Russia Ramping Up Its Aerial Campaign in Syria
by Stephen Lendman
In March, Russia withdrew the “main part” of its warplanes and ground support personnel from Syria - a strategic error, US-supported terrorists taking full advantage to regroup, rearm and mobilize for more attacks.
At the time, Putin said “I think that the tasks set (by) the defense ministry are generally fulfilled…With the participation of Russia’s military, Syrian troops and patriotic forces…turn(ed) the tide in the fight against international terrorism and took the initiative on practically all directions.”
His remarks proved premature, recognized when Russia’s aerial campaign began intensifying - to be supplemented later this month when its Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier arrives in Mediterranean waters near Syria’s coast, its warplanes and attack helicopters intended for airstrikes on terrorist targets.
On September 30, Izvestia reported “Russia increas(ing the number of formations at (its Khmeimin airbase) of…additional front-line (Su-24 and Su-34) bombers…” along with Su-25 ground attack aircraft.
“(B)uildup…comes amid threats by Americans” to escalate operations in Syria - including greater numbers of airstrikes, more special forces and increased aid for terrorist fighters.
Ceasefire collapsed. Russia is preparing for what’s coming. Izvestia cited military analyst Anton Lavrov, saying “Su-25 attack planes will significantly increase the number of (Russian) combat missions in Syria…”
Foreign and Defense Policy Council chairman Fyodor Lukyanov said Moscow’s buildup followed stalled peace talks. Perhaps it intends resurrecting its initial strike-force strength before substantially withdrawing it last March.
The best way to get Washington’s attention is by routing terrorist fighters it supports, letting Syrian ground forces retake more earlier lost territory, especially all Aleppo areas still controlled by US proxies.
Weeks earlier, Russia’s ambassador to Iran said his country’s Aerospace Forces may resume operations against terrorists in Syria from Tehran’s Hamedan airbase - after using the facility briefly in August.
On October 1, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zahharova warned Washington about any plans for “direct aggression” on Damascus and Syrian armed forces, saying it could inflame the entire region.
She minced no words, stressing “so-called moderates (are) in reality not moderate at all, but just terrorists of all flavors…”
She failed to explain why her boss, Sergey Lavrov, continues distinguishing between nonexistent moderates and terrorists when they’re all the same.
A Final Comment
A previous article called John Kerry a diplomat in name only, in reality a closet hawk, pushing things toward unthinkable war on Russia when Hillary succeeds Obama next year, most likely as things now stand.
On Friday, The New York Times discussed his audio tape, showing he favors US war on Syria, not diplomatic conflict resolution.
Taped on the sidelines of the UN’s 71st General Assembly session, he said he “lost the argument” for US “use of force” to oust Assad.
Publicly his rhetoric is diplomatic, claiming to favor resolving Syria’s conflict politically. His private comments, not meant for public airing, show where he really stands - militantly hawkish like Hillary.
He lied claiming “the Russians don’t care about international law, and we do.” Truth is polar opposite.
His only sensible comment was saying “you get…enforcers in there and then everybody ups the ante, right? Russia puts in more, Iran puts in more; Hezbollah is there more and Nusra is more; and Saudi Arabia and Turkey put all their surrogate money in, and you all are destroyed.”
He said nothing about America’s full responsibility for launching naked aggression in the first place, no end of it in sight, peace prospects nil as long as it demands regime change.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.