Russia Plan B is always an option in Syria
Hammymeem, Latakia, by Elijah J. Magnier:
The Hammymeem military base hosting the Russian Air Force is observing frenetic movement preparing for daily departure of the excess of Air personnel and jets that were standing by for the last two weeks, following a reasonably implemented Cease-fire.
Russian Air Force used to carry between 200 to 350 sorties, bombing selective objectives, on daily basis until the end of the month of February when the Cease-fire was declared in Syria. Today, the operation room can identify less than 30 objectives per day, with a major concentration on hitting the “Islamic State” group (ISIS) in Palmyra, Tadmur, and other very limited objectives in cities under al-Qaeda fi bilad al-Sham, Jabhat al-Nusra’ control.
The Russian Defence Ministry asked the military command in Syria over a week ago to prepare a list of effectives and number of personnel unnecessary to stay in combat readiness due to a significant reduction of battles and confrontation on the Syrian geography. Orders were also given to a number of Special Forces, pilots and crews Engineering to prepare to leave.
The Air base in Hammaymeem and the naval base in Tartus are fully under Russian control that obviously intends to stay for very long and consolidate their presence. All Air defence systems are in place and the high number of jet doesn’t allow a clear distinction between what has returned home and what stayed behind. Russia maintained an undeclared number of jets and helicopters, superior than the 70 officially announced. Departing Pilots have had unique experience in life combat and manoeuvre in real war that Russia didn’t observe since decades. Russian special forces have also endured enough experience, along with artillery units, in regaining full control of the Lakatia province and participating to several operations in Aleppo. A team of Russian experts worked frenetically in observing and transferring the unlimited experience of combat lessons drawn mainly when a state effective, like Russia, is coordinating effective guerrilla attacks with non-state forces (Hezbollah, IRGC – Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps).
Moreover, The Jihadists in Syria and their allies were representing a serious danger when their bombs could reach many locations in Latakia and could have posed a real threat to the Russian personnel. It was necessary to create enough security parameter, and, simultaneously, spoil the Turkish plan to create a buffer zone on the Syrian-Turkish borders.
Russia has managed to turn the balance of power up side down in six months of its intervention in Syria. Regardless the return of control of a vast strategic land to the regime in Damascus, the Kremlin forces all parties to sit with Assad representative around the Geneva table when these were rejecting the idea for the last four years of war. Russia is pushing for a free election, within the area under the regime and the rebels’ control, under the supervision of the United Nations.
The Kremlin asked President Assad if he has the intention to run for the Presidency election. Mr Assad not only showed determination but also is confident of winning. The role of Moscow is to support an election where no one is excluded, including Mr Assad.
Russia, according to high-ranking sources, informed Washington, Damascus and Tehran of its step of reducing forces in Syria. The Kremlin expect from the United States to exert its promises imposing on regional parties, i.e. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, to stop all sorts of weapons and financial supply to all rebels without exception. The USA is confident to obtain from its regional allies in the Middle East this commitment at the cost of joining the bombing, with Russia, of all those willing to continue fighting and violate the open-date Cease-fire in Syria. Saudi Arabia and Turkey see no longer Syria as a possibility to implement their old plans and agreed, theoretically, to act accordingly. Russia would be monitoring this particular stand in the coming days.
“We have agreed with the Americans to stop the war in Syria by all means. The agreement consists in joining all efforts to defeat ISIS and to free Raqqa. Al-Qaeda in Syria (Jabhat al-Nusra) is another story. As long as the violation of the cease-fire is accepted, its role is limited. If there are attacks followed by a concentration of forces, these would represent a happy and a perfect target to the Russian Air Force. Let us see how serious the American commitment is”, said the source. Al-Qaeda in Syria seems to pose little threat to the regime in Damascus since the cease-fire. Its internal struggle and continuous bickering with the population and moderate rebels are enough to diminish its influence in Syria. People are fed up of war and can’t walk along with al-Qaeda objectives to an open endless war that goes even beyond the Syrian territory.
According to the source, Russia “has shown the world that it can equip any base with the latest weapons they have not been used before. Russia changed the course of military events by supporting local forces at the lowest possible ground intervention and losses. Russia is back on the International arena as an essential player in the Middle East. The partition of Syria is no longer on the table; the dream of the establishment of a “caliphate State” or “Islamic extremist state” in the land of Sham is over now; the Damascus regime is holding its position stronger than ever since five years, avoiding a “Libya fail-state” scenario where remorse of those who contributed to derail the state is irrelevant (with reference to what US “President Barack Obama doctrine”, quoting the failure of France and Britain of their obligations towards Libya after Gaddafi). The war is not over yet. We watch the USA role and fulfilment of its commitment to ensure the success of the peace road plan in Syria”.
Russian aircraft continue leaving Hammymeem military base daily for two destinations: One back home and another to continue bombing ISIS positions. Six months ago, Russia has managed, in few days, to establish a vast military operation in Syria and turn the course of the war. If the Cease-fire falls apart, the over hundred jets will return also in a matter of days for the “plan B”.
Elija J. Magnier on Twitter: @EjmAlrai
Original article via @AlraiMediaGroup here: