The destruction of the Syrian air defense on June 22 by Turkish "Phantom" in the area of Latakia exacerbated an already very tense relations between Syria and Turkey, but contrary to the predictions of some experts who reject the probability of any large-scale armed confrontation I say why not?
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Mild reaction explained
One of the reasons why Turkey is limited to a large scale military demonstration, is its unwillingness to participate in a large regional war without the support of NAT, of which it is a part of. That is how the Turks acted in 2011, when the feud broke out in Libya. It was none other than Turkey had initiated transformation of the French-British operation against Qaddafi troops, undertaken at the initiative of the League of Arab States. Currently, only Russia and China, blocked the adoption of UN Security Council resolution required for the legitimation of NATO actions in Libyan scenario.
Another reason for the relatively mild reaction in Turkey and a tacit obstruction of war with Syria is the Turkish military command, thus demonstrating its relevance to the ongoing pressure on the army, including the arrest of the generals, the ruling Justice and Development Party, led by Prime Minister RT Erdogan.
It is possible that Turkish troops would have to fight on two fronts. In Syria - Syria's army and a local militia (in coastal areas), as well as with the Syrian Kurds (in the mountainous inland provinces). And in Turkey the fact that the Syrian Kurdistan is dominated by PKK militants who have entered an alliance with Damascus which has removed all restrictions on their activities. That is why the attack on Syria is fraught with long, bloody terrorist sabotage and guerrilla war in Turkey's Eastern Anatolia, with the inevitable participation of PKK units based in Iraqi Kurdistan.
It is no wonder that Turkey is currently limited to its own territory for establishing Syrian refugees camps (up to 40,000 people) and maintaining militants, training and equipment to be used in information warfare and subversive activities against Syria.
The delicate balance between Ankara and Damascus depends on many other factors. Erdogan took an aggressive stance, but he is not ready to escalate the conflict. Assad does not want war and tries to avoid it. In turn, the Gulf monarchies are doing everything possible to provoke the Turkish-Syrian conflict, but without much success.
Meanwhile, more news and economic impact is on the inner circle of the Syrian president. Sponsors and organizers of the Syrian civil war enrolled by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are hoping to initiate a coup in Damascus and to remove Assad by the hands of someone from his entourage. However, the prospects of this scenario is questionable, since it does not take into account close relationship to the highest echelons of the Syrian Alawite elite, in which, of course, there are differences, but they do not go beyond the line.
When Bashar al-Assad will be either eliminated or arrested, or leave the country, it does not guarantee the preservation of power and ownership of his Alawite clan and the resulting inevitable decline. Consequently, the betrayal of the highest echelons of the Syrian leadership is unlikely.
It should be noted that the key decisions in Syria are made firstly by "inner circle", which advises the president on major issues. The absolute leader of Anis - a mother and widow of Bashar Hafez Al-Assad. Besides it, this group includes the President's brother Maher al-Assad's cousin and chief bodyguard of President Dmitry Mashalish, curator of special services and adviser M. Nasif, Bashar's uncle and brother Anisa M. Mahlyuf, his son and Chief Treasurer of "family" P . Mahlyuf.
There is also a "second circle" of power managing weekly operational decisions, recommendations on the situation in the country, which are passed for sanctions on the implementation of the "inner circle": Shaukat A. - Assad's sister's husband, H. Bakhtiar - another curator of special services, M. Bahtiyan - Deputy al-Assad in the party, D. Raja - Minister of Defense and Turkmani - Assistant to the President.
Betrayal of some of the above persons are not excluded and theoretically is a legitimate scenario from the eyes Riyadh and Doha, with their own history of conspiracies and palace coups. However, the Syrian system of checks and balances, allows Hafez al-Assad the time to detect and neutralize a traitor for the sake of the collective interests of the clan.
Loose air defense and air force
However, the military pressure on the regime is on the rise: Syrian militant units, fueled by arms, receiving reinforcements, and continuous funding, do not reduce the activity. Another important area where exists concentrated efforts of anti-government groups, is the army. Transition of the troops to the enemies of Bashar al-Assad can play a key role by depriving Damascus from the only force that can effectively deal with the militants.
The main role for possible future interventions, the experience of Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya, where the Western bloc aircraft operated virtually free mode, suggests the neutralization of the Syrian air force and air defense. It not only minimizes the loss of the aggressors in the future, but now leave the government forces without air cover, which plays a major role in counter-terrorism operations. Anti-government propaganda provoked last May, led to the desertion and a partial shift of personal anti-aircraft missile battalion in the town of Homs. The day before the destruction of the Turkish reconnaissance aircraft, June 21, the Syrian air force pilot Colonel H. Hamad, fled to Jordan in the MiG-21. However, these incidents are disposable and do not become widespread.
A much more serious factor weakens Syria's air defenses (60,000 people), is the presence of considerable amounts of obsolete models of arms and military equipment. Combat readiness of some units is in question, although it does not apply to the entire system to protect the country from air strikes. Thus, according to media reports, Ukraine in 2002 provided Syrians several radar stations "Kolchuga", and Russia in 2008-2010 provided anti-aircraft missile and gun complexes "Pantsir-S1." Moscow also gave Damascus effective means of electronic warfare and to assist in the improvement of the S-125 (brought to the level of "Pechora-2M"). In 2007 a contract was signed for the delivery of eight medium-range air defense systems "Buk-2ME" between Russian Federation and Syria.
However, the implementation of Syrian contracts for the purchase of S-300PMU-2, modernization of MiG-29 fighter aircraft and purchase 24 MiG-29M/M2 are currently at least difficult if not impossible. The need to balance relations with the West, leads to conflict situations for Russian arms exports to Iran and Libya. The latter emphasizes the destructiveness of traditional Middle Eastern and Russian partnership.
Syria's air defense forces have in its composition two divisions, 25 air defense brigades (up to 150 cells), anti-aircraft artillery regiments and two brigades of radio troops. They are equipped with 685 launchers SAM (S-75 - 320, S-125 "Pechora" - 148 "Square" - 195, S-200VE - 44 "Wasp" - 60 "Beech" M2E - 18), 36 ZRPK "The armor-S1," MANPADS "Strela" and "needle" guns caliber 23, 37, 57 and 100 millimeters, the P-12, P-14, P-15, P-30, P-35, P-80 , altimeter PRV-13 and PRV-16. In the Syrian air defense of ground forces, there are 55 short-range air defense missile system (the "Strela-10" - 35 "Strela-1" - 20), 4000 MANPADS "Strela" and "needle", and 2000 anti-aircraft artillery guns (100 mm KS- 19, 57-mm C-60, 37-mm guns, ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" ZU-23-2). Fighter aircraft the Air Force has 309 aircraft (40 MiG-29s, 30 MiG-25, 80 MiG-23, 159 MiG-21), based on 21 airfield. All this is enough to cause some damage to the probable enemy, but a little to reflect the massive impact of modern air and naval forces of NATO.
The experience of the collision of aviation and air defense system of Syria with Israeli air force in Lebanon in 1982, the actions of the combat aircraft of the Jewish state above the Syrian territory up to the recent times (including operation on the destruction of nuclear facility in 2007) do not suggest optimism with respect to the ability of Damascus to wage war, by an order more powerful than that of Israel. But the attack on Syria will be applied from the outside, along with continuous attacks, sabotage and terrorist attacks with modern weapons of the militants inside the country.
Pressure from outside
The implementation of the measures taken by the government and the army of the Syrian Arab Republic to win the civil war and subdue probable aggression compounded by fuel shortages due to the sanctions of the EU (cessation of exports in petrol and diesel fuels). However, the effects of the embargo was partially mitigated by supply through international mediators (including AOT Trading and other Swiss companies, Venezuelan Sitgo). Thanks to cooperation with Venezuela in 2012, in the Syrian port of Baniyas was delivered more than 47,000 tons of gasoline and diesel fuel. However, the pressure on Cyprus and Switzerland, which largely depend on fuel sales to Syria, increases with the decrease in their ability to supply Damascus.
Washington, Brussels and Ankara continue to demand the removal of Assad from power and to contribute in this regard, a continuous and powerful diplomatic pressure is placed upon Russia and China. Pressure rises even more considering the campaign in the Arab and Western electronic and print media alleging Moscow’s for supporting Syrian dictator. The international community is talking about "the presence of three thousand Russian special forces in Syria", the supply of "attack helicopters" to Damascus and "Assad to be granted asylum on Russian territory." The disagreement of this propagandistic information campaign exists at the higher level, including the explicit contradictions which forced the Pentagon to disavow the words of the Secretary of State of the USA Hillary Clinton, demonstrate the spontaneity of the anti-Syrian actions of American management, lack of preparation in conducting goal-directed Near Eastern policy, departmental differences and weakening of the effectiveness of state machinery even in the questions, key for the US Administration during the pre-election period. All this coincides with the failures of NATO's military policy in general and in particular the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya
The new chairman of the Syrian opposition National Council (SNC) Abdelbasset Seida - a compromise figure. He is a Kurd, but is influential even among the Kurds. SNC has a deliberative forum, could not establish a propaganda and fundraising, is controlled by "Muslim Brotherhood", which together with secular National Coordinating Committee (NCC) organises opposition against Syrian government. The chances of conciliation between the parties are zero.
In the fighting on the side of Damascus, are currently involved Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Lebanese militias, "Hezbollah", included as instructors to conduct counter-terrorism and counterinsurgency operations. Hamas has not endorsed either Assad or his opponents, resulting in the overwhelming majority moving out of Syria and settled in Jordanian territory which currently has accumulated up to 80,000 Syrian refugees.
Factions of free Army (SSA) that make up the fighting against the Syrian Assad regime, on a regular basis are provided with modern weapons (including grenade launchers, mortars and heavy machine guns) and ammunition. In the near future is expected to supply the rebels anti-tank missiles and MANPADS from warehouses in Qatar, the United States and Germany at the expense of Riyadh and Doha. Quantities of arms and ammunition are received by Syrian opposition, mainly through Turkey and Lebanon.
Training of Syrian fighters in Turkey are engaged by American instructors, which confirms the U.S. intention to destroy the Assad regime, regardless of the outcome of diplomatic dialogue with Russia and China. Armament and funding of Islamist entities are carried out directly by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The influx of Islamists in the "holy war" against Damascus, included uncomfortable West's ally, the leader of "Al-Qaeda," Ayman al-Zawahiri, who has declared on February 11 “Jihad al-Assad”, calling on all Muslims, especially the Sunnis of Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq to join the "Syrian Revolution" and overthrow the anti-Islamic regime.
Literally, the successor to Osama bin Laden said, "other than removing the regime, there is no solution. Do not rely on the West and Turkey ... Allah is the only hope for our sacrifice, struggle and resistance. "
By the way, the funds allocated to the Syrian opposition, spent primarily for military purposes in spite of the advocate for the "protection of civilians and refugees," for humanitarian purposes from the beginning of the troubles allocated more than five million dollars. The main cash-flowed with the Assad regime fighters after the conference, "Friends of Syria" in Istanbul. This $500 million from the monarchies of the Gulf, listed by charitable foundations and special accounts in Turkish banks, $100 million appropriated by the SSA of Tripoli (in addition to the payment of expenses for the tickets, and treatment of the Libyan volunteers), and $150 million (for humanitarian purposes) from the EU.