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Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.
Russian Airstrikes in Syria:
A New Phase in the Local War and East-West Geopolitical Maneuverings
The Buildup of Russian Airbridge to Syria: Flightradar24, an online flight tracker, shows an Ilyushin Il-62M (NATO reporting name: Classic) headed for the Syrian coast after using a route via Belarus – Poland – Serbia to avoid closed airspaces 10 September 2015
This week’s snapshot focuses on Moscow’s inaugural airstrikes in Syria. The entry of Russian airpower began after Syria monitors observed an influx of Russian personnel and a buildup of the regime’s coastal strongholds in the past month. Governments of the western-led coalition against the Islamic State are concerned Russia’s airstrikes are part of a campaign to degrade all opposition to al-Assad, including Western-backed factions. Russia’s direct entry into the Syrian conflict is the Kremlin’s first major military engagement outside the former Soviet Union since the Soviet-Afghan War in 1979.
News summary of events during the week of 28SEP 15 – 05OCT15
Sample of Twitter handles tweeting about the Russian Federation’s military operations in Syria
Sample of Third Party Validators regarding the Russian Federation’s military operations in Syria
Anthony H. Cordesman, Arleigh Burke Chair in Strategy, the Center for Strategic and International Studies
“What [Russian military involvement in Syria] already has shown…is that Putin can and will exploit the use of military forces as political weapons in hybrid or asymmetric political warfare.”
Vali Nasr, Dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University
“Regardless of how much complaining we do about Russian intervention, or how skeptical we are that they can actually succeed, the fact of the matter is that they have taken over the facts on the ground. They have been much more aggressive in talking to everybody and everybody has been willing to talk to them, whereas in the case of the US, we have been talking about doing diplomacy but our diplomacy is not actually in practice.”
Jeffrey Mankoff, Fellow and Deputy Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program, the Center for Strategic and International Studies
“Russia’s always had the challenge of not having great maritime access, just as a result of its geography, and so to the extent that it wants to be an active player in [the Mediterranean] … it has to have some ability to operate outside of its own coastal waters.”
Ruslan Pukhov, defense expert and director of the Center for Analysis of Strategic Technologies in Moscow
“[Russia] is basically novices in this type of war. And when you are a novice, you are doomed to commit some kinds of mistakes. Hopefully not deadly ones, but obviously there is a risk of casualties.”
Julien Barnes-Dacey, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations
“The Russian intervention is a massive setback for those states backing the opposition, particularly within the region – Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey – and is likely to elicit a strong response in terms of a counter-escalation.”
Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to the Russian Federation’s military operations in Syria
1. Putin does not rule out Russian strikes in Syria
Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Date: 28 September 2015
United Nations, United States, Sept 28, 2015 (AFP) – President Vladimir Putin said Monday that Russia had not ruled out air strikes in support of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s forces in their battle against jihadist rebels.
2. U.S., Russia to Begin Talks On Military Activity In Syria
Media: Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
Date: 29 September 2015
The U.S. and Russian militaries will hold talks on their activities against the Islamic State group in Syria, the Pentagon announced September 29.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has directed his staff to “open lines of communication with Russia,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said.
3. UPDATE: Russia ‘carries out Syria strikes’
Date: 30 September 2015
Russia appears to have begun carrying out airstrikes in Syria against opponents of President Bashar al-Assad, US officials say.
4. Syrian insurgent groups vow to attack Russian forces
Media: Associated Press
Date: 05 October 2015
BEIRUT (AP) — More than 40 Syrian insurgent groups vowed to attack Russian forces in retaliation for Moscow’s air campaign in a show of unity among the usually fragmented rebels against what they called the “occupiers” of Syria.
The 41 groups, which included powerful factions such as Ahrar al-Sham, Islam Army and the Levant Front, said Russia joined the war in Syria after President Bashar Assad’s forces were on the verge “of a crushing defeat.”
5. UPDATE: Syrian rebel groups call for alliance against Russian military intervention
Media: Xinhua (China)
Date: 05 October 2015
DAMASCUS, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) — Several Syrian rebel groups called on regional countries to form an alliance against the Russian-led coalition pummeling them, according to a statement released Monday.
In the statement, over 41 rebel groups, including the powerful Ahrar al-Sham Movement, deemed the Russian military intervention in Syria as an “occupation,” and urged regional countries to form a coalition in order to face the Russian-led coalition which also includes Iran, Iraq and Syria.
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