The Syrian Civil War

Discussion in 'The Middle East & North Africa' started by Admin, Oct 5, 2015.

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  1. Admin

    Admin Captain Staff Member Administrator

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    Russia intensifying Syria airstrikes

    (CNN)Russia is intensifying its airstrikes in Syria, which it says have "considerably reduced" the combat potential of militants.

    The Russian air force began strikes in Syria on Wednesday. In the past 24 hours, it has carried out 20 flights targeting 10 ISIS positions in Idlib province, the Russian Defense Ministry announced in a statement Sunday.

    Since 2011, Syria has been torn apart by a brutal civil warthat has seen the rise of extremist groups including ISIS. Moscow supports the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and says it is targeting ISIS, al Nusra and "other terrorist groups."

    But the U.S-backed coalition against ISIS -- comprising the United States, Britain, Turkey, France, Germany, Qatar and Saudi Arabia -- accuses Russia of attacking civilians and Syrian groups opposing al-Assad.


    Criticism mounts over Russia's air campaign in Syria 02:10

    British Prime Minister David Cameron, in an interview with the BBC on Sunday, said most of the strikes appeared to have targeted areas not under ISIS control.

    "What is happening is that they are backing the butcher Assad, which is a terrible mistake for them and for the world. It's going to make the region more unstable, it will lead to further radicalization and increase terrorism," he said.

    Al-Assad told Iranian television station Khabar TV he was optimistic that a coalition of Iran, Russia, Iraq and Syria would be successful, according to a transcript carried by Syrian state news agency SANA.

    "It must succeed; otherwise the whole region, not only one or two countries, will be destroyed," he said.

    "When these countries unite against terrorism and fight it militarily and in the areas of security and information, in addition to other aspects, this coalition will, no doubt, achieve real results on the ground, particularly that it enjoys international support from countries which do not have a direct role in these crises and in this region," al-Assad said.

    Militants are panicking, Russian general says[/paste:font]

    In a speech Saturday, Russian Col. Gen. Andrei Kartapolov announced that Russia was intensifying its strikes. He said that before Russia began air operations, "American experts informed us that there was nobody but terrorists in the district."


    Russian intelligence suggested militants had begun fleeing the strikes, which had targeted ISIS command centers, ammunition depots and training camps, Kartapolov said, according to Russia's Ministry of Defense.

    "Panic and desertion has started among them. About 600 mercenaries have left their positions and are trying to flee to Europe. Thus, the Russian airstrikes will not only be continued; their intensiveness will be increased," he said.

    On Saturday, Russia said its soldiers had bombed nine ISIS positions in Raqqa, the group's de facto capital. Tactical bombers destroyed various militant targets, including ammunition and oil depots, and all-terrain vehicles, it said in a statement.

    Opposition groups alleged at least 11 people had been killed in a double strike by Russia on the village of Ehsim in Idlib province. CNN could not independently verify it was a Russian strike.

    Syria and the U.S.-backed coalition against ISIS also have continued strikes.

    CNN's Margot Haddad and Radina Gigova contributed to this report.

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/04/middleeast/syria-russia-airstrikes/
     
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  2. SirHatesAloT

    SirHatesAloT Officer Candidate

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    Russian warships launched missiles into Syria from the Caspian Sea on Wednesday as Russian-backed government troops launched a ground offensive to crush forces opposing the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

    The missiles mark a major escalation of Russian involvement in the region and a growing crisis for U.S. policy in Syria.

    Russia says its attacks are targeting the Islamic State and other extremist groups, but the U.S. says they have been mostly aimed at bolstering Assad's regime, which Washington opposes.

    Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin in televised remarks that four warships carried out 26 missile strikes from the Caspian Sea, destroying 11 targets more than 900 miles away, Russia's TASS news agency reported. He said no civilian facilities were hit.

    "Intensive work of different intelligence services over the last two days has made it possible to detect a large number of various (Islamic State) facilities — command posts, ammunition depots, military equipment depots, training camps of militants,” Shoigu said, according to TASS.

    He said 112 Islamic State targets have been hit since Sept. 30, when Russian warplanes began airstrikes in Syria. The U.S. military has challenged the Russian claims, saying at least 50% of the strikes have targeted moderate opposition forces fighting Assad.

    Signs of a new Syrian government ground offensive in central Syria on Wednesday places Russia and the United States at even greater odds. The ground offensive, backed by Russian strikes, could crush moderate opposition forces and strengthen Assad's regime.

    U.S. policy has been aimed at attacking the Islamic State and searching for a political solution to remove Assad, since his regime has fueled a civil war for more than four years and allowed extremism to grow.

    The new Russian escalation threatens to further undermine an already faltering U.S. strategy in Syria and Iraq. U.S. efforts to build a ground force in Syria, for example, have stumbled.

    One group of U.S.-trained fighters was mostly routed by al-Qaeda linked forces, and another turned over equipment and ammunition to the same organization.

    Meanwhile, there has been no significant diplomatic progress to replace Assad.

    Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Wednesday said the U.S.-led coalition, which is conducting its own bombing campaign, has not agreed to cooperate with Russia in the fight against the Islamic State and that no collaboration is possible as long as Moscow continues to strike other targets, AP reported.

    Speaking at a news conference in Rome, Carter said the U.S. will conduct basic, technical talks with Russia about efforts to ensure that flights over Syria are conducted safely and “that’s it.” He said the U.S. is not prepared to cooperate with a Russian strategy that's “tragically flawed,” the AP reported. “They continue to hit targets that are not ISIL. We believe that is a fundamental mistake,” he added.

    Russian warplanes began bombing in Syria a week ago, in strikes authorities said were targeting the Islamic State and al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate following a request from Assad.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/10/07/russia-syria-airstrikes/73500872/
     
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  3. Admin

    Admin Captain Staff Member Administrator

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    The cruise missiles launched by Russia from the Caspian have never been revealed to the public before, moreover these strikes were not necessary as Russian air assets in Syria could have been used. In my modest opinion Russia is flexing its muscles and showing regional and international players that it has advanced strike capabilities and that it poses weapons that we in the west may not be aware about or have much information on.

    I expect the Patriots to be back in Turkey soon, from what I recall they can be deployed to Turkey in roughly 1 weeks time.
     
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  4. F-22

    F-22 2nd Lieutenant

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    I was just about to ask what type of missile is this, and which ships were these fired from. With what's happened in Ukraine and now Syria, US intelligence should gain a wealth of information on Russian capabilities.
     
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  5. Admin

    Admin Captain Staff Member Administrator

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    Found a nice article online

    "The Kalibr cruise missile is a relatively new addition to Russia’s arsenal, and according to IHS Jane’s analyst Jeremy Binnie, Wednesday’s launch was the first time the missile’s 900-plus-mile range had been made public.
    .
    .
    .

    Binnie went on to say that the cruise missile strikes were probably a show of Russian military force and technology, noting that the ships that fired the missiles — mostly small missile corvettes — were intended to demonstrate that even the small ships in the Russian navy are stronger than they look.

    According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the smaller ships that participated in the strikes are approximately 230 feet long and their primary weapon is the Kalibr cruise missile. The flagship of the strike group, the Dagestan, is 650 feet long and displaces 2,000 tons.

    "

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news...-cruise-missiles-russia-just-sent-into-syria/

    Some additional info:

    Scroll down the page and it will list the ships they in their caspian fleet.

    http://russianships.info/eng/today/
     
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  6. F-22

    F-22 2nd Lieutenant

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    Interesting, I see that these Kalibr cruise missiles are Klub derivatives. Russia does have advanced strike capabilities, an I recall a US General saying they are the only credible cruise missile threat to the United States. I think the problem for Russia is that they don't have enough PGM's. They wouldn't be able to employ PGM's on the scale the US can or be able to sustain that against a peer adversary.
     
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  7. AMDR

    AMDR Captain Staff Member Administrator

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    Kurdish Video Lends Credibility to Russian Navy Caspian Sea Strike Mission Claims
    http://news.usni.org/2015/10/07/kur...ussian-navy-caspian-sea-strike-mission-claims
    By: Sam LaGrone
    October 7, 2015 4:29 PM
    [​IMG]

    Undated photo of Russian Navy guided missile frigate Dagestan firing UKSK Shot.

    Russia officials claim that a flotilla of four ships in the Caspian Sea sent a barrage of 26 guided cruise missiles across Iran, Iraq and ultimately to strike targets Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to strike in Syria more than 900 miles away.

    Those claims were bolstered on Wednesday when Kurdish Peshmerga forces fighting ISIS released a video on Twitter showing a guided cruise missile streak by their encampment.

    https://twitter.com/KURDISTAN_ARMY/status/651789249705078784

    According to a Wednesday release from the Russian Ministry of Defense, three 1,000-ton Buyan-M corvettes and the 2,000-ton guided missile frigate Dagestan fired the SS-N-30A cruise missiles from ships to target sets including “plants producing ammunition and explosives, command centers, storages of munitions, armament and POL as well as a training camp of terrorists on the territory of the Raqqah, Idlib and Aleppo provinces,” according to the statement.

    The Peshmerga video shows two subsonic cruise missiles that correspond to the characteristics of the SS-N-30A.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry released its own video combining footage of the ships launching weapons and map of the alleged flight path of the missiles to central Syria at a distance of more than 900 miles for the sub-sonic SS-N-30As or Kalibr NK or 3M-14T.


    Officials with the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and the U.S. Central Command would not confirm any of the Russian claims surrounding the strikes and independent verification of the strikes have not been forth coming.

    In addition to the distance the missiles would have had to travel, taking the Russians at their word, the missiles would have to transit through Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian airspace to reach their targets.

    Moving that many missiles through that airspace would require a major deconfliction with the air defense systems and aircraft in Iraq and Iran, said Bryan Clark , a retired Navy officer, the former special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) and now a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis (CSBA).

    “If they actually did this, that’s a huge step forward in their ability to coordinate theater wide operations that they haven’t demonstrated in decades,” Clark told USNI News on Wednesday.

    If ultimately confirmed, the ability for the Russians to launch a strike from that far is also revelatory Eric Wertheim — naval analyst and author of U.S. Naval Institute’s Combat Fleets of the World — told USNI News on Wednesday.

    [​IMG]
    Buyan M guided missile corvette.

    Russian possession of a weapon that parallels the range and performance of the Raytheon Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) — the U.S. long range land attack missile — shows “the rest of the world is catching up to this technology,” Wertheim said.
    “It’s a wake up call.”

    In addition to a statement of the effectiveness of Russian technology the strike on the targets, which could have just as easily been undertaken by the forward deployed Russian aircraft, have a messaging component, Steven Horrell, the U.S. Navy senior fellow at The Atlantic Council told USNI News.

    “Regardless of whatever tactical value, this is clear messaging to the U.S. and NATO,” he said.
    “It’s possible this is specifically a message to Turkey with recent friction over airspace on the border.”

    Launching from the Caspian Sea, rather than from the Black Sea-based surface action group, currently in the Eastern Mediterranean, also shows the the seams in the abilities of the Russian surface fleet.

    The Buyan-M corvettes and Dagestan are among the more modern surface combatants in the Russian fleet and are equipped UKSK vertical launch system capable of fielding the long-range cruise missile. Ships of the Black Sea SAG are incapable of fielding the more modern weapons as Russia has elected not to modernize the ships.

    However, the Russian Navy is expanding platforms with the cruise missiles.

    “In addition to the Caspian Sea, this capability is in the Black Sea on the Improved-Kilo-class submarine Novorossiysk which just arrived last month and in the Baltic Fleet on their newer frigates,” Horrell said.

    The following is the complete Oct. 7, 2015 statement from the Russian Ministry of Defense on the missile strikes from Caspian Sea.

    This night the ship strike group of the Russian Navy launched cruise missiles against ISIS infrastructural facilities in Syria from the assigned district of the Caspian Sea.

    The cruise missiles hit all the assigned targets. The deviation from aims during the long-range engagement did not exceed 3 meters.

    Plants producing ammunition and explosives, command centres, storages of munitions, armament and POL as well as a training camp of terrorists on the territory of the Raqqah, Idlib and Aleppo provinces were engaged.

    The missile ship Dagestan (project 11661) was the flag ship of the ship strike group. Its displacement constitutes about 2 000 tons, its length is about 200 meters. The ship is equipped with a modern high-accuracy missile system Kalibr NK capable of engaging targets by cruise missiles located on all the territory of Syria with the accuracy of up to 3 meters. The cruise missiles fly at the altitudes of up to 50 meters following the terrain.
    The missile ship Dagestan is capable of task performance at the distance of 4 000 km from the permanent base.

    The displacement of small-sized missile ships Grad Sviyazhsk, Uglich, Veliky Ustyug (project 21631) is 1 000 tons, their length is over 70 meters. The main strike weapon of the ships of this type is the Kalibr NK high-precision ship missile system, which allows to engage targets day and night in bad hydrometeorological conditions
     
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  8. F-22

    F-22 2nd Lieutenant

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  9. Sven

    Sven Teh Viking dood Industry Professional Ret. Military

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    According to Reuters, Germany is remaining committed to removing their PATRIOT missiles - though I suspect there's some political concerns too given the off-again, on-again relationship between the two nations:

    Germany's defense minister said Berlin would also go ahead with plans to switch off its Patriot batteries in Turkey next week and withdraw most of the soldiers operating them before Christmas. All soldiers and material are due to be withdrawn by the end of January.

    No updates on a reneging on the US plan to remove theirs as well. Coincidentally, Germany officials noted that Turkish air defenses could pick up the slack instead:

    "This decision (to withdraw the Patriots) is right," Ursula von der Leyen said as she arrived for the meeting.

    "The question is what danger can be warded off in which way," she said. The comments appeared to suggest that the Turkish air force was capable of intercepting fighter jets.


    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/08/us-mideast-crisis-syria-nato-idUSKCN0S20HJ20151008

    I too suspect this is their greatest concern, but unfortunately don't have any info to corroborate either of our suspicions. They, the Russians, have plenty of PGM types, such as:

    KAB-500S-E - satellite guidance
    [​IMG]

    And

    KAB-500L - laser guidance
    [​IMG]

    Both of which are being used in Syria, according to Russian Insider, so we know they have PGMs, and very accurate ones too, not quite as accurate as ours:

    [​IMG]

    But still to within 5m. Still, we don't know the size of the stockpile, and the Russians have been using a number of unguided munitions too, at time it seems they are missing their targets:



    Here's a still from the video showing a large and smaller secondary explosions:

    [​IMG]

    Though I suspect these aren't misses, but cluster munitions either RBK-250 or 500AO:

    [​IMG]

    coupled with FAB-500, which is a large bomb that doesn't need a direct hit to degrade its target:

    [​IMG]

    That's what the video, citing a "miss" by the VVS, seems to show. I don't think they missed.

    According to Reuters, citing local sources, cluster munitions have and are being used in Syria by the VVS:

    http://blogs.reuters.com/from-reute...r-strikes-in-syria-look-like-from-the-ground/

    Unexploded cluster bomblets are seen inside the remains of a cluster munition that activists say was fired by the Russian air force on Maasran town, in the southern countryside of Idlib, October 7, 2015. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

    [​IMG]

    I'm uncertain what type this munition is, or even its use, but it seems to be Russia's version of CBU-97.



    The number of "dumb" bombs being used seems to be a case of mis-identification of cluster munitions and large bombs, like FAB-500, rather than outright misses.

    That said, we still don't know the reason for the use of so many unguided or cluster munitions. Perhaps Russia doesn't yet have faith in its PGMs, they are too expensive to use on mass, they aren't needed to engage the targets being engaged, or the stockpiles are too small.

    We can't be certain.

    ...

    On a side note, Russian sensors seem, well, underwhelming at best. The picture isn't great. It's not bad either, just a bit underwhelming when compared to the US standard. Still functional though:



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Seems they need to work on this capability more.

    Photos from http://blogs.reuters.com/from-reute...r-strikes-in-syria-look-like-from-the-ground/
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2015
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  10. Technofox

    Technofox That Norwegian girl Staff Member Ret. Military Developer

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    Ouch! Even Tomahawk crashes from time to time (a few where even shot down), but Klub is one of Russia's newest missiles, I suppose it hasn't been tested as thoroughly as Tomahawk, or in real-world scenarios, but still, it shouldn't have that poor of a performance.

    While I respect the Russians, since they outclass us (Norway, not the US) significantly, their performance in Syria isn't exactly validating the horror stories being told about their capabilities.

    *You've already seen this. lots of misses.


    Still, they've a potent force in and around Europe and they can do some damage. Their capabilities and effectiveness are being overstated though, there are often discrepancies in their reporting of events, such as casualty figures, damage assessments or targets and areas:

    Russia's air force hit 60 Islamic State targets in Syria over the past 24 hours and killed around 300 militants, the Defense Ministry said on Friday, in Moscow's most intense raids yet since it first launched strikes on Syria 10 days ago.

    In the previous updates, the Moscow had been reporting hitting about 10 targets daily. The increased pace of attacks was aimed at preventing militants from re-grouping and dispersing in populated areas, the ministry said.

    The ministry said in a statement that air force jets used KAB-500 precision guided bombs to destroy a headquarters of the Liwa al-Haqq militant group in Syria's Raqqa province.

    The ministry, citing intercepted radio communications, said the raid killed two senior Islamic State field commanders and some 200 militants there.


    Liwa al-Haqq is not connected to Islamic State, so it was not clear what the two field commanders were doing at the group's base.

    The ministry also said it destroyed an Islamic State base and munitions storage set up in a former prison near Aleppo, killing another 100 militants.


    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015...-syria-russia-insurgent-idUSKCN0S31LO20151009

    However, I am glad Russia, even for dubious purposes, is pulling some slack in Syria. Lets face it, there are no angels there, everyone's a bad guy as far as Europe and the US is concerned. Are we really that annoyed that Russia is attacking everyone?

    The only side I've any sympathy for, apart from civilians caught in the crossfire, are the Kurds who don't pose a risk to US interests in the region and who've been a reliable partner for the US and other nations, including Norway for decades:

    *Norway has been training Kurdish security forces in Norther Iraq.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The more Russia is engaged the less the US has to be, which is a plus in my book.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2015
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