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  • Russian troops fighting in Syria

    As the media is coming alive with the prospect of greater Russian involvement in the Syrian war and in consideration of the "refugee" crisis now troubling the EU so dynamically, I thought it appropriate to open a dedicated thread to this topic for posters to to place their own thoughts, news clips/videos etc.

    President Bashar al-Assad of Syria is a long time friend of Putin and a good customer for Russian arms. He also avails the Russian navy use of a strategic Mediterranean Sea port. The Syrian war like the Donbas separatist war could never have developed to current levels without the military equipment and boots on the ground afforded by Putin and his Kremlin mafia gang and it should be an interesting observation to see how Kremlin action In Syria reflect on future activities in Donbas. Will Putin maintain high levels of military support in both locations?

    I have written about this topic elsewhere and as expected I've been confronted by a high level of pro-Putin activists that we have seen on this website in the past. Of course these paid or otherwise gullible brainwashed persons place all the current misery in Syria on "western bombings" conveniently forgetting that Assad has been killing his own people for years. A photograph shown below shows an anti-Assad group supporting Ukraine. It was quickly pointed out to me that this group is now defunct and that it was nurtured by the CIA. I'm sure that Assad had this group exterminated some time ago but both wars are still ongoing and if they were CIA inspired why were they against the "international community"? Another photo shows Russian soldiers in Syria.

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    Last edited by Gotno Gizmo; 16th September 2015, 10:17. Reason: Senior moment!

  • #2
    Unfortunately due to a "senior moment" I have incorrectly titled this thread and seem unable to change it. It should have read "Russian troops fighting in Syria"! I have requested website admin if they can change it.
    Meanwhile an article related to this topic:

    Russia’s Syria campaign | Intersection

    Fixed for you... Dobko
    Last edited by dobko; 18th October 2015, 07:29.


    • #3
      The Pentagaon says that Russia is now sending some of its most advanced weaponry to Syria in support of the Assad regime:-
      Moscow's Military Buildup In Syria


      • #4

        September 18, 2015 RADIO FREE EUROPE Tom Balmforth
        Reports: Reluctant Russian Soldiers Oppose 'Secret' Syria Mission

        MOSCOW -- Several Russian soldiers are seeking help from human rights advocates to oppose what they say are secret orders to send them to Syria, according to media reports that add to evidence of a Russian military buildup in the war-torn Middle East country.

        The news site on September 18 published a report containing interviews with four unnamed contract soldiers in the Black Sea port city of Novorossiisk who said a group of 20 of them had been specially recruited for deployment to Latakia, a Mediterranean coastal province held by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government.

        "We don't want to go to Syria, we don't want to die there," the report quoted a soldier identified only as Aleksei N. as saying. He and the others cited in the report are paid soldiers who serve under contracts, not conscripts.

        They said that they were kept in the dark until the last minute as to their destination, and were told only on September 16 that they were due to sail for Syria the next day. Having received no formal, written order, the soldiers attempted to lodge official complaints and the trip was delayed, reported.

        The BBC Russian Service quoted Sergei Krivenko, a member of the Kremlin human rights council, as saying soldiers and their parents had complained that the soldiers have been told they were being deployed to a "country with a hot climate" that was clearly Syria without having received a formal order -- a violation of the law, he said.

        President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that the Kremlin had not received information about the issue from the Kremlin human rights council, an advisory body that holds occasional meetings with Putin, but was aware of the media reports.

        Russian Buildup

        Tension has been building for weeks over what U.S. officials and media reports say is a rapid Russian military deployment in Syria, where Moscow's ally Assad has been losing territory to Islamic State (IS) militants and other foes. According to U.S. intelligence and news reports, Russia is airlifting heavy weaponry, tanks, and naval infantry to Latakia.

        The Pentagon and U.S. State Department said on September 14 that Russia's recent activity suggested Moscow plans to establish a "forward air-operating base" there.

        The apparent buildup has been accompanied by repeated Russian warnings that the United States cannot effectively fight IS militants who have seized swaths of Syrian territory without cooperating with Assad, whom Moscow has protected throughout a civil war that has killed some 250,000 people since 2011.

        The United States says Assad must go as part of a peaceful solution to the conflict, and suspects that the goal of the increased Russian military activity is to prop him up -- an effort that Washington has warned will only lead to more death and destruction and drive more Syrians to flee the country.

        Russia has been sending arms to Syria throughout the war and has acknowledged sending personnel to service the weapons and train Syrians in their use. Speaking after Syria's foreign minister denied reports that Russian combat troops were fighting in Syria , Kremlin spokesman Peskov said that Russia would consider sending troops if Damascus were to make such a request.

        Entreaties Stonewalled reported that the soldiers it interviewed recounted being hurriedly recruited and transported to Novorossiysk, then told after weeks in the dark that they would be sent to the Latakia air base. A representative of the Russian military General Staff did not rule out they would be involved in combat, the report said.

        "Since the very start of this trip there have been many strange things and facts withheld, and the situation began to become clear here, in Novorossiisk," Aleksei N. was quoted as saying.

        The press service of the Russian Defense Ministry's Eastern Military District, where the soldiers were reportedly recruited from, made comments meant to cast doubt on the report. According to Russian news agencies, it said its units were not being sent outside the district, which is thousands of kilometers from Novorossiisk.

        "We are amazed in the Eastern Military District by the attempts of correspondents for online publications to link the everyday activities of troops to the events in the Middle East," it said

        Valentina Melnikova, head of the Committee for Soldiers' Mothers, a Russian NGO that advocates for soldiers' rights, told RFE/RL her group received an appeal two weeks ago from worried parents of a soldier who had been summoned for a foreign trip.

        "They gave him a foreign travel passport, but didn't say where they are going," Melnikova said. "The parents were worried and wanted to know why and where he could be sent. We don't know anything more concrete."

        The soldiers interviewed by said they tried to formally lodge a complaint at the Military Prosecutor's Office because they were given no guarantees of compensation or insurance in the event of death of injury. The duty officer, however, declined to receive their complaint.

        Krivenko told the BBC that one of the soldier's appeals had been submitted to the Defense Ministry.
        Reports: Reluctant Russian Soldiers Oppose 'Secret' Syria Mission

        æ, !

        Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


        • #5
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          • #6
            EUROZINE MAGAZINE 11.12.2015 by Adam Puchejda, Michael Walzer
            War will not win democracy

            A conversation with Michael Walzer

            [One of America’s foremost political thinkers, Michael Walzer has written about a wide variety of topics in political theory and moral philosophy, including political obligation, just and unjust war, nationalism and ethnicity, economic justice, and the welfare state. He has played a critical role in the revival of a practical, issue-focused ethics and in the development of a pluralist approach to political and moral life. Walzer’s books include Just and Unjust Wars (1977), On Toleration (1997), and Arguing About War (2004); he has served as editor of the political journal Dissent for more than three decades. Currently, he is working on issues having to do with international justice and the new forms of welfare and also on a collaborative project focused on the history of Jewish political thought.]
            Overthrow a dictator in the Arab world today and you're far more likely to spark civil war than a liberal democracy. So the West shouldn't be militarily engaged at all, says Michael Walzer. For it cannot create democratic polities where there is no social or cultural basis for democracy.

            Adam Puchejda: The conflict in Syria has been going on for almost four years now and it does not seem to be close to a resolution. In fact, it is getting worse, as new players – like Russia – become engaged. In your opinion, what can we do about Syria? Should we intervene? Or, on the contrary, back Russia, even though we know that Putin supports Assad? Or maybe it is too late to do any of these things and we can only – as you once put it – "watch and be shocked" as things carry on regardless?

            Michael Walzer: This is a story which started long before today. From the outset, I did not believe and I do not believe today that our friends in Syria – liberal, democratic, secular Syrians – have the capacity to mobilize followers and win the conflict. I thought from the beginning, as in Egypt, that the people we think of as the "good guys" are very brave, but not very strong. Liberal democrats are not thick on the ground in Syria. The people we would like to support probably cannot win, even with our support, unless it took the form of what the Americans call "boots on the ground". So the alternatives we face are all unattractive. I wrote at one point that there are Americans, mostly on the right, accusing Obama of dithering over what to do, but it seemed to me that dithering was a rational response to the situation.

            AP: But don't you think that the strategy of dithering, as you put it, has failed? The politics of the West toward Syria have been extremely hands-off for years and now the situation appears to be not only intolerable, but intractable and almost impossible to govern.

            MW: That is true, but it is not difficult to explain why in the US and possibly also in Europe there was great reluctance to engage. After all, we did not do well in either Afghanistan or Iraq, so we didn't have the stomach for another intervention. And what we did in Iraq was a catastrophe. Basically, we handed Baghdad to the Shiites and by doing that probably set off a civil war in the Islamic world that is going to go on for a long time and in which it is very difficult for us to intervene. And now, with Russian engagement, what is most frightening is that they seem to have lined up with the Shiites – Iran, Assad, Hezbollah – and we seem to have lined up with the Sunnis. However, lining up with the Sunnis has this one embarrassing aspect – ISIS is a Sunni organization, whose intellectual background is in Saudi Arabia, which is supposedly one of our allies! So, for most Americans the unwillingness to go into Syria is because what we have created looks like one big mess, and nobody is ready to do anything like that again.

            AP: I agree, but even Barack Obama, who moved out almost all of the American troops from Iraq, declared that there is a red line drawn in the Syrian conflict, which is the use of chemical weapons. But when Assad used them, still nothing happened.

            MW: Yes, that was a blunder. It wasn't wrong to say that there was a red line, but it was wrong not to enforce the red line. There should have been a strong military response. I do not know why Obama pulled back on that one, I do not know how his mind works, but this was a very big mistake. Again, I do not believe that even if there had been a strong response, the good guys would have been able to rally on the battlefield, where they were already losing people to Al-Nusra and different Muslim groups.

            AP: It was possible to establish a no-fly zone.

            MW: Establishing a no-fly zone was really a humanitarian argument, because it wouldn't affect the fighting going on in other zones unless we really went after the Syrian air force, which I suppose, we could have done.

            AP: And again the West didn't do anything.

            MW: Unfortunately, it didn't.

            AP: But why? When people look for reasons they start to think that maybe the Russians are right in their critique of the West? The Russians who confront the US and NATO, saying that even though the Americans and the Europeans are all talk about human rights, they don't really care about the bloodshed in Syria, as long as they it cannot be used it in their own political power games. So it is not about containing Russia, which has suddenly become an aggressor defending the legitimate Syrian government, they say, but about another imperial western crusade.

            MW: First of all, of course, there are no pure moral motives in politics, certainly not in international politics, and even in cases of humanitarian intervention there have always been mixed motives. So it is true that there were times that we have not intervened when we should have, as in the case of Rwanda, for example, perhaps because we had no significant interest there. I think that Kosovo was perhaps a rare case of actual humanitarian intervention without any hidden agenda. I believe that the inspiration for this intervention was what happened in Srebrenica, the humiliation, the sense of shame, which does not often figure in politics. There was a genuine sense that we could not sit and watch another massacre of that kind. But this was not well understood.

            I was visiting the Gramsci Institute in Torino during the NATO bombing of Serbia. Now this was a war supported by the center-Left, the Labour Party, the French Socialists, the German Social-Democrats and Greens, the Italian Party of the Democratic Left and others. It was the war of the near-Left opposed by the far-Left. The Refoundation Communists in the Gramsci Institute were very much opposed to the war and insisted that it was an imperialist war, but they had great difficulty figuring out what the imperial interest was and they came up with some very odd arguments. They thought that this was an approach to the Black Sea, that NATO wanted to take the Black Sea, or that maybe oil had been discovered in Macedonia, etc. So it was a similar argument to the one you are quoting.

            Secondly, it is implied that if you decide to intervene, when it is the state, the regime that has created the humanitarian crisis, it is very likely to end in an overthrow of that regime. If we had gone to Rwanda, the only possible way to end the killing would have been to overthrow the Hutu regime. And going back to our present situation in Syria or Libya, we need to understand that in the Arab world today if you overthrow a dictator, you are unlikely to get a liberal democracy, but instead create a civil war between Muslim groups. So you overthrow Saddam and you get what we see in Iraq today. You overthrow Gaddafi and you get rival militias that have a regional, but also a religious basis. And if you try to overthrow Assad, you will get anarchy.

            continue read
            Eurozine - War will not win democracy - Adam Puchejda, Michael Walzer A conversation with Michael Walzer
            Leaving Putin, holding the bag all by his little ole self, is not such bad idea...
            Last edited by Hannia; 15th December 2015, 00:58.

            æ, !

            Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


            • #7
              British Foreign Secretary talks about Syria

              Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond accuses Russia of 'carpet bombing' civilians in Syria

              Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond accuses Russia of 'carpet bombing' civilians in Syria - Mirror Online


              • #8
                To understand Vladimir Putin's mission in Syria, look at Chechnya and Ukraine
                SIDNEY MORING HERALD Paul McGeough Feb 18, 2016 - VIDEO

                --Bombing in Aleppo louder than voices for peace
                --Tensions rise as NATO moves to blunt Russia's Eastern European build-up
                --Russian Church secretly funds cartoonish anti-Western propaganda

                Washington: It's no surprise that Chechens have turned up to fight in Syria – for the so-called Islamic State, for other rebel forces fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad and even for the regime itself.

                Chechnya, their predominantly Muslim homeland in the North Caucasus, has been in conflict with Moscow since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, fighting two brutal wars which ultimately put their mountain republic in the hands of a pro-Moscow Chechen warlord. Chechens know jihad.

                And it's hardly surprising that Russian President Vladimir Putin has turned up in Syria, putting his air force and other armed services at the disposal of the once-beleaguered Assad, son of the late Hafez al-Assad who, through serial coups, became absolute ruler of Syria in 1971; and who, during and after the Cold War, gave Moscow a foothold in the Middle East. Putin knows a vacuum when he sees one.

                The Russian intervention in Syria has been a game-changer. Assad's regime is now on the offensive in what had been a stalemated conflict. Backed on the ground by Iranian, Lebanese and Iraqi fighters, he is regaining territory and threatening the rebels' hold on much of Aleppo, Syria's biggest city.

                The question then becomes: what are the possible elements of a Russian endgame in Syria?

                The answer might best be found in the ruins of Chechnya or in Ukraine, where Putin brazenly annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and continues to foment instability in Kiev and across Europe by orchestrating a headstrong separatist movement - to which Washington and the European Union have responded with economic sanctions, which some observers reckon are becoming old hat given the more immediate crises of the Middle East and the urgent need to accommodate as much as corral the Russians.

                "Putin's trying to change the topic from Ukraine, and maybe he's been successful on that," Carnegie Europe scholar Thomas de Waal told The Boston Globe.

                Joining the dots between Syria and Chechnya, De Waal spoke of a Russian style of conflict that dovetailed with Assad's merciless shelling of opposition strongholds.

                "Overwhelming force [is] your basic strategy," he said. "You treat every enemy city as Berlin, and you pulverise it. There is no subtlety, no regard for collateral damage or civilians."

                In Ukraine, Moscow's below-the-radar military and economic intervention was conducted in parallel with a seeming indifference to decisions made via diplomatic channels, in which it too participated.

                Less than a military victory, Putin was more intent on continued instability and the role it gave him in the diplomatic process of managing that instability – even at the cost of having sanctions imposed on him.

                Just as Putin foreshadowed George W. Bush's "you're with us or against us" rhetoric in justifying ruthless attacks that reduced the Chechen capital Grozny to rubble, the Russian leader's strategy in Syria seems bent on a similarly destructive us-and-them outcome.

                As collated by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the victims of Russian air strikes include 965 IS fighters killed, compared with 1233 non-IS rebels and as many as 1380 civilians.

                Putin's targeting of non-Islamic State forces, while echoing the Assad line that all non-regime fighters are terrorists, points to an outcome in which the last armies standing are those of the regime and IS, leaving the US and its allies two options: back the Assad regime or withdraw.

                A civil war rebadged as a counter-terrorism operation is much easier to fight because human and civil rights get sidelined; bombing becomes indiscriminate; and there is no distinction between civilians and insurgents. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev describes "pacified" Chechnya as "one of the business cards of Russia – a good, unique example in history of [the] combat of terrorism".

                As Russia engaged in Syria late in 2015, Moscow analyst Maxim Trudolyubov wrote in The New York Times: "[The Chechen] war defined Mr Putin as a leader. His goal, then in Chechnya [and] now in Syria, is to tame a restive region by giving a free hand to a loyal warlord, no matter how brutal, who will crush all jihadists, separatists and rivals in order to maintain stability."

                And as in Ukraine, diplomacy buys time – while arguing that its bombing missions in Syria would continue until March 1, the Russians were party to a negotiation last week that called for a "cessation of hostilities" within a week – but days later Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a conference that its chances of success were only 49 in 100.
                n the process, however, Moscow has talked its way back to the centre of events in the Middle East – and a humbled Washington looks on as Russia's battlefield decisions narrow American options.

                Moscow justifies its interventions as responses to decisions in the West – its campaign in Ukraine was part of its response to the eastward expansion of NATO, and it supports Assad because of Western demands for regime change, which took place with such disastrous results in Iraq and Libya.

                And in Putin's intervention there are the threads of a compromise solution to the Syrian crisis that were it to come to pass, would cause Washington and some European capitals to gulp, but which would appeal mightily to Middle Eastern leaders who don't let democratic niceties get in the way of their hold on power.

                By making it clear that it is more interested in preserving the Syrian regime than it is in preserving Assad the man, Moscow has opened the possibility that the region's leaders will welcome Russia as a superpower player who will protect their tinpot regimes.

                And in investing so much in his Syrian adventure, Putin will expect to dislodge Iran as the principal foreign patron of Damascus – an outcome that would have the Sunni princes of the Gulf gleefully somersaulting. Even a few Western leaders might jump at the prospect of seeing Tehran brought down a peg or two.

                In the Putin book, as in the Assad book, a leader does not settle with "terrorists" – he eliminates them. And if whole communities are deemed to be "terrorist", their destruction becomes a logical objective and ultra-violence a legitimate tool.

                The different approaches of Washington and Moscow prompted this assessment by a Syrian official escorting foreign journalists in Latakia, on the Mediterranean coast: "They're not like the Americans – when they get involved, they do it all the way."

                Indeed. With a pliant news media and the swagger of the dictator he almost is, Putin will have a freer hand than any government whose citizens get to vote in meaningful elections and who tire of war. To understand Vladimir Putin's mission in Syria, look at Chechnya and Ukraine


                æ, !

                Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                • #9
                  Russian warship passes Istanbul on its toSyria

                  The Novocherkassk large amphibious assault ship is to deliver supplies for the Russian military grouping in Syria on March 4

                  Russian warship crosses Bosphorus amid tight security measures - EURASIA

                  TASS: Military & Defense - Large landing warship to deliver supplies for Russian air task force in Syria — source


                  • #10
                    Another Russian fighter jet lost

                    A SECOND jet crashes into the Mediterranean while attempting to land on Russian aircraft carrier as it returned from Syria

                    Russian Navy jet crashes into the Mediterranean after bombing raid in Syria | Daily Mail Online


                    • #11
                      Assad regime helicopter drops gas bomb on town near downed Russian jet’s crash site. Video

                      A barrel bomb allegedly containing chlorine gas was dropped from the helicopter of the Syrian government forces on the town of Saraqeb.



                      • #12
                        Russian Mother Grieves

                        KEDROVOYE, Russia (AP) — For Russian mother Farkhanur Gavrilova, the blow came a week ago when an acquaintance called her to say that her son was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Syria that pitted Russian and U.S. combatants against each other for the first time in the Syrian war.



                        • #13
                          Putin’s Syrian gambit
                          It is not going well

                          As Israel and Iran clash in Syria, Russia finds itself increasingly in a bind of its own making
                          THE ECONOMIST Feb 15th 2018

                          IN DECEMBER last year Vladimir Putin used a surprise visit to Syria to declare that Russia’s mission there was “basically accomplished”. His troops had saved the regime of Bashar al-Assad. And Russia had played the decisive part in a conflict that America had failed to control. Coming after the annexation of Crimea in 2014, his message was clear. Russia is back.

                          Just ten weeks later, Mr Putin’s boast looks premature. Within a few hours last weekend Iran first sent a large surveillance drone from deep inside Syria into Israeli airspace and Israel responded by shooting it down and destroying its controlling infrastructure near Palmyra. When an Israeli F-16 fighter jet, on its way home from the raid, was brought down by a salvo of Syrian air-defence missiles, Israel hit back by destroying around a third of Syria’s anti-aircraft batteries. Russian military advisers may have been among those killed.

                          The skirmishes hold two messages. Far from winding down, the war in Syria is entering a new and possibly more dangerous phase. And while fighting rages, Russia must stay.

                          Easy in, hard out

                          The air strikes were the most significant Israel has carried out in Syria since 1982. Neither Iran nor Israel, despite their bitter enmity, wants all-out war, but each is testing where the other’s limits lie. Fresh confrontations have become a near-certainty now that the Assad regime and the Iranian-backed militias that are its most effective ground troops have pushed rebel groups out of an area close to the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. Israeli commanders say they are braced for attacks launched by Iran from a growing number of bases in Syria.

                          This puts Russia in a bind. An escalating conflict between Israel and Iran itself may force it to choose sides. Russia and Iran have become close allies in saving Mr Assad. Yet Mr Putin and Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, who is fighting for his political career (see article), are also on cordial terms. Russia has acquiesced in Israeli strikes on Iran’s Hizbullah proxy, as long as they did not threaten the regime’s survival.

                          Although Mr Putin poses as the arbiter of Syria’s fate and the convener of the peace process, he has little control over other actors, with their own competing agendas. Russian-sponsored peace talks last month in Sochi were a flop. Barely any opposition representatives showed up and the delegation from Damascus rejected calls from the UN and Russia itself for a new constitution. Tension between the other co-sponsors of the conference, Iran and Turkey, reached breaking point when Iranian-backed militias shelled a Turkish convoy in Syria with Russia’s reluctant consent. Turkey and the Syrian Kurds, both of whom Russia has wooed, are now at each other’s throats. Mr Putin attempted to dissuade his Turkish opposite number, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, from charging in, but was ignored.

                          Meanwhile, casualty-averse Russian voters are wearying of the war. A recent poll suggested that less than a third support continuing military operations. Their mood will not have been helped by reports that scores of Russian contract soldiers may have been killed fighting American-led anti-Islamic State forces in eastern Syria last week. The Kremlin would dearly love to find an exit. But that looks a remote prospect.

                          Russia achieved a lot in Syria with a small commitment of forces, but it now finds that it is too weak to bang heads together. It may be too soon to talk of Russia getting stuck in a Syrian quagmire, as Barack Obama once glibly predicted, but Mr Putin looks a long way from being able to extricate himself.

                          If Russia’s Syria gambit unravels, America should take little comfort. The myopic policy shared by both Mr Obama and President Donald Trump of seeing Syria almost solely in terms of defeating Islamic State has left America without influence there against Iran and torn between Turkey, its prickly NATO ally, and its most effective ground forces, the Syrian Kurds.

                          Russia is finding the going more difficult than it thought. America has made itself, at best, peripheral. Meanwhile, the suffering of ordinary Syrians drags remorselessly on.

                          æ, !

                          Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                          • #14
                            Russian military plane crash in Syria kills 39

                            A Russian military transport plane has crashed in Syria killing all 39 people on board, sharply raising the death toll from Moscow’s intervention in the Syrian war.



                            • #15
                              Russian Mercenaries Now Fighting in Africa

                              Social media who take an interest in Russian affairs are saying that the three Russian journalists killed in the Central African Republic (CAR) were investigating the activities of Wagner Group mercenaries. This Russian based organisation is said to be headed by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch and a close associate of Putin and is known to have supplied mercenary forces previously to Donbas and more recently to Syria.

                              Popular Russian social media are saying that the Russian journalists were investigating Kremlin initiated links to Wagner Group and their military activities in CAR and that they were killed at the Kremlin's behest:-