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London: Russia's military build-up in Syria includes surface-to-air missiles as well as combat aircraft with air-to-air capability, deployments that raise "serious questions" about Moscow's role in the region, US Secretary of State John Kerry says. Russian officials have said that the purpose of the build-up at a base near Latakia, Syria, is to combat Islamic State. The deployment of air defence systems and fighter aircraft weapons that can be used against a conventionally armed foe but have little utility against extremist fighters has spurred concerns that Moscow's goal is to establish a military outpost in the Middle East. It has also added to the Pentagon's worries about the risk of an inadvertent confrontation between Russia's military and the US-led coalition that is carrying out air strikes in Syria against Islamic State.
While Mr Kerry did not provide details, a US official, who requested anonymity, said a Russian SA-22 air defence system was in place in Latakia. The US observed elements of the system at the base in the last week and now the launcher and the missiles were there, too, the official said.
The US official added that the four Su-27 aircraft Russia flew to the base were armed with air-to-air missiles.
"What's the air-to-air threat there for them?" asked the official, who called the development "troubling". However, other US officials suggested the deployment might simply reflect the Russian military's standard defensive precautions as it established an air hub in a foreign country.
The prefabricated building that Russia has erected at the base can house 2000 military advisers and personnel. Ferrying weapons and equipment to the base has involved more than 20 flights by Russian Condor transport planes: almost all have flown to Syria by passing over Iran and Iraq.
Syria – and the migrant crisis it has spawned – has been a focus of Mr Kerry's trip to Europe.
After a meeting on Saturday with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, Mr Kerry said it was vital to pursue a diplomatic solution to the crisis but Moscow was not putting enough pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to make him negotiate seriously. Both Mr Hammond and Mr Kerry emphasised that Mr Assad could not remain in power if there was to be a durable solution to the conflict, but they said the timing of his departure during a political transition in Syria would be a matter of negotiation. "It doesn't have to be on day one or month one," Mr Kerry said. "There is a process by which all the parties have to come together and reach an understanding of how this can best be achieved. "I just know that the people of Syria have already spoken with their feet," he said. "They're leaving Syria." Despite his concerns about Russia's military build-up in Syria, Mr Kerry said the Obama administration welcomed a role for Russian forces if it was focused on combating Islamic State and not on propping up Mr Assad. "IS is plotting attacks today against the West," Mr Kerry said. "So to the degree that Russia wants to focus its efforts against IS, we welcome that."
WASHINGTON — Russia has sent some of its most modern battle tanks to a new air base in Syria in what American officials said Monday was part of an escalating buildup that could give Moscow its most significant military foothold in the Middle East in decades. Pentagon officials said that the Russian weapons and equipment that had arrived suggested that the Kremlin’s plan is to turn the airfield south of Latakia in western Syria into a major hub that could be used to bring in military supplies for the government of President Bashar al-Assad. It might also serve as a staging area for airstrikes in support of Syrian government forces. “We have seen movement of people and things that would suggest the air base south of Latakia could be used as a forward air operating base,” Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said Monday.
Newly published images showing a Russian R-166-0.5 (ultra) high-frequency signals (HF/VHF) vehicle driving through Syria’s coastal region now leaves little to no doubt on Russia’s intentions in Syria. The R-166-0.5 provides jam-resistant voice and data communications over a long range, enabling Russian troops to communicate with their bases in the coastal strongholds of Tartus and Lattakia while operating far inland. The vehicle can be seen escorted by Syrian military personnel, likely belonging to the National Defence Force (NDF). Far more interesting however is the soldier sitting near the open hatch of the vehicle. Seemingly unaware that a photo is being taken, he is wearing the Russian Army’s standard digital flora uniform, once again proving that we’re truly dealing with Russian military personnel. On the rear of the vehicle, darker olive paint has been used to conceal the tactical number of the R-166-0.5, eliminating any chance to identify the brigade the vehicle belongs to. Concealing the tactical number or any other identification marks became standard practice during the Ukrainian conflict.
this link takes a more pessimistic view on the issue and seems to imply that any russian involvement will end the same way it did for the west
Russia’s apparent escalation in Syria is less dramatic than it seems, but it still represents another depressing development in the ongoing nightmare of the Syrian civil war. While it appears no Russian troops are engaged in fighting, the volume of military cargo delivered from Russia to Syria by sea and air has significantly increased in the last couple of weeks. President Putin did assert that it was “premature” to talk about direct Russian participation in the yet-to-be-built coalition against the various terrorist groups in the country. And even though Putin says it, it might still be true. Clearly, putting scarce Russians troops on the ground to fight in a hopelessly stagnant civil war is not Moscow’s preferred path. Instead, the recent escalation probably reflects an effort to establish a position of strength from which to bring Moscow back into the center of the diplomacy over Syria. It won’t work, though Russian assistance and weapons to the regime may make the situation in Syria even worse for the population.
originally posted by: tsurfer2000h
a reply to: anticitizen
why are there US missile batteries deployed around russia?
Pretty sure that hasn't happened, and it won't happen in the future thanks to a little country called China.
But as Victor Suvorov, a member of Soviet military intelligence who defected to the West, explains, the Gulf War performance is misleading because the Soviets provided greatly simplified version of equipment for export to foreign nations, called “monkey models.” Suvorov writes:
It is intended that the `monkey-model’ approach will be used not only for building tanks, but for all other sorts of equipment-rockets, guns, aircraft, radio sets, etc. In peacetime these variants are turned out in large quantities, but they are only issued to countries friendly to the Soviet Union. I have seen two variants of the BMP-1 infantry combat vehicle-one which is issued to the Soviet army and another which is intended for the Soviet Union’s Arab friends.