DAMASCUS, (BM) – Russia’s Aviapro news agency reported today, February 26, that the U.S. military has Patriot surface-to-air missile [SAM] systems at bases in Syria and Iraq. According to Russian sources, the Pentagon is building a new U.S. air base in eastern Syria in the Deir ez-Zor area.
One of the reasons for the deployment of Patriot air defense systems, according to analysts, is the presence of Russian warships in the Mediterranean. They are arming with Kalibr cruise missiles. At this stage, only these missiles are capable of striking from a distance in the Syrian region.
Sources in the Russian edition say that American air defense systems’ characteristics are, at least in theory, capable of dealing with Russian missiles. It is a matter of intercepting and destroying them.
Another reason for the deployment of American systems is the agreement between Washington and Tel Aviv, the United States, to ensure Israel’s security in the region. U.S. sources say Iranian drone and ballistic missile attacks on the Israeli state are possible.
In recent weeks, the United States has been intensively deploying its air defense systems in Syria. Interestingly, some of them are located a few hundred kilometers from two Russian airbases – Tiyas and Qamishli.
Russia already transferred new batch of fighter jets in Syria
Russia has transferred a new batch of Russian fighters to its Khmeimim base in Syria. According to Russian media, the transfer took place on February 19th, citing a source from Russia’s Defense Ministry. However, it is still unclear what type of fighter models had transferred to the Russian base in the Arab Republic.
Military analysts have commented on Russia’s actions as a clear signal to Israel and Turkey. A few days ago, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Moscow was ready to counter “Israeli aggression.” The Russians did not report Turkey as another country against which Russia will oppose. Still, since the beginning of the year, the Turkish army has been carrying out “unwanted military bombings” in areas where Russian troops have increased presence.
Alexander Lavrentyev, a special envoy of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Syria, said that “the glass of Russian patience will overflow at any moment.” He said Russia and Syria would retaliate if Syrian forces continued to attack territories in central Syria, justifying themselves with an “Iranian presence.” Lavrentyev also noted that “Israeli attacks” would be stopped.
The Russian diplomat’s statement shows that Russia intends to take over the air defense of the Arab Republic’s airspace in the coming months. Moscow’s actions show that the Russians have no intention of other countries to decide Syria’s fate without Russia’s involvement.
War in Syria
In February 2020, Turkey lost at least 62 troops killed in Syria. Nearly 100 soldiers were wounded, Syrian-backed forces destroyed dozens of Turkish armored vehicles, and more than ten drones, including drones, were shot down. Washington has repeatedly accused Moscow of involvement in the deaths of Turkish soldiers, Russia rejects these allegations.
In early March, the presidents of Russia and Turkey, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, agreed that a ceasefire came into force in the Idlib de-escalation zone. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad later said that if the US and Turkish military did not leave the country, Damascus would use power.
The reason for the Russian-Turkish negotiations was a sharp aggravation of the situation in Idlib, where in January, a large-scale offensive by the Syrian army against the positions of the armed opposition and terrorists began.
Government forces recaptured nearly half of the Idlib de-escalation zone and left behind several Turkish observation posts. After that, Ankara sharply increased its military contingent in the region and launched the operation “Spring Shield” to push the Syrian troops. Militants are loyal to Ankara and support Turkey.
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