Russian airstrikes in Syria

From A Closer Look On Syria
Jump to: navigation, search
See also Russian deployment in Syria
Wikipedia list the leaders of the two warring sides

In September 2015 Russia deployed a large contingent of air and land forces to Syria. On September 30 Russia launched airstrikes on ISIS, al-Nusra Front and other rebel groups, including ones created and supported by the US. The move came as a surprise to US officials and has been criticized by US proxy groups, including the White Helmets.

As of October 2, 2015 the Russian strike force consists of over 50 aircraft, including twelve Su-24s, twelve Su-25s, four Su-30s, six Su-34s and a number of helicopters.

The Russian defense minister announced on October 7, Putin's birthday, that four ships in the Caspian sea had fired 26 cruise missiles at 11 targets in Syria. Peskov: 'Successful launch was made possible due to the work of coordination center in Baghdad.' The center was formed by Russia, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. Missiles path was via Iran and Iraq -TASS quoting Peskov. Russian MOD released a video. Strike was said to be against IS targets. Some reports mention that Syrian army went on an attack at the same time.

Sources

Map

Video

Air Bases

15 Aug., 2016. "Russia deploys jets at Iranian airbase to combat insurgents in Syria", almasdarnews. Tu 22 M3 strategic bombers shown on photos, said to be made at Hamedan Air Base in western Iran.

16 Aug., 2016. First strikes from Hamadan air base in Iran by Russian Tu 22 M3 bombers were announced by Russian MoD

Targeting CIA-sponsored rebels

WSJ - Russia attacks CIA-backed rebels.png
  • Russian Airstrike in Syria Targeted CIA-Backed Rebels, U.S. Officials Say - Adam Entous, The Wall Street Journal, September 30, 2015
  • Western-backed Syrian rebel group says hit by Russian air strikes - Dasha Afanasieva, Reuters, Sep 30, 2015
    "The northern countryside of Hama has no presence of ISIS at all and is under the control of the Free Syrian Army," Major Jamil al-Saleh, who defected from the Syrian army in 2012, told Reuters via Skype.
    Saleh said his group had been supplied with advanced anti-tank missiles by foreign powers opposed to Assad.
    "In the early morning this aircraft conducted air strikes in Latamneh city. One targeted a civilian area, and the other targeted al-Izza," Saleh said, referring to his group which he said were set up around two years ago and has 1,500 fighters.
  • With One Bombing Run Russia Gets the US to Acknowledge CIA’s “Covert” Regime Change Forces - emptywheel, October 1, 2015
  • US, Russia To Deconflict in Syria. According to TASS version, American position was that military activity should be focused on ISIS; and that Russian strikes were not in ISIS stronghold areas; but Pentagon has 'no information' that strikes against pro-American/Western rebels already occurred. (According to Syrian and Russian sources, strikes may be supporting planned Syrian army advance in Hama province).
  • Russian Airstrikes in Syria Targeted 'NATO Created Mercenaries' - Sputnik, October 1, 2015 (The headline kind of says it all.)
  • Russia Carries Out Airstrikes in Syria for 2nd Day - ANNE BARNARD and ANDREW E. KRAMER, The New York Times, October 1, 2015
    The new round of strikes on Thursday — conducted with two models of Soviet-era warplanes, the Su-25 Frogfoot and Su-24 Fencer — was said by Mayadeen, a pro-Damascus news channel, to target the Army of Conquest, a coalition of insurgent groups that include the Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, the hard-line Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham and a range of less extreme Islamist groups — all of which oppose the Islamic State.
    Correction: Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to Sergey V. Lavrov. He is the Russian foreign minister, not, of course, the Soviet one (since the Soviet Union ceased to exist long ago).
  • Russia bombs CIA-trained Syrian rebels - Reuters, October 2, 2015
    Hassan Haj Ali, head of the Liwa Suqour al-Jabal rebel group that is part of the Free Syrian Army, told Reuters one of the targets was his group's base in Idlib province, struck by about 20 missiles in two separate raids. His fighters had been trained by the CIA in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, part of a program Washington says is aimed at supporting groups that oppose both Islamic State and Assad.
    "Russia is challenging everyone and saying there is no alternative to Bashar," Haj Ali said. He said the Russian jets had been identified by members of his group who once served as Syrian air force pilots.
    The group is one of at least three foreign-backed FSA rebel factions to say they had been hit by the Russians in the last two days.
  • 'Russia kills US-backed Syrian rebels in second day of air strikes as Iran prepares for ground offensive' - Raziye Akkoc, and Roland Oliphant, The Telegraph, 02 October 2, 2015
  • U.S. assessment on Russia in Syria: A 'strategic blunder' - Elise Labott, CNN, October 2, 2015
    And while U.S. officials have no plans to cede Russia any ground, they also said it appears that Russian President Vladimir Putin made a dramatic chess move that the Russians have not thought through -- one official even called it a "strategic blunder." Had the Russians been clear that they are providing support in Syria to prevent Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regime's collapse -- a scenario that would benefit ISIS -- they might have gotten some credit on the world stage. But their very first strikes in the region hit CIA-backed anti-Assad rebel forces, Arizona Republican John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Thursday on CNN's "New Day."
  • "They're Hopping Mad In The US And Saudi Arabia": Russian Strikes In Syria Spark Epic Western Media Propaganda Blitz - ZeroHedge, October 2, 2015
  • By Bombing Terrorists in Syria Russia Hits Washington's Raw Nerve - Sputnik, October 2, 2015
    Russia is undoubtedly bombing insurgents supported by the US, but that is only because Washington has intentionally supported Al Qaeda and ISIL in Syria, geopolitical researcher Tony Cartalucci remarks.
  • U.S. Concludes Russia Targeting CIA-Backed Rebels in Syria - Adam Entous, The Wall Street Journal, October 5, 2015
    U.S. officials say they now believe the Russians have been directly targeting CIA-backed rebel groups that pose the most direct threat to Mr. Assad since the campaign began on Wednesday, both to firm up regime positions and to send a message to Mr. Obama’s administration.
  • Russian warplanes in Syria destroy U.S.-trained rebels' weapons depots: commander - Reuters, October 7, 2015
    The Liwa Suqour al-Jabal, whose fighters have attended military training organized by the Central Intelligence Agency in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, was also hit last week by Russian raids as Moscow began its air campaign in support of Damascus.
    New strikes targeted the group's main weapons depots in western Aleppo province and completely destroyed them late on Tuesday, its commander Hassan Haj Ali told Reuters on Wednesday via an Internet messaging service.

Facebook bans Russian MoD videos

Facebook has applied a form of soft censorship to select Russian MoD combat videos on YouTube. The link does not render properly: no image, no tile. This is a technique Facebook sometimes does to suppress unwanted content. Other MoD videos are rendered normally.

The banned videos all seem to be related to strikes on CIA "assets" in Syria, particularly airstrike on a CIA / FSA arms depots in the Jisr al-Shughur district. This may be an indication that a a US citizen died in the Russian airstrike shown.

Banned videos

The ban has even been extended to this Moon of Alabama article on the strikes.

Targets

Ltamenah cave compound

Tajamu Ala'azza" HQ in Ltamenah (location, map)

3-level headquarters

  • First struck at daytime on September 30. See MoD video at 0:27
  • Struck again at nighttime on the morning of October 1. The first strike was not very accurate, as seen by the craters left on the field. See MoD video at start

Mountain Hawks Brigade training camp

The Mountain Hawks Brigade is a CIA funded rebel group and part of the al-Nusra-led Army of Conquest

Raqqa mountain bunker

"Su-34 bombers destroyed an ISIS hardened command centre near Raqqah using a concrete-piercing bomb BETAB-500. The direct hit of the aerial weapon at the mountain facility caused detonation of explosives and multiple fires which completely destroyed the object"-Russian MoD video. (Follows earlier US criticism for using dumb bombs and targeting non-ISIS areas).

  • Russia’s Secret War on the CIA in Syria - Gordon Duff, VT, October 2, 2015
    Today’s Russian attack on a command post killed very few al Qaeda leaders. What it did do is kill Turkish, Saudi and Qatari officers, over a dozen, maybe more, according to Syrian reconnaissance units in the area.
    The command post was hit by SU34 aircraft dropping conventional bunker buster munitions. The post, built by Turkish engineers back in 2013, under up to 40 feet of bedrock, 3 stories deep and capable of supporting up to 300 foreign fighters and their Turkish commanders.

Aleppo

5.10.2015, tvzvezda.ru: Russian Su-34 destroyed headquarters and a control point of the "IS" militants in the vicinity of Dayr Hafir and Al-Bab in the Syrian province of Aleppo.

Mountain Hawks HQ in Aleppo

October 4

Jisr al-Shugur area

These are not ISIS ammunition dumps, but most likely "FSA" weapons distribution points somewhere near the Turkish border. Most likely CIA employees, including US citizens where nearby.
Note, that FSA has long ago ceased to be an army. It now serves as a trademark for the US / CIA weapons supply chain. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 17:02, 4 October 2015 (UTC)

October 14

SANA reports "Russian Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday that Russian air force struck 40 sites for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the countryside of Aleppo, Idleb, Lattakia, Hama and Deir Ezzor in the past 24 hours." Targets include a vehicle armorin facility, a bomb workshop, a training camp, a couple of headquarters, and "workshops near Aleppo used by terrorists to make explosive devices for suicide bombers."

Russia ups the campaign

17.11.15 Russia launches cruise missiles, independent.co.uk, 17.11.15.

The Russian military has fired multiple cruise missiles from its ships in the Mediterranean aimed at the Isis stronghold of Raqqa, according to reports. US officials were quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying Russia had launched a "significant number" of strikes in Syria using both sea-launched cruise missiles and long-range bombers.


Massive air strikes by long range bombers reported ,- White Swans and Bears on the video.

Russian MOD release. }}

Direct ally-sort interaction of Russian and French navies to be established, according to Russian side. -Agreed during Putin conversation with Hollande, according to Peskov. No such interaction with the US, apart from some information exchange. Russia expressed "many times" a wish to have such interaction.

France 24 on interaction: a joint targeting would require common overall approach, not quite there yet
Assad interview, Valeurs Actuelles 15.11.15 . (Suggests that common approach is some way off...)

23.11.2015 Russian airstrike on facilities of oil production, storage and processing (Deir ez-Zor province) -video

30.11.2015 After the soot down of Russian Su 24 by Turkey, SU 34 are now carrying air-to-air missiles, in addition to bombs-report. (Air defenses were also upgraded, including S-400 on the ground and Fort (S-300) on Moskva ship).

Losses

  • 24.11.2015 SU 24 plane was shot down in Syria near Turkish border (rusvesna) One pilot was killed, apparently on the ground by rebels (rusvesna). Another pilot survived.
Pilot video, Al Sham Front, FSA
"Alpaslan Celik, a deputy commander in a Syrian Turkmen brigade, holds the handles of what is believed to be part of a parachute used when the Russian warplane was shot down", seen on BBC and on this video (says it was maneuvering while bombing them, and they are not in Turkey...)
Syrian Turkmens of Liwa al-Salajiqah have joined Jaysh al-Thuwar (#FSA) (same Turkmens?) Who are the Turkmen in Syria?-BBC.
  • Turkey claims it shot down the plane CNN. NATO consultations are announced.

Turkey distributes a map claiming that the plane briefly entered Turkish airspace.

More on Turkish version: Rusvesna and cnnturk_eng. "The red line denotes the trajectory of the Su-24, gray - F-16, and turquoise - the border of Syria and Turkey" (rusvesna)...
  • Surviving pilot (plane navigator) denied a possibility that their plane could stray into Turkish territory. He said that there was no warning on their radio or visually. Missile approached the plane from the rear, they did not see it incoming and did not perform an avoidance maneuver.
BBC translated part of the interview, and links what Turkish military said is a warning recording (can't hear much there, and no guarantee that was on the right channel and actually heard by SU 24 crew).
  • Russian MOD stated that the plane did not violate Turkish airspace, and was shot by a Turkish F-16. According to Russian military, this is confirmed by Russian and Syrian objective control data; moreover, Turkish plane violated Syrian airspace. No contact attempts were made by Turkey- TASS
Russian jet exploded in Syrian airpace: U.S. official- Reuters (breaking news; gone?) here on twitter. TASS, quoting reuters or media sources, provides some details that this is based on heat trail and that it was shot in Syria after brief incursion to Turkish airspace (as the story goes now...). While on news-yahoo we got:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States believes that the Russian jet shot down by Turkey on Tuesday was hit inside Syrian airspace after a brief incursion into Turkish airspace, a U.S. official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. The official said that assessment was based on detection of the heat signature of the jet. (Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

Our plane was shot down over Syrian territory with an "air-air" missile by a Turkish F-16 aircraft, and fell into Syria 4 kilometers from the border with Turkey. It was in the air when it came under attack, at an altitude of 6000 meters , at a distance of one kilometer from the Turkish territory

. Lavrov cancels a trip to Turkey scheduled for the following day, 25.11. Russian FM advised Russian citizens against travel to Turkey.

--Resup (talk) 11:46, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
  • One Russian soldier died in rescue mission .

SOHR claims that a helicopter (apparently searching for pilots) was damaged by a TOW missile-no confirmation otherwise -reuters. Some social media videos which may be related are on rusvesna

BBC: "More on Russian soldier killed in rescue mission Posted at 18:37 The Russian soldier killed during a search and rescue mission for the crew of the shot-down warplane was on board a helicopter downed by rebel fire, Russia's military has said. A military spokesman said it was one of two helicopters taking part in the operation. The rest of the crew were evacuated and taken to the air base used by Russia in Syria".

Head of the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Lieutenant-General Sergey Rudskoy-Interfax

For the purpose of evacuation of Russian pilots from the landing site a search and rescue operation was carried out involving two Mi-8 helicopters. During the operation, as a result of small-arms fire one of the helicopters was damaged and made a forced landing in a neutral territory. One Russian Marine, serving under a contract, was killed

Story and linked video on downed helicopter team rescue by Syrian army (Marat Musin contributor to the video) - on rusvesna. On the video, they say that missile contrail was West to East and so they conclude that the missile was launched from Syria. Su-24 was performing a bombing maneuver at the time.

Russian MOD report includes a video showing map of the incident. Also here on Lifenews.

S-300 (or a version of) will be also deployed on the ground, according to comments by Putin.

  • Consequences?
For one, tough job for Hollande now on his Moscow trip. Asking Kremlin to drop Assad now will be a nonstarter of the century...

27.6. 2016 Eventually, and after Brexit, Erdogan apologized for the downing of SU-24 -TASS. The message was received in Kremlin; no immediate reaction is known. --Resup (talk) 14:58, 27 June 2016 (UTC)

It also emerged that specialists are questioning the language used (kusura bakmasınlar, which is google translated as apologize; quoted expert translation to Russian is softer (не взыщите- do not hold it against me)

BM-30 Smerch

TOS-1A in the title? TOS-1A is a heavy flamethrower 'Solntsepek', similar to 'Buratino', -incendiary or thermobaric warheads. There was a report on rusvesna quoting Syrian sources that it is arriving there... -RS

Rebel allegations

Russia strikes White Helmets!
  • Syrian rebels say Russia targets them rather than Islamic State - Anne Barnard, The New York Times, September 30, 2015 (mirror)
    “They are the most violent strikes,” says a man filming the grim aftermath of what he asserts was a Russian air attack on the town of Talbiseh, in the Homs province of Syria. “This is the Russian criminal regime.”

Civilians killed

  • September 30: Russia's first day of bombing, opposition sources claim, took the lives of at least 17 civilians in Homs province alone, in the Talbisah area, per HRW Oct. 9 report. The VDC lists 43 civilians from Homs killed in the day's Russian strikes. One, however, is a rebel commander (see below).
  • October 15, alleged Russian strike kills 70 civilians, half of them women and children, again in the Ter Maala-Ghanto-Talbisah area of Homs. Syria blames Jabhat al-Nusra for a deliberate massacre to frame them. Special coverage: Ter Maala Massacre

No Rebels Killed?

(or, VDC records on civilian vs. militant deaths from alleged Russian bombing)--Caustic Logic (talk) 05:50, 24 October 2015 (UTC)

By some sources at least, it seems, Russia's first air strikes not only failed to kill ISIS/Daesh or even al-Nusra terrorists, but failed to kill any fighters at all, CIA-backed or otherwise. The VDC has 199 martyrs as of October 23 killed by warplane shelling with "Russia" in the notes, mainly saying "Killed due to airstrikes by Russian forces inside Syria territory." So far five are listed as militants and 194 as civilians (but some sources like the SOHR cite militants killed in some events the VDC lists none for and at least one of the dead commanded a rebel fighting unit).

Some of these incidents, by day:

  • September 30: 43 civilians, all of them from Homs, killed on Sept. 30, all listed as civilian. 27 adult males, 7 boys, 7 women, 2 girls, with nearly all females hailing from nearby Zafarana. This pattern is familiar; it's just how VDC lists Syrian government air strikes. Some families were hard-hit; Latouf, Jouma, Tawel, and two similar names; 2 named Dheak, which seems different from the name al-Deek on 2 others, one being a prominent rebel fighter perhaps working with ISIS (see below) but here listed as civilian. How many others are listed wrong is unclear.
  • October 3 11 civilians in Idlib province (8 men, 3 women, no children)
  • October 6 15 civilians killed in Palmyra, Homs - all adult males, all unidentified. Russia has denied bombing Palmyra at all.
  • October 7 13 civilians in Idlib (4 men, 2 women, a boy and a girl) and Aleppo (2 women, a boy and a girl) and finally one listed rebel fighter, from Idlib.
  • October 10 5 unidentified civilian men from somewhere in Aleppo province
  • October 15 70 civilians killed, including 35 named Assaf
  • October 20 13 civilian men killed

... much later: The Guardian reports December 30 the SOHR has calculated 2,371 people killed by Russian airstrikes. They credit 655 Islamic State fighters, 924 other opposition fighters, and "792 civilians, among them 180 children.". The way Russian jets were blamed for a specific incident isn't clarified here, but elsewhere (this article, for example])it's methods like this: "Syrians differentiate between government air raids and Russian airstrikes, which involve aircraft generally flying at much higher altitudes." And if no aircraft was involved, as we've proven for the August 16 Douma Market Attack, it's whichever they meant to blame (no Russians involved then, so it was Syrian).

VDC updates as of December 30: 1,171 people killed by "warplane shelling" with "Russia" in the notes. These are 32 non-civilian martyrs (rebel fighters, not necessarily exahaustive) including 3 listed as ISIS martyrs. The remainder is 1,139 civilians, including 686 men, 183 women, 189 boys, and only 81 girls.

As I recall, Russian AF in its press briefings says that no civilians were killed in Russian AF strikes at all, and those claiming otherwise do not / cannot have actual evidence supporting their claims ... --Resup (talk) 11:40, 31 December 2015 (UTC)
Like for example here, not enough details of death ( body location, photo of the body/person), or the personal detail (age, occupation, family). It is basically an electronic database entry with name and Russian AF as cause of death, with not enough detail to prove or disprove the claim. There is lots of land fighting and lots of strikes by all sides. 30 VDC activists in Syria is insufficient to really handle even what happened, even less who is to blame. The way their records look suggest that 'stove-piping' blame may be involved --Resup (talk) 11:51, 31 December 2015 (UTC).

Talbisah

As claimed by rebels

AP, September 30: Syrian Group Says Russian Strikes Killed 36 (civilians)

The Syrian National Council opposition group says Russian airstrikes north of Homs city killed 36 civilians, including five children and one member of the civil defense units known as the White Helmets.
Khaled Khoja, leader of the group, says at a press conference at the United Nations Wednesday that the strikes also hit a base for the Free Syrian Army but resulted in no casualties. He said there are no Islamic State group forces in the four areas struck Wednesday.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin denies the killing of civilians, calls the charge part of the informationwarRT). Strikes in the Talbisah area were not denied.

The Radicalenzyme map places 4 strikes in Talbisah and Rastan to the north on September 30 and one nearby to the south the following day. One September 30 impact is labeled "Russian jets reportedly hit the bread distribution depot which also served as the HQ of the Local civilian council. According to the local field hospital all the dead where civilians. Reports of 11 killed and 20 wounded." Another just north of it says "Iyad Deek commander of Homs Liberation Movement was killed by a Russian air strike."

Video: ("paneling" = Talbisah)


Iyad Deek and ISIS in Rastan

Iyad Qasem al-Deek ( أياد قاسم الديك ) was "a prominent rebel leader in north Homs province," a Captain in the Syrian military "who defected in the uprising." (National Post) He came to lead a "Khalid ibn al-Walid Battalion" in Rastan, near al-Houla, by early 2012; A video (now pulled) showed ‏@SeekerSK 5 Feb 2012 Lieutenant Iyad Al Deek announces the liberation of Rastan in a complete manner #Syria. But some follow-up ensued; http://youtu.be/UlK3XyZDUnQ In mid-May the battalion took over some army base, destroying at least one T-54 tanks and one BMP type infantry fighting vehicle.

He was reportedly killed in one of the Russian strikes in this area on September 30.@Abduhark Sep 30: "FSA Captain Iyad al-Deek was killed in the Russian air strikes in north Homs." The Radicalenzyme map says (based on unclear sources) that Deek was "commander of Homs Liberation Movement" when Russian bombs killed him on the 30th. Their site, Homs-l-m.com, published a statement on Sept. 30 (Arabic) also claiming the commander's death from Russian aerial attack.

In between, less is known aside from, as as Yallasouriya noted on January 10, 2014

#ISIS have kidnapped Captain Iyad al-Deek commander of Khalid ibn al-Walid Battalion #Rastan #Homs

Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com puts these together and now writes:

Free Syrian Army commander is reported killed by a Russian air strike, and yet it appears that very same commander was kidnapped by ISIS last year.

It's not clear if he was simply released, agreed to cooperate, or what. Unverified sources say Russia has him under the ISIS umbrella. "According to Konashenkov, Wednesday's airstrikes - which, he said, had been ordered directly by Russian President Vladimir Putin - had targeted Daesh munitions depots, vehicles and communications centers. A division of the Islamic State, Iyad-Al-Deek terrorist group, has lost its leader." (see here) (see also here)

Deek's VDC entry - he was killed alongside a boy relative (no age given). Iyad has notes "Killed due to airstrikes by Russian forces inside Syria territory." No rank specified (FSA, ISIS, etc.) In fact, he's listed as a civilian.

There are at least 3 alleged points in support of an ISIS presence in Rastan, although it's not otherwise known of:

  1. As FAIR reports, AFP reported Sept. 21 (nine days before the strike)
"The Islamic State jihadist group executed nine men and a boy it accused of being gay in central and northern Syria on Monday, a monitoring group said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the jihadists shot dead seven men in Rastan, a town in Homs province of central Syria, “after accusing them of being homosexual.” (photo not connected)
  1. 2 ISIS managed to abduct capt. Deek, presumably in or near Rastan.
  2. 3 Tentative claims Deek was an agent of ISIS after that, perhaps bolstered by their ability to execute people there so recently.

Ground forces?

Russian cruise missiles fired from the Crimean Sea
  • 30.9.15 Authorization by Russian parliament was given at a closed meeting. Press reports stress that only aerial campaign is authorized, but not a ground force. (It is also stated, in the manner of justification, that over 2000 Russians and many ex-USSR fighters are participating in hostilities on the anti-government /IS side, and they pose danger returning home).
  • 2.10.15 Kadyrov offers to send a force to Syria if ordered by Putin.
  • 5.10.15 NY Times:"Kremlin Says Russian ‘Volunteer’ Forces Will Fight in Syria"
  • Syria Ground War Imminent? U.S. Accuses Russia Of Launching Syrian Land Campaign - ZeroHedge, October 5, 2015

Western reaction

Another BC , appearing well-funded, effort, and a database. The aim is clearly stated: expose and draw attention to alleged human rights violations committed by the Russian forces in Syria (despite nearly all the rest of the world involved, one way or another, in there). I do not plan to work on this, as 'BC' methods are well known from the past, and dealing with this latest pile is too big and unattractive a job, IMO. It's curious to see how on one hand, Western establishment appears getting involved with Russia to resolve the crisis. On the other hand, there is this pseudo-'independent' effort to blame Russia, and almost surely, also undeclared effort to do harm, as much as possible. But this undeclared or pseudo-'independent part is clearly seen for what it is, and with that well known, what are the chances that anything good will transpire in Syria, or elsewhere in undeclared war? It is already at the stage of active militarization, and this obvious and deliberate bias and underhand just adds justification to have more, not less. I looked at one video, from this database record. Well, it shows a crater, somewhere. And so ? --Resup (talk) 00:18, 14 May 2016 (UTC)

Russia's objective?

Vladimir Putin interviewed by Vladimir Soloviev, TV channel 'Russia', 11.10.2015 transcript

...active phase of our work in Syria will be limited in time by the offensive operation period of the Syrian army itself. Our goal is to stabilize the legitimate authority and to create conditions to seek a political compromise

Public reaction in Russia

  • Initial reaction: 72 % supported airstrikes against IS-- Levada Center poll (63 % would support such strikes by France). Yet about half feel that this may turn into another Afghanistan, so broader ground operation is out of favor.
  • Opposition channel Echo of Moscow reports that in their poll, 85 % of their listeners were against air strikes; in response to that, the channel comes up with some arguments in favor (of anti-ISIS sort).
  • Levada pollster writes a piece for Moscow Carnegie center, apparently based on some focus group discussions. He believes that support for strikes is based on anti-US, geopolitical agenda, as presented in the media, while the conflict itself, and its human dimension, is felt as rather remote.

Accusations of war crimes

Russian response stresses 'stock phrases' (suspected Russian air attacks may have violated international law ) , lack of evidence, presence of highly mobile rebel tactical units which are legitimate targets, including ratmobiles ('stock phrase' synonym is cliché)

Analysis