Strike from the sea: as Russia for the first time used a carrier battle group in Syria


A big operation

Russia began a large military operation in Syria, reported on Tuesday the head of state, Minister of defence Sergei Shoigu. At the meeting with Vladimir Putin, held in Sochi, the Minister said that for the first time in the history of the Russian Navy in combat operations involved aircraft-carrying cruiser “Admiral Kuznetsov”, which “started to run” su-33. The operation also involved the frigate “Admiral Grigorovich”, carrying cruise missiles “Caliber” and coastal missile systems “Bastion”.

They made missiles at targets deep in Syria. Strikes, according to Shoigu, was applied on positions of the banned Russian groups ISIS and “Jabhat Fatah al-sham” in the provinces of Idlib and HOMS. According to Reuters, ISIS was not present, but there are other terrorist groups that are close to “Jabhat Fatah al-sham”. The exact areas the Minister did not mention. Before the operation was conducted in a “careful and thorough” investigation, which revealed the location of ammunition depots, training centres of illegal armed formations, and plant for the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction, said the defense Minister.

At the same time the Syrian air force bombed a district of Aleppo, said “RIA Novosti”, citing a source in the Syrian army. The representative of the Ministry of defense of Russia Igor Konashenkov said that the Russian air operations in Aleppo and are not involved.

This significantly strengthened the protection of Russian military facilities in Syria. To placed there in November of last year complex s-400 was joined by the s-300 (according to Sergei Shoigu, he could “close for the offshore part, including almost Cyprus”), as well as the already mentioned coastal complexes “Bastion” (“closed virtually all coast”). “Bastion” capable of hitting targets at a distance up to 450 km and will actually cover up the Russian naval group. To defend against low-flying targets are “Pantsir”. Also, over the last four months was restored to the Syrian s-200, which cover East, or support the system of air defense of Russian bases in Tartous and Mamimi.

“Admiral Kuznetsov”, part of a group of military ships reached the Eastern Mediterranean on 4 November, and his campaign have commented extensively on Western politicians and the media. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the end of October expressed concern that the participation of Russian sea group in the fighting could lead to the escalation of violence in Syria.

Strengthening coastal protection, Moscow protect against a possible landing of foreign troops of the international coalition conducting its operation in Syria, says military expert Viktor murakhovski.

After a great conversation

There is an obvious link between the completion of the presidential elections in the United States and the intensification of Russian actions in Syria, said the Director of the Center for analysis of middle East conflicts of the Institute of USA and Canada Alexander Shumilin. In his opinion, Moscow could decide that Barack Obama can change the strategy in Syria to begin a more active campaign, and therefore decided on a “big campaign”.

From 18 October, Russia and Syria inflicted air strikes in Aleppo; according to the defense Ministry, Russian military aircraft ceased from that day sorties. The operation is resumed on the next day after the conversation with Vladimir Putin elected President of the United States Donald trump. On Monday, the interlocutors, as reported by the press service of the Kremlin, “has divided opinion about the necessity of joining efforts in the fight against the common enemy is international terrorism and extremism” and discussed the Syrian crisis.

According to the program Director of the Valdai club and head of the Agency “Foreign policy” Andrew Sushentsov, the Russian operation in Syria has its own logic, which does not depend on the American presidential campaign. Sushentsov recalled that earlier, Putin compared the actions in Syria with the teachings; in this vein, political scientist and offers to look the part in the campaign, “Admiral Kuznetsov”. It is, indeed, the first such experience, however, the situation in Syria, he will not significantly change.

Agree Victor murakhovski. In his opinion, to speak about the crisis situation in Syria after the start of participation of the Russian sea group is impossible. “A fracture is ensured by the ground forces on earth. Lose objects complicates the actions of the terrorists, but the fracture will not”, — says the expert.

According to Sushentsov, Russia in Syria is now faced with the same problems that the United States previously in Afghanistan, when large targets for airstrikes is getting smaller and for the success of the campaign is the need for action on land.

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