Speaking at a press conference in Brussels, U.S. permanent representative to NATO Douglas Lute said that in Syria created by the Russian group to a battalion (about 1,000 people), equipped with artillery, missiles, long-range, modern tanks, air defense systems and combat helicopters.
“Let’s see what they are going to do. There is reason to believe that these forces sent to Syria not only to protect the air base” — quoted ever was The Wall Street Journal.
The U.S. representative to NATO also reported that Russia has increased its naval grouping in the Mediterranean sea to 10 ships.
In mid-September, the TV station ABC News, citing an American source said that in Syria, in addition to aircraft from Russia were sent helicopter gunships Mi-17 and Mi-24, 36 armoured personnel carriers, nine T-90 tanks and two missile air defense system.
An American source claimed that at the base in Latakia were 500 Russian soldiers. On September 22, sources Financial Times reported about plans of Russia to place in Latakia 2000 of coats cover. It was about as technical staff and soldiers, who must guard the base. In evaluating the possible number of the personnel at the airbase in Latakia, the sources of the newspaper in Western military circles noted that it is commensurate with the number of people necessary for the functioning bases of the Western coalition, for example in Afghanistan.
October 5, citing two unnamed representatives of the U.S. Department of defense TV channel si-EN-EN has informed that Russia is preparing for a ground operation in Syria. The sides of the TV channel said that Russia is increasing “ground operation” in Syria to support the government army in fighting against opponents of President Bashar al-Assad.
The sources of si-EN-EN said that the ground weapons of Russia consists of artillery and four reactive systems of volley fire BM-30 “Smerch”. The TV station said that this weapon was seen between the cities of HOMS and Idlib.
Press Secretary of Vladimir Putin Dmitry Peskov in response recalled the words of the President of Russia that Moscow will not hold in Syria ground operation. “Si-EN-EN and could be confused. They confuse Putin with Yeltsin,” — said Peskov.
The US Ambassador to NATO said Wednesday that because of Russian air strikes there is a danger of conflict between the aircraft of the Russian air force and aircraft operating on behalf of the US-led international coalition. He stressed that in this respect, important contacts between the Russian and coalition military.
October 1, the United States and Russia held first consultations to avoid conflicts in the sky over Syria. 7 October, an unnamed us official told Reuters that Russia announced its readiness to resume consultations with Washington. This idea was supported and the head of the Pentagon Ashton Carter. Deputy defense Minister Anatoly Antonov confirmed that the military in the two countries are working on a joint document on this issue.
October 6, the U.S. military reported the first visual contact with the aircraft of Russia in Syria. According to the commander of the U.S. air force Charles brown, the distance between Russian and U.S. aircraft was about 20 miles (32 km).
Sources: Institute for the Study of War, the air force, the defense Ministry.