The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc)

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The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Philip » 01 Oct 2015 11:05

I think the need has come for a dedicated td for the Levant/Syrian crisis which has hotted up with the entrance of Russia. The ME/WAsia td. includes a vast area and regions outside the Levant.This td could be used for Syria,Israel,and countries of the Levant alone,with Iraq,SaudiA ,the Gulf,Yemen,Iran,etc. in the other one. In fact IS (Islamic State) actually call themselves ISIL,the L standing for "Levant".

Levant:A region on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea north of the Arabian Peninsula and south of Turkey, usually including the area of Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria.


http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/whi ... 74161.html
[quote]
While Russia launches airstrikes, Britain’s position on Syria remains an inglorious failure of diplomacy

So what next? We are not the movers of events, we are being moved by them. But there are, maybe, ways to wrest back some initiative
PADDY ASHDOWN |
Wednesday 30 September 2015

Russia is giving us a masterclass on the penalties of a foreign policy based only on high explosive. We are picking up the tragic human costs of war in Syria, but are now almost powerless to stop the conflict, or influence it in any way. Today, Russian planes opened fire against opponents of Assad, having granted the US just an hour’s notice of its intentions.

We may want Bashar al-Assad to go, but cannot make it happen. We may want Isis stopped, but two years of bombing have made little, if any, progress towards its defeat. We bluster in the UN, Washington and London about willing the ends, but we have nothing left but bombs to will the means. The levers to make things happen in Syria now lie in Moscow and Tehran – all we are left with is a bomb-release button at 30,000ft.

This is a diplomatic failure of inglorious proportions. Historic proportions, too, since the result will inevitably be another ratchet down in the West’s influence, already grievously diminished by our failures in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. One would have thought that we would have learnt the lessons of those defeats. But, still – sadly, stupidly – when the West sees a problem in the world its first instinct is to bomb it.

There are four reasons why we have landed in this baleful position in Syria.

We have forgotten the dictum of Clausewitz – war is the continuation of diplomacy by other means. We always remember the war, but forget the diplomacy. As we now see in Syria, war only makes sense within a diplomatic strategy – and we didn’t have one. Post “shock and awe” we tried to create order in Iraq by purely military means, failing to engage the neighbours and refusing to address the burning coal at the heart of the Middle East conflagration – Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territory. And so we lost. We did it again in Afghanistan, making enemies of the neighbours, instead of making them allies – and lost again. And in Libya we bombed our way to “victory” but forgot to create the regional coalition to bring order and reconstruction afterwards.

To choose only bombing again in Syria, without first getting Russia on board, was to invite folly being turned into humiliation. For Vladimir Putin, with a military presence on the ground, could always up our ante and leave us looking foolish. Which he just has and we now do.

Our obsession with military options and blindness to diplomatic ones, also led to a myopic failure to see that what we were dealing with was not a conflict in Syria, but a growing Sunni/Shia war in which Syria was just a front line. The danger was that the West and Russia would be drawn into a regional conflict, us on the side of the Sunni and they on the side of the Shia – which is exactly where we have now ended up – with all its terrifying implications.

The great Foreign Secretaries, Canning and Castlereagh, would have known what to do. They would immediately – I mean three years ago – have started building counterbalances with Tehran, Ankara and yes Moscow too (despite Ukraine). There would have been sacrifices of course: an earlier and perhaps less congenial deal with Tehran; an uncomfortable acceptance that, though we share no values with Russia we do share a common interest in Syrian peace and defeating Sunni jihadism too; and a deal with Turkey would have been tough, because of Kurdish separatism.

Of course, none of this would have been easy – but all of it could have led to an outcome where now, three years later, we would have influence in what is happening in Syria, rather than just planes flying over it.

To choose as our first purpose in Syria the removal of Assad was folly, since we had no means to make it happen. While Russia and Tehran backed Assad, bragging about removing him was never going to be more than empty words. If, as initially in Libya, we had made our aim humanitarian rather than regime change, then success in the first would have led to the second – as with Gaddafi. If in the end, as now, we would need Russian help, then demanding the removal of their only friend in the region betrays clumsiness and lack of strategic foresight in equal measure.

Finally, the moment that Isis moved into Syria, we should have realised that our game was up. We could either (perhaps) get rid of Isis or we could (perhaps) get rid of Assad. But we could not get rid of both simultaneously. We should have seen that choice two years ago instead of embarrassingly stumbling across it now. Then we could have had room for manoeuvre and perhaps a little leverage to extract concessions. Now, forced to choose with Russian fighters already attacking Isis positions in Syria, we have none.

So what next? We are not the movers of events, we are being moved by them. Our options are limited. But there are, maybe, ways to wrest back some initiative.

We should be holding Russia to account for Assad’s barrel bomb excesses. We will have, for the sake of our own face, to leave Assad’s future hanging in a fog of diplomatic ambiguity. But we could – and should – move fast and purposefully to anchor Russian offers of help with Isis within a wider formal coalition which brings in Tehran and Ankara.

British aircrafts joining the action over Syria as part of that wider coalition, might make better sense than it does now. In these more fluid diplomatic circumstances there could be a role for protection zones or, perhaps most interestingly – not a no-fly zone – but a no-bombing zone.

For three years the Syrian tragedy has remained stuck in a blood-soaked quagmire, as thousands have died and hundreds of thousands have fled in terror. Things are perhaps moving in Syria – though this confers little credit and no comfort on the West. There are diplomatic opportunities now and humanitarian ones too. We should not compound three years of failure, by failing to seize the moment, even if that moment is not of our making.
[quote]

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... -live.html
US and Russia to hold urgent talks after Russian air strikes in Syria 'target US-backed rebels', not Isil

Russia to US: 'We launch air strikes in one hour. Stay out the way'
Con Coughlin: Putin is calling the shots - Obama is sidelined

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Philip » 01 Oct 2015 12:13

8 ISIS targets hit during 20 combat flights in Syria – Russian military
Published time: 30 Sep, 2015
http://www.rt.com/news/317101-russia-is ... elligence/
Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer tactical bombers. © Vladimir Vyatkin

Russia has struck eight Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) targets in Syria, the country’s Defense Ministry said, adding that "civilian infrastructure" was avoided during the operations.

Russian anti-terror op in Syria
FOLLOW RT'S LIVE UPDATES ON SYRIA ANTI-TERROR OP

“Today, Russian aerospace force jets delivered pinpoint strikes on eight ISIS terror group targets in Syria. In total, 20 flights were made,” spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry, Igor Konashenkov, said.

“As a result, arms and fuel depots and military equipment were hit. ISIS coordination centers in the mountains were totally destroyed,” he added.

Konashenkov said that all the flights took place after air surveillance and careful verification of the data provided by the Syrian military. He stressed that Russian jets did not target any civilian infrastructure and avoided these territories.

“Russian jets did not use weapons on civilian infrastructure or in its vicinity,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the Russian military announced the start of air operations in Syria in order to help the goverment fight terrorist forces. Syrian state television named at least seven areas targeted by the air strikes.

They included areas around the cities of Homs and Hama, which are 44 kilometers apart, according to various media reports.

Moscow blasts ‘infowar’ following civilian deaths accusations

The statement by the Defense Ministry refuted earlier reports about civilian casualties that Russian air strikes allegedly led to.

Reuters reported that Russia targeted opposition rebel groups in Homs province instead of Islamic State forces. The agency cited Syrian opposition chief Khaled Khoja, who put the death toll of the bombardment at 36 civilians.

"Russia is intending not to fight ISIL [Islamic State], but to prolong the life of [Syrian President Bashar] Assad," Khoja said.

Similar claims were made by the BBC, Fox News, Al Jazeera and numerous other news outlets.

However, US Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, said that Pentagon can’t confirm these allegations, though NATO declared it was concerned by the reports that targets other than ISIS could have been hit.

READ MORE: Preemptive strike is how you fight terrorism – Putin on Syrian engagement

Moscow harshly criticized the reports, labeling them an information war.

“Russia didn’t even begin its operation against Islamic State… Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov didn’t even utter his first words at the UN Security Council, but numerous reports already emerged in the media that civilians are dying as a result of the Russian operation and that it’s aimed at democratic forces in the country (Syria),” Maria Zakharova, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, told media.

“It’s all an information attack, a war, of which we’ve heard so many times,” she adde
Zakharova also said that she was amazed by the scale and speed of what she called “info injections” into social networks such as “photos of alleged victims” that appeared on the web as soon as the Russian operation began.

“What can I say? We all know perfectly how such pictures are made,” she said, remembering a Hollywood flick ‘Wag the Dog,’ which described the US media reporting on a fake war in Albania.

The spokesman urged the media, including, Western outlets “to turn to top officials in the [Russian] Defense Ministry press service to obtain all required information" about the country’s operation in Syria.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Philip » 01 Oct 2015 13:20

One interesting factor that should be looked at by analysts is the speed with which the Russians have built up their air base/logistics,etc. in Syria,deployed dozens of aircraft and helos,all the way from Russia and have swung into action! This must also be viewed with the same speed with which Russia intervened in the Crimea after the overwhelming vote there to join the Russian fed. Russia is now the spearhead of intl. forces fighting ISIL and has pushed the US into the background.This will immensely help its international standing as more nations in recent times have felt let down by the US after following its asinine foreign policy. A good time for pro-US gung-ho mandarins in the MEA to know truly who walks the talk!

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/s ... n-analysis
Russia's Syria gambit could be a game changer – but only if it hastens transition
Air strikes against anti-Assad forces – not just Isis – bring the Damascus regime military support but Moscow’s political influence could be more important
Amateur footage appears to show Russian airstrikes hitting targets in the Syrian city of Homs on Wednesday.
Ian Black

Bombing by the Russian air force looks like a landmark event in the bloody four-and-half-year war in Syria.

In the space of just a few weeks Moscow has been making the weather on the crisis – by seizing the initiative where the US and others have vacillated and failed. Vladimir Putin has made a strong case for fighting Isis, though Wednesday’s airstrikes targeted other groups that are opposed to Bashar al-Assad.

The distinction matters because while the US and Arab states have taken military action against jihadis, no other country has used its own armed forces against other Syrian rebels. The partial exception is Iran, whose Revolutionary Guards advise the Syrian army and which has mobilised foreign Shia militias while keeping a low profile itself. Hezbollah, Tehran’s Lebanese proxy, fights openly with Assad.

Officials in Moscow suggested the planes bombing on Wednesday may have planned to strike Isis but in fact hit other groups, including one affiliated to the western-backed Free Syrian Army. Mistakes can happen: the US has also claimed to be targeting Isis and hit others, including civilians, so the Russians would not be alone in getting it wrong.

US accuses Russia of 'throwing gasoline on fire' of Syrian civil war

But reports from the scene suggested that the targeting was deliberate. Yet the detail may not matter. Unlike the US or Britain, Russia fully accepts the Syrian government’s view of the war. For Moscow, as for Tehran, there are only terrorists; they make no distinction between different armed groups, Islamist, jihadi or democratic. When Putin refers to the “rational” Syrian opposition, he means political opposition that is tolerated by the Assad regime.

And there is a clear expectation in Damascus that Moscow will do more to help Assad. Syrian military sources have been speaking in recent days of improved battlefield intelligence presumably obtained by Russian satellites or reconnaissance and predicting more direct involvement.

Russia and Iran are seen by the Syrian government as staunchly supportive allies. It was no coincidence that in a recent speech the Syrian president went out of his way to squash speculation that they had a gloomy assessment of his position after losing territory and admitting to suffering serious manpower shortages earlier this year.

Yet Russia’s direct military role may turn out to be fairly limited. Like the US and others it has made clear it will not put boots on the ground in Syria. Its air power is also less impressive than what the US led-coalition can deploy. And there are clear risks. “Anti-Assad forces of all stripes are equipped with relatively sophisticated anti-aircraft weaponry and could imperil the viability of the Russian mission by downing even a handful of aircraft,” commented Daragh McDowel of the Verisk Maplecroft risk consultancy.

The larger question is whether Moscow can use its influence in Damascus to persuade Assad to take any steps towards the political transition that so many Syrians and so many other countries insist is necessary to try to end the war. If it does not do that – and there is no guarantee that it will – the airstrikes seem certain to do nothing more than further escalate an already dangerous conflict.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Philip » 02 Oct 2015 03:11

Russia in Syria: CIA-backed 'moderate' rebels struck by fresh air-strikes as Iranian troops 'pour into conflict'

Russian Foreign Minister insists Moscow sees 'eye-to-eye' with US-led coalition in wanting to combat Isis militants
David usborne US Editor |
Thursday 1 October 2015

In this image made from video provided by Hadi Al-Abdallah, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, smoke rises after airstrikes in Kafr Nabel
In this image made from video provided by Hadi Al-Abdallah, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, smoke rises after airstrikes in Kafr Nabel AP

A military inferno is in the making in Syria after Russia unleashed bombing raids on what it said were “terrorist” targets but which, on early evidence, seemed to have included at least one CIA-backed rebel group – and as reports surfaced of Iranian troops pouring into the conflict.

In comments at the United Nations in New York, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, sought to play down the notion of an out-and-out confrontation with the United States in Syria, insisting that Moscow saw “eye-to-eye” with the US-led coalition in wanting only to combat Isis militants. But he declined to say that those targeted might include groups explicitly backed by the US.

Mr Lavrov pushed back aggressively at the allegation made by US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter that Moscow was “pouring gasoline on a fire”, implying that American discomfort with Russia’s actions was hypocritical.

“We know about many fires gasolined by the Pentagon in the region, and we believe that our position is absolutely in line with international law.”

We believe our position is absolutely in line with international law
Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister

Sources in Lebanon told the Reuters news agency that hundreds of Iranian troops have entered Syria to bolster the beleaguered armed forces of President Bashar al-Assad. If confirmed, the combination of that support from Iran and Russia risks not just strengthening Mr Assad’s grip on power but the conflict itself.

US officials corroborated the presence of Iranian soldiers but could offer no numbers.

US Army Colonel Steve Warren told reporters: “We know the Iranians are a part of this. We’ve known that since day one.”

In a statement, a Kremlin spokesman attempted to clarify matters, saying Russia’s intervention was “really to help the armed forces of Syria in their weak spots” as it combats extremists like Isis.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Russia is acting legally

Russian jets have primarily bombed across central and north-western Syria, areas of strategic importance to the Assad regime as it tries to protect its strongholds in Damascus and on the coast.

As if the military pyre in Syria were not already complicated and volatile enough, newly arriving Iranian troops, who reportedly began crossing into Syria 10 days ago, will probably also seek support from Mr Assad’s Lebanese Hezbollah allies and Shia militia fighters from Iraq. Thus, in just a few short days, a wide coalition including Iran and Russia has been forged to fight alongside Assad.

It is a situation so dangerous that it could force Washington and its allies, including Britain, to accept more publicly than they have so far that Mr Assad will remain at least part of the equation for some time as all sides seek to negotiate a political transition for the country. Although they will surely continue to insist, as they have done this week in New York, that in the end he must go and cannot stand for election again.

Mr Lavrov said Russia’s only goal is to ensure the destruction of Isis – a mission that the US-led coalition, he noted, has thus far failed to do – the al-Nusra front and “other groups”.

He added: “If it acts like a terrorist, if it walks like a terrorist and if it fights like a terrorist, it is a terrorist. Yes?” He made one distinction: Russia does not consider the Free Syrian Army to be terror group, he said.

But the leader of the CIA-backed Liwa Suqour al-Jabal rebel group, Hassan Haj Ali, told Reuters that Russian jets had rained around 20 missiles in two different sorties on its base in Idlib province. His fighters have received training from the CIA as part of the its largely discredited attempts to arm and encourage so-called moderate rebel groups opposed to Mr Assad.

Mr Lavrov also made no bones, however, about Moscow coordinating its attacks with the Assad forces, saying it is “recognised everywhere that air strikes alone would not resolve the problem” of Isis. He argued that Russia alone was acting legally because its actions were invited by the regime. He said Moscow had no plans to extend it anti-Isis strikes into Iraq, which had not invited Russia in.

However, the Iraqi Prime Minister, whose government recently signed an intelligence sharing treaty with Russia, Syria and Iran, has said that he would welcome Russian strikes against Isis within his country.

The week’s developments is growing into a full-blown political crisis for President Barack Obama, who until just a few weeks ago was focused solely on securing the nuclear deal with Iran, largely at the expense of handling the growing Syria crisis.

Republicans on Capitol Hill will not be persuaded by Moscow’s contention that it and the US-led coalition are on the same side.

“Their initial strikes were against the individuals and the groups that have been funded and trained by our CIA, in a credible flaunting of any kind of cooperation or effort to conceal what Putin’s priority is – and that is, of course, to prop up Bashar Assad,” Senator John McCain declared.

An urgent first priority of all involved was the so-called “deconflict” talks that began between leaders of the Russia and US military, to guard against accidental clashes between their pilots over Syrian skies.

Those talks were being held by video-conference between their capitals, officials said. They would start “very, very soon,” Mr Lavrov insisted.

Mr Lavrov ducked a question about the apparent arrival of Iranian troops in the arena but notably skipped the opportunity to deny that they were there.

The French air force also began operations in Syria this week.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 76051.html

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Philip » 02 Oct 2015 03:21

With the active backing of a superpower,Assad and his backers,the Hiz,Iran,etc.,are seizing the moment.In the background are the Chinese as well,supporters of both Syria and Iran,waiting in the wings for their entrance,"cameo" performance though it may be! China sending its naval elements earlier to the Meditt,was a hint at its goal of a wider global role.Watch this space.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/com ... 76036.html\
Russia in Syria: The West has limited options in dealing with Moscow's air strikes

The West may complain that some rebel groups are being attacked, but cannot complain about bombing al-Qaeda affiliates
Kim sengupta Diplomatic Editor |
Thursday 1 October 2015

The conflict in Syria has taken on a fierce momentum with Russia conducting a second day of air strikes and no longer even pretending that it is only attacking Isis. Vladimir Putin’s spokesman declared that other “well-known terrorist organisations” were being targeted.

Reports that Iranian troops, Hezbollah fighters and Assad regime forces had been arriving in the country in large numbers remain uncorroborated, but raise the spectre of even more vicious and widening strife.

The location of the raids carried out today is significant. Some of the targets hit were in Idlib province, most of which was recently captured by the rebels. The supposed movement of the forces of Bashar al-Assad and his allies towards the north has added to speculation that a ground offensive would follow the air strikes. Speaking at the UN in New York, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, refused to answer questions about the presence of Iranian and Hezbollah fighters, saying that he was not a military planner.

The places the Russians targeted also fell inside a projected 60-mile deep, 40-mile wide safety zone, free of the regime and Isis, which was due to be set up by Turkey and the US. Jisr al-Shugur, one of the areas repeatedly struck, is just 12 miles from the Turkish border.

Reports that Iranian troops, Hezbollah fighters and Assad forces had been arriving in large numbers raise the spectre of more vicious and widening strife

The zone was going to be one of the main planks of the strategy of the US and its allies in Syria; providing not only a location in which the rebels they support can be trained and armed, but also a place to hold the tens of thousands of refugees who have poured into Turkey.

The US-backed Liwa Suqour al-Jabal group was hit at its base in Idlib, according to its commander. But the main focus of the Russian attack was on Jaysh al-Fateh, or the Army of Conquest, which received more than 30 air strikes. That coalition of rebel militias, including the al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusra and an assortment of hardline Islamist groups, including Ahrar al-Sham, has been responsible for driving regime forces out of the Idlib area and for a rebel advance towards Latakia, the heartland of the Alawite community, from which Syria’s ruling elite is drawn.

The Army of Conquest has also been fighting Isis, and Turkish officials have admitted giving logistical and intelligence support to its command headquarters, although they deny giving direct help to al-Nusra itself. The Turks are also said to have favoured Ahrar al-Sham maintaining a presence in the safety zone.

Saudi Arabia, too, has been backing the Army of Conquest after previously fraught relations with Turkey over the support given to the Muslim Brotherhood by the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan began to be mended. Saudi officials are said to have offered the group lavish funds if it could ensure al-Nusra did not carry out terrorist attacks in the West.

Turkey had been relatively quiet earlier this week as the Russian plan for military action unfolded. But yesterday President Erdogan declared that his government will not allow “terror to take root” or a “fait accompli situation” next to the country’s frontier. Officials refused to elaborate on whether any likely confrontation would be with regime forces or Kurdish fighters.

Vladimir Putin is not only targeting Isis in Syria

One of the reasons Ankara had pressed for the safety zone was to prevent the PKK, the Kurdish militia in Turkey, and the YPG, its Syrian counterpart, establishing a presence in northern Syrian borderlands. In the chaotic aftermath of further Russian strikes and possible widespread ground conflict, it may now consider military operations inside Syria, something the Turkish army had been pressing for.

The Saudis had been holding regular talks with the Russians over Syria, which at one stage looked as if it could pave the way for a negotiated end to the conflict. But, like the West, Riyadh appears to have been caught by surprise by the launching of the Russian air attacks. Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said: “I visited Russia and a positive atmosphere prevailed just two months ago, but all of a sudden Russia has stepped up its military role and announced its political position backing Assad.”

Three years ago Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the then head of Saudi intelligence, allegedly threatened President Putin that Chechen Islamists would be activated to carry out attacks in Russia unless the Kremlin stopped its support for Assad, along with the carrot of lucrative trade deals if the Syrian President was ditched.

President Putin was said to have reacted furiously, warning of severe consequences. Prince Bandar was later moved from his role of organising rebel groups against the Syrian regime by the Saudi king, and officially the Saudis are now merely calling for Moscow to halt the strikes. Privately, however, more hawkish officials threaten to increase drastically the flow of arms to Islamist rebel groups.


For the West, outmanoeuvred by the Kremlin, options remain extremely limited. “Friendly” rebels may now retreat from Syria to Turkey, or join extremist groups. But the $500m Pentagon programme to produce a force of up to 5,000 has, in any case, been a disaster, producing fewer than 60 fighters.

If the Saudis actually try and carry out their threats of harming Russia,its time to start packing and get out of Riyadh.

A separate American trained group, the 30 Division, has handed its weapons to al-Nusra.

And, although the West may complain that some rebel groups are being attacked by the Russians, they can hardly complain about bombing of al-Qaeda affiliates.

That is exactly what the Americans did on the opening of their air war against Isis last year; launching a missile strike against the Khorasan, another al-Qaeda affiliate, in Aleppo. At the time the Pentagon, like the Kremlin now, described its target as dangerous terrorists.


PS:The arrogant Saudis,who fuelled by trillions of $$$ of oil wealth must be smoking the hubble-bubble to saturation to threaten Russia and Putin and imagine that they are a "world class" mil power,when they want others to do their dirty work for them like the US,Pakis,Egyptians,etc. After the Russian air attacks against the Saudi irregulars in Syria,I wonder whether the Egyptian buy of the French Mistrals (with Saudi money) will go through at all!

If the Saudis do try and harm Russia through sponsoring terrorism,then it may be time to start packing and planning moving out of Riyadh.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Philip » 02 Oct 2015 04:35

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... dates.html
Xcpt:
• Sources in Lebanon told Reuters that Iran, which is the main sponsor and tactical adviser to Hizbollah, was sending in hundreds of its own troops to reinforce them. Iran made no comment on the claims but Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman, said the move would be an "apt and powerful illustration" that Russia's military actions had worsened the conflict.

• A Hizbollah-backed advance would fit the pattern of Russian air-strikes, which have predominantly targeted those rebels not aligned to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant who currently present the gravest threat on the ground to core regime territory.

The long-term aim would be to defeat or demoralise the non-Isil opposition, so that Isil became the regime’s only enemy. That would force the West to back President Bashar al-Assad against it. “They want to clean the country of non-Isil rebels, and then the US will work with them as Isil will be the only enemy," the Damascus source said.


The Lavrov press conference continues. The Russian foreign minister dismissed ideas that Isil could be defeated if Assad was defeated.
"Isil will be defeated if only Assad disappears? For me, that is not serious. We have been demonising international leaders.
"Saddam Hussein, hanged - is Iraq safer? Gaddafi, murdered - is Libya a better place? Can we please try to draw lessons?"

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby habal » 02 Oct 2015 08:08

A middle-eastern military superpower warns Russia over intervening against ISIS in Syria.

Saudi Arabia threatens military action over Syria

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister has said that his country may consider military options in Syria to remove President Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad must leave office or face being pushed out by force, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said Tuesday, warning of stepped-up support for Syrian rebel groups. Jubeir rejected Russian calls for an international coalition to help Assad fight the self-styled "Islamic State" group (IS), and said the Syrian leader's best option would be to step down, now!.

Jubeir said that there were only two options for a settlement in Syria from a Saudi perspective.
"One option is a political process where there would be a transitional council," he said, describing this as the Saudi "preferred option."
"The other option is a military option, which also would end with the enforced removal of Bashar al-Assad from power. This could be a more lengthy process and a more destructive process, but the choice is entirely that of Bashar al-Assad," Jubeir warned.


http://www.dw.com/en/saudi-foreign-mini ... a-18750101

will this superpower now divert it's 'resources' from it's 'highly successful' Yemen battlefront to help ISIS ?

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Austin » 02 Oct 2015 10:19

^^ Isnt what the Saudis and GCC trying to do for past few years via different terror organisation to remove Assad from Power and the Syrian Army Fought Well against all odds.

Whats new about this threat ? Better to call off Saudi Bluff we all know how well their Armed forces fought in Yemen

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Singha » 02 Oct 2015 10:22

suppose russia gets really pissed with the saudis sends a few ships worth of kornets, RPG29, ammo and SRBMs to the houthis protected by a couple of gunboats and arranges for air cover over the docks while the cargo is shipped out.

what are the saudis going to do about it ? sink it ? it wont be simple as confiscating some smugglers dhow with a few missiles.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Singha » 02 Oct 2015 10:36

it seems kurds are now part of the joint-shia information center in baghdad. so one more fierce camel PKK+YPG inside the tent.

Lavrov: Russia is supplying weapons to the Kurds by the Iraqi Government
18:56 01/10/2015 (updated: 19:27 01/10/2015)

The representatives of the Kurds participate in the information center in Baghdad to combat "Islamic state", also said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Russian Foreign Ministry: US non-participation in the information center in Baghdad is not critical
United Nations, October 1 - RIA Novosti. Russia supplies weapons to the Kurds, who are struggling with the radical group "Islamic State", through the Government of Iraq and their representatives participate in the work of the information center in Baghdad, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
"We are supplying weapons to the Kurds by the Iraqi government, and information center, established in Baghdad, which includes representatives of the military in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Russia, the Kurds also represented there," - said the Russian minister at a press conference.


РИА Новости http://ria.ru/world/20151001/1294752952 ... z3nO6Ly3hJ

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Singha » 02 Oct 2015 10:38

a great writeup on the historical fault lines and current map of Yemen

http://www.ecfr.eu/mena/yemen?utm_sourc ... st%20Brief

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Singha » 02 Oct 2015 10:43

Houthis having diwali on yet another defeated saudi armed convoy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3H95Oni0GY

the M60 engine is still running and its wheels spinning. looks like the driver ran away so fast forgot to turn his keys off!

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Austin » 02 Oct 2015 10:47

Lets post the Military Information of Syrian Crisis here ?

Much Better and Close up FAB-500 series bomb on Su-24

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxbpGOaki2U

Su-34 started bombing , picture of Su-34 with KA-500SE series Glonass Guided Bomb

http://forum.keypublishing.com/attachme ... 1443722554

Video of Airbase shows Su-35 with Guided Bomb , Su-25 and Su-24

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eOqEjg1-CY

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Austin » 02 Oct 2015 10:53

PiBu has brief synopsis on Su-34 ,27 and Su-25 variants

http://www.harpia-publishing.com/galler ... index.html

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Austin » 02 Oct 2015 11:01

Check the latest RT video in link , shows Su-34

http://www.rt.com/news/317335-rt-exclus ... a-airbase/

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Austin » 02 Oct 2015 14:26

New Videos of Bombing this time by Su-34/25 using PGM's

http://www.rt.com/news/317351-russian-s ... eppo-isis/

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby A_Gupta » 02 Oct 2015 14:47

Retd. US Army Col. W.P. Lang:
http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semp ... ed-li.html

"So, who else could Russian jets be targeting? Ruth Sherlock writes:

Russia may have targeted Jaysh al-Fatah as they are the rebel group that poses the greatest threat to Latakia, the regime's heartland and location of the Russian controlled port of Tartous.

Some background on who this group are: Jaysh al-Fateh - the Army of Conquest - is a broad alliance of hardline Islamist groups, which includes both Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham.

In March this group captured Idlib, making it the second provincial capital to fall to the opposition since the start of the war.

Since then they have been effective in fighting the regime in Idlib and it looks like they may be able to push on government strongholds in central Syria and Latakia.

One interesting note - the Russians appear to have been watching this group for a long time: A year ago much of the Ahrar al-Sham leadership was wiped out by an explosion that took place where all the commanders had gathered. " Telegraph

---------------

"Jaysh al-Fateh - the Army of Conquest - is a broad alliance of hardline Islamist groups, which includes both Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham."

What part of that sentence in bold above is difficult to understand? ALL THE JIHADIS ARE ENEMIES, not just IS. ALL OF THEM.

If Jabhat al Fath, captures Latakia, is it not as much lost to modernity as it would be if IS captured the town?

Madmen like McCain and various empty headed retired generals are busy on the media pushing the US public toward war with Russia. What is the matter with these people?

ALL JIHADIS ARE THE ENEMY, NOT JUST IS. pl

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby jagga » 02 Oct 2015 15:04

Just listing few of the comments up voted in thousands. Seems like influx of all the refugees in Europe has brought mango janta to their senses now.
Putin signs decree drafting 150,000 conscripts into the Russian military… as Iran and Hezbollah prepare major ground offensive in Syria with air support from Moscow's bombers
The award for biggest mismanaged conflict goes to America! Well done Putin Britain is behind you.

No targets where IS are positioned? So, if the Americans know where IS are, why haven't they already blown them to oblivion? Obama is an idiot

There are NO moderate rebel groups ....all the groups fighting Asad are either ISIS or offshoots of al qaeda or other extreme i s l a m i s t militias …Putin and Russia are doing the world a favour in blasting these fanatics to pieces.

So the US now "insists" on holding talks with Russia which is what Russia has been politely asking for months!!!! Spin, twisting the truth, and back-tracking. We just don't believe a word the US and UK UN delegation say any more!

Oh no Britain and America are not happy with Putin oh boo hoo what you going to do give him a 'look' next time you see him. Pathetic western leaders. Stop spending my tax money on rubbish.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby UlanBatori » 02 Oct 2015 15:53

Interesting to hear of Russian official help to the Kurds. Remember - Kurds are in Iraq, Syria **AND TURKEY***
Finally some real help against the ISIS. Yes, some training to the Houthis is desperately needed to turn those captured tanks around and use their guns and missiles.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Singha » 02 Oct 2015 17:05

is FOX news so take it with a bucket of salt.

they claim Soleimani had a secret trip to Kremlin July to meet the big P himself and lay the plan which is now in full operation.

====

whether it was co-ordinated with iran or not, preparations for the expeditionary deployment would have needed to start 2 months ago to generate a smooth workflow now.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Singha » 02 Oct 2015 17:16

turkish army assaults kurdish city of silvan in anatolia. kills 17 PKK people

http://www.rt.com/news/317341-turkish-a ... ce-silvan/

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby manju » 02 Oct 2015 18:29

looks like people are still posting west asia thread..

BRadmins... you may want to consider including (ISIL, ISIS..) into the title of this thread...

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby habal » 02 Oct 2015 18:32

Middle-east consists of Sham and Mashriqi ME. Mashriq is KSA, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Yemen.

Sham is Syria, Leb, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco,

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Singha » 02 Oct 2015 19:31

please post Yemen related news in the other thread and Syria news in this thread.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Singha » 02 Oct 2015 19:52

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/ru ... story.html

key points
- russia has struck near Raqqa - its first set of missions against the ISIS heartland
- moderate rebels are asking the west for MANPADS to defend themselves.
- The latest strikes came as Russian media reported that Moscow has readied additional sea power in the eastern Mediterranean to protect the skies over its air base in the Syrian port city of Latakia.
The Russian Interfax news service, which has close ties to the government, said the missile cruiser “Moskva” and an unspecified force of other ships in the region would begin military drills to prepare for a possible aerial attack.

The Islamic State, as well as the other rebel groups fighting in Syria, are not known to have any air power, but U.S. warplanes regularly fly over the country attacking Islamic State targets. The Israeli air force also makes occasional bombing raids against pro-government targets.

Western and Russian military analysts believe that the jet fighters and antiaircraft weapons the Russians have positioned in Syria would be used to protect the base from an attack by the U.S.-led coalition, or to close the airspace in the region if the Russian government chose to do so.
- Russia has urged the United States to join an intelligence-sharing center with Syria, Iran and Iraq that was announced last week to deep surprise in the United States.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby rgosain » 02 Oct 2015 23:11

This is a nuclear flashpoint by any definition
One of the factors behind the creation of the the US RDF which later evolved into US CENTCOM was the real fear of a soviet push into Iran in the 70s/80 which at that period was ruled by the Shah who was allied to the west. From positions in Northern Iran or Iraq, Soviet forces would have been able to wrest control of the oil fields and control a number of strategic highways across the levant some dating back to Alexander's time. From these bridgeheads, they would have been able to roll into Eastern Saudi Arabia within a few days.

So 25 years after the fall of the soviet union, and a decade after the demise of the Saddam, it looks as if a large Russian force is building up in Iraq at the request of the Iraqi and Kurdish authorities. Next week if the UNSC votes in favour of the Russian resolution, with minor amendments, it will allow the Russians to continue their campaign across the region known Sryie Util striking at those who are not allied to it, while, the US will have to deal with ISIL in Iraq. If as seems likely, the US, France and UK vetoes the Lavrov proposal, the ground is set for the Iraqis and kurds to invite the Russians to commence operations in areas where the Kurds are located. Where this leaves people like the Jordanian monarchy and the Turks is anyone's guess.

India is in a position of being able to ask the UN for a ceasefire in a few weeks time if the russians are able to stabilise the Western portion of Syria where the main ports and highways are located. More importantly the GOI could consider leading a stabilisation force under a UN mandate for this region. What is the quid pro quo. One of France or the UK will have to lose their UNSC seats !!

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Kati » 02 Oct 2015 23:34

... and guess what, RT is getting way more hits than CNN.
It would be nice to see if RT can steer the ad money away from CNN.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby member_29001 » 02 Oct 2015 23:35

Russian Orthodox Church supports air strikes in Syria:
https://www.rt.com/politics/317045-war-on-terror-is-sacred/

Russian may want to take Constantinople with help from Kurds.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby UlanBatori » 03 Oct 2015 00:28

Kati wrote:... and guess what, RT is getting way more hits than CNN.
It would be nice to see if RT can steer the ad money away from CNN.


CNN is trying to emulate Yahoo! and fill their pages with ad+virus-filled videos of "Ah -8-mah-baby" type stuff, while RT has cool Su-30s flying around while Su-24s pound Islamic terrorists. Target videocams showing infrared flashes blooming, and smoke plumes rising to 20,000 feet from pulverized ITs (I mean Moderate Pro-US ISIS aka OBIT). Which would you want to watch? :mrgreen:

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Singha » 03 Oct 2015 06:18

jordan did launch a flurry of strikes on ISIS after their pilot was burned alive in a iron cage. but since then have gone into a shell and not launching any ops now, just trying to keep a very low profile and avoid attention of all the others swarming around.

if ISIS can survive, jordan would be next on their kill-list.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Singha » 03 Oct 2015 06:42

rt.com

The International Information Center in Baghdad is collecting intelligence information on Islamic State activities in both Iraq and Syria, Lieutenant-General, Sergey Kuralenko, representative of the Russian Defence Ministry in Baghdad told RT.

“Its main task is to collect, compile, process and analyze the current inflow of information about the situation in the Middle East within the context of fighting the Islamic State,” Kuralenko said.

Once the information is processed it is quickly shared with command centers in Russia, Iran, Iraq and Syria. The Lieutenant-General stressed that all four parties taking part share “equal rights” and “equal access” to information. The information collected, Kuralenko says, is designed to “improve the precision and effectiveness of strikes.”

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Singha » 03 Oct 2015 08:28

cnn

Senior defense officials from Israel and Russia are scheduled to meet Tuesday in Tel Aviv to address the coordination between the two militaries in the region, the Israel Defense Forces said Thursday.

Next week's meetings will be part of a two-day visit by a Russian military delegation, according to the IDF.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Austin » 03 Oct 2015 08:42

Singha wrote:rt.com

The International Information Center in Baghdad is collecting intelligence information on Islamic State activities in both Iraq and Syria, Lieutenant-General, Sergey Kuralenko, representative of the Russian Defence Ministry in Baghdad told RT.

“Its main task is to collect, compile, process and analyze the current inflow of information about the situation in the Middle East within the context of fighting the Islamic State,” Kuralenko said.

Once the information is processed it is quickly shared with command centers in Russia, Iran, Iraq and Syria. The Lieutenant-General stressed that all four parties taking part share “equal rights” and “equal access” to information. The information collected, Kuralenko says, is designed to “improve the precision and effectiveness of strikes.”


The bolded part is very interesting , As countries tend to hold information specially the bigger ones in the game.

Seems like Iran , Syria and Iraq is in the game for this strike , also countries most affected by GCC IS.

Most amusing comment I keep hearing is Russia strike is strengthening IS , Well after 1 years of GCC/US bombing on IS they dont seem weakened any ways , so how does 2 days of Russian strike will strengthen it :lol:

I wont be surprised if Iraq invites Russia for IS strike inside Iraq.....indeed Iraq PM has hinted at it

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Austin » 03 Oct 2015 08:44

Su-25 strikes


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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Austin » 03 Oct 2015 10:04

Image
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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,Syria,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Austin » 03 Oct 2015 10:05

Kati wrote:... and guess what, RT is getting way more hits than CNN.
It would be nice to see if RT can steer the ad money away from CNN.


I dont see RT uses commercial like CNN or BBC , so they dont have advert revenue.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Singha » 03 Oct 2015 10:31

Impact fused old school bombs with little propeller in back.
After impact when prop stops turning it explodes.

Ijn took put pearl harbour with such bombs!!

I don't think we have any such bombs except maybe for mig27

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Singha » 03 Oct 2015 10:34

One of the spetsnaz seems like wearing a afghan style cap.

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Austin » 03 Oct 2015 10:55

Singha wrote:Impact fused old school bombs with little propeller in back.
After impact when prop stops turning it explodes.

Ijn took put pearl harbour with such bombs!!

I don't think we have any such bombs except maybe for mig27


A bomb accuracy is as good as the aircraft drops it and the target it is supposed to take out.

Most modern aircraft with INS/GPS/Glonass can drop a dumb bomb with CEP of 5-10 meters , The Su-25 and 24 are the modernised the latter upgrade is called Gefest , You can just google for it

https://rostechnologiesblog.wordpress.c ... -accuracy/

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Re: The Levant crisis.(Israel,SYRIA,Lebanon,etc)

Postby Philip » 03 Oct 2015 11:03

Tx guys for the excellent td support.Great pics,Keep it hot!

While Russia take out an ISIL bomb factory in Syria,the US take out a NATO hospital in Af.! 3 Medecin Sans Frontieres staff killed.

http://www.rt.com/news/317450-russia-sy ... r-strikes/6 Russian air strikes destroy ISIS bomb factory, command centers – Defense Ministry
Published time: 2 Oct, 2015

Technicians service Russian Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback strike fighters at Syria's Hmeimim airport. © Dmitriy Vinogradov / RIA Novosti

Russian jets have performed 14 combats flights, conducting six pinpoint airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on Friday, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry.

Russian anti-terror op in Syria
“During the day, the Russian aviation group continued conducting pinpoint airstrikes against the infrastructure of the IS group in Syria,” Defense Ministry spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, said.

“Su-34, Su-24-M and Su-25 planes performed 14 flights from Hmaimim air base, during which six airstrikes against IS targets were conducted,” he added.

In the town of Maarrat Al-Nuuman in Idlib province, an Su-25 attack aircraft completely brought down a large terrorist workshop, which was producing bombs and improvised explosive devices.

A nearby IS base, hosting weaponry and military vehicles was also targeted, with ten pieces of military hardware, including several APCs, was eliminated, the ministry said.

A terrorist command center was destroyed by Su-24-M and Su-25 attack aircrafts near the town of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib province.

In the Al-Latamna district of Hama Governorate, guided air bombs delivered from Su-34 bombers blew up a militant’s underground HQ, the Defense Ministry said.

Su-25 aircraft also targeted two bunkers in the same area which had been hosting Islamic State command centers and arm depots. According to the ministry, munitions at one of the depots detonated and caused a total destruction of the bunkers.

“The targeting accuracy of the Russian air grouping in Syria was achieved by the usage of aircraft within the reconnaissance-strike complex,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

On Thursday, the Defense Ministry had to address concerns sounded by the Western politicians and media that Russian bombardment actually targeted democratic Syrian opposition forces, instead of IS, and led to civilian casualties.

READ MORE: RT EXCLUSIVE: First look at Russian airbase in Latakia, centerpiece of anti-ISIS operations (VIDEO)

The ministry stressed that it’s after IS in Syria, adding that all airstrikes are based on accurate intelligence data and take place away from residential areas.

Russian aviation has been carrying out airstrikes against Islamic State and other terrorist groups in Syria since Wednesday.

READ MORE: Sukhoi warplanes used by Russia in Syria anti-terror op (PHOTOS)

The operation performed at the request of Syrian President, Bashar Assad, is designed to provide air support to the government troops, which is struggling to contain the spread of jihadist militants in the war-torn country.

As he was explaining Moscow’s decision to get involved in Syria, Vladimir Putin said that radicals from many countries, including Russia, have flocked to Iraq and Syria to join the terrorist group. They must be defeated so that they do not return home with battle experience and ideology adopted in the war zone, the Russian president stressed.


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 77216.html

The Russian Defence Ministry said today that the the latest wave of attacks targeted only Isis and destroyed a command post near Daret Azzeh, in Aleppo, and wiped out bunkers and weapons stores near Maaret al-Numan in Idlib.

The jets appeared to be primarily bombing central and north-western Syria, which are particularly strategic for President Assad’s regime, lying along major motorways linking government strongholds from Damascus to the coast.

Alexei Pushkov, the head of a Russian parliament foreign affairs committee, told French media that air strikes would intensify but that the operation would end as soon as possible.

“There is always a risk of being bogged down but in Moscow, we are talking about an operation of three to four months,” he added.


Pity about the mistake in Af.,in war mistakes happen,but hitting a hospital?
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/o ... al-bombing


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