US sharply reduces air operations in Syria after Moscow closes hotline

CONFIRMED: US sharply cuts air operations in Syria fearing Russian missiles

Alexander Mercouris

US sharply reduces air operations in Syria because of presence of Russian missiles after Moscow closes hotline

The media is barely reporting the fact but the immediate effect of the US missiles strike on Syria’s Sharyat air base has been to reduce US air force flights over Syria as the US worries about Moscow’s reaction.

That this is so is confirmed by the New York Times which – presumably because its anti-Trump campaign overrides all other issues – has actually been doing some proper reporting about the Syrian conflict following the US missile strike.

This is all set out by New York Times in the following article, which says the following:

The American-led task force that is battling the Islamic State has sharply reduced airstrikes against the militants in Syria as commanders assess whether Syrian government forces or their Russian allies plan to respond to the United States’ cruise missile strike on a Syrian airfield this past week, American officials said.

The precautionary move, revealed in statistics made public by the command on Saturday, was taken as Russian officials have threatened to suspend the communication line the American and Russian militaries use to notify each other about air operations in Syria.

So far, the Russian military does not appear to have taken any threatening actions, such as directing its battlefield radar or air defense systems to confront the Americans, or carrying out aggressive actions in the skies, United States officials said.

But officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning said the commanders needed time to determine whether the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, and the Russian military would treat the American cruise missile strike as a one-time operation that they would not respond to militarily. As a precaution, the Pentagon is flying patrols in Syrian skies with F-22 jets, the Air Force’s most advanced air-to-air fighter……

Some American and other Western counterterrorism officials have said the missile strike could………make the fight against the Islamic State in Syria more difficult.

“It seems clear that the strikes will complicate our efforts to pursue our counter-ISIS campaign in Syria,” said Matthew Olsen, a former director of the National Counterterrorism Center. “In particular, the ability to carry out U.S. airstrikes in Syria in support of the coalition against ISIS requires some degree of cooperation with Russia, which is now in serious jeopardy.”

Other security experts said that much depended on the Trump administration’s next steps, and how the Assad government and its Russian patrons responded.

“U.S. aircraft operating over Al-Tabqah are already ostensibly in range of the Russian S-400 system at the Humaymin Air Base, and we might see Russia deploy more air defense assets to Syria,” Jeremy Binnie, the Middle East editor of Jane’s Defense Weekly, said in an email. “But if the U.S. makes no moves to threaten Assad’s position, then they may well accept the punishment and move on.”

William McCants, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of “The ISIS Apocalypse,” offered a similar assessment.

This is the military reality that is causing the US to give repeated assurances to the Russians that the missile strike on Sharyat air base – largely ineffective as it appears to have been – is intended as a one-off, and that in President Trump’s words: “Are we going to get involved in Syria? No.”

Whether the Russians believe this assurance is another matter.  Even if it is intended sincerely, the Russians must wonder whether the Trump administration can honour it given that by launching its missiles the Trump administration has decisively lost leverage in Washington to the regime change hardliners.

In any event what this episode shows is the huge leverage the presence of the S-400 and S-300VM Antey-2500 missiles in Syria is giving the Russians.

The Russians do not need to make threats or fire missiles at the US or do any other reckless or dangerous things to make their point and to limit US air operations in Syria.  Despite all the brave talk of Russia being under pressure in Syria, the reality is that the Russians can achieve the same result simply by turning off the telephone.  That is what they have done, and it the reason for the tough negotiations between Tillerson and the Russians in Moscow.

Original post


Pentagon Cries Foul After Devious Russians Track US Warplanes Illegally Intruding in Syrian Airspace

Meanwhile, any Russian jet that comes within 1,000 km of NATO airspace is reported to the Hague

RI Staff 

Mon, Apr 10, 2017

Since the day after the Wright Brothers pretended to invent the airplane, the Pentagon has been flying its warplanes all over the world, dropping bombs, chemical agents, and other terrible things as part of its never-ending campaign to make Raytheon boat-loads of money.

Killing people to keep stockholders happy is simply the price of doing business — and there’s no reason to apologize or get upset about it (just look at Mosul, right now).

But what does ‘concern’ the Pentagon?

According to a Pentagon correspondent for the Stars and Stripes, ‘US aircraft being tracked while they violate a sovereign nation’s airspace’ really annoys the Defense Department a lot.

What are we talking about here? S-300s, S-400s, or maybe just boring ol’ Russian radar? It doesn’t matter — the point is that it is very concerning.

Simply outrageous. It’s almost as if Russian forces were invited to operate in Syria, while the US invited itself to the party — in violation of every basic tenet of international law.

But what exactly does ‘painted’ mean — aside from ‘Russian war crimes’?

We consulted with a trusted RI source who, once upon a time, worked on US military fire control radar. Here’s his take:

Painted refers to radar beam crossing over something, like a paint brush. Most combat aircraft have a detection system that listens for radar. When it receives a signal, it analyzes it (frequency, pulse width, frequency changes, etc.) as well as the direction and intensity; it puts that all on a small screen in the cockpit so the aircrew knows it is being looked at, tracked or fired upon. You can tell if you are locked on and if a missile was fired on most anti aircraft systems.

So there you have it.

Here’s a fun take from the always-great Moon of Alabama:

Remember: Any time a Russian jet comes within 1,000 kilometers of Estonia, NATO calls for an emergency meeting to discuss how best to respond to Russian aggression.

And here we have US planes entering sovereign airspace, illegally, and often times dropping bombs, and the Pentagon is concerned about being ‘painted’ by the Russians. 

There’s such an easy solution to this seemingly unsolvable problem.

Take your planes. And go home.

P.S. — We don’t even know if the Pentagon is being truthful about Russian air defense systems ‘painting’ US aircraft. What we do know is that the Pentagon is complaining about what could happen to their precious planes that are breaking international law. What a bunch of whiny muppets.


Reality check for stealth fighters as per comments below……….

The Russians also publicly declared that they would defend their troops in Syria if they were attacked, and warned the US of the capability of their air defence system in Syria.  This is what General Igor Konashenkov, the spokesman of the Russian Defence Ministry, said

Most officers of the Russian Centre for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties currently work ‘on the ground,’ delivering humanitarian aid and conducting negotiations with heads of settlements and armed groups in most Syrian provinces. 

That is why any missile or air strikes on the territory under control of the Syrian government, will create an obvious threat for Russian military.

And finally, I draw attention of ‘hotheads’ that after a strike on Syrian troops in Deir ez-Sor by planes of the coalition on September 17, we have taken all necessary measures to rule out any such ‘mistakes’ against Russian military and military facilities in Syria (NB: this clearly refers to the deployment of the S-300VM Antey-2500 systems to Syria – AM).

The crews on duty will hardly have the time to calculate the missile’s flight path or try to find out their nationality.  As for the laymen’s illusions about the existence of ‘invisible planes’ they may confront a disappointing reality.


F-22 Raptor: Details

S-400 Triumph (SA-21 Growler): Details

S-300VM Antey-2500 SA-23: Here



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