compounded by repeated provocations and hostile rhetoric.
Billions of dollars in trade were lost. Russia now has unchallenged Syrian aerial superiority. Erdogan-backed Syrian Turkmen were battered, ISIS and other terrorist groups hammered the same way.
Syrian military forces are reinvigorated, its warplanes upgraded by Russia. ZHUK-M radar can track 10 targets simultaneously, engage four together at any time – over a 120 km-long, 5 km wide territory.
Sophisticated radio jamming technology was installed. Precision-guided missiles and bombs can now be used. Syria’s MiG29-SMT is “the most advanced…fourth generation” warplane, according to the unnamed source.
Russia now conducts round-the-clock aerial patrols along border areas with Turkey to safeguard its aircraft and monitor any Ankara military activity.
It authorized upgraded Syrian warplanes “to engage with any Turkish targets…violat(ing) Syrian airspace or attempt(ing) violat(ions),” the source said.
Syria regained sovereignty over its border area with Turkey – lost in 1998, especially since Obama’s March 2011 aggression.
As of now, “Syrian air forces have a mandate to strike any violation,” the source said, fully supported by Russia, aided by its aerial strength, presence and commitment to continue combating terrorist groups.
The source cited media and intelligence reports, indicating “insurgents are turning on each other due to defeats” by Syrian and Russian forces.
Government troops are gaining strength, volunteer numbers increasing, morale greatly uplifted.
Russia aims to shut porous Syrian borders with Turkey and Jordan, severing terrorists’ supply lines, preventing reinforcements from reaching them, slowly degrading their ability to fight, committed to defeating them to a shadow of their earlier peak strength.
“(T)he Kremlin holds all the cards,” the source explained, “determined not to yield to the opposition anything…endanger(ing)” battlefield gains.
Collapsed Geneva III talks remain dead in the water whatever happens diplomatically going forward. Russia’s military campaign continues undaunted.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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