by John Galt
September 10, 2015 21:30 ET
The story above is from September 7th, via CNN and tonight the news via Reuters has accelerated the crisis to an entire new level:
From the story above:
Russian forces have begun participating in military operations in Syria in support of government troops, three Lebanese sources familiar with the political and military situation there said on Wednesday.
The sources, speaking to Reuters on condition they not be identified, gave the most forthright account yet from the region of what the United States fears is a deepening Russian military role in Syria’s civil war, though one of the Lebanese sources said the number of Russians involved so far was small.
U.S. officials said Russia sent two tank landing ships and additional cargo aircraft to Syria in the past day or so and deployed a small number of naval infantry forces.
The U.S. officials, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said the intent of Russia’s military moves in Syria was unclear. One suggested the focus may be on preparing an airfield near the port city of Latakia, a stronghold of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
U.S. officials have not ruled out the possibility that Russia may want to use the airfield for air combat missions.
What is disturbing in addition to the provocations by the US blocking air routes over Bulgaria, is that now the Middle East is witnessing a conflict zone where Russian military cargo aircraft, Turkish, and US warplanes are operating in the same airspace!
The Russians of course replied by claiming that they have provided Western governments with the full scope of their operation in Syria (Sept. 9 via ITAR-TASS):
Kremlin believes, the Russian Foreign Ministry provided full information on the Russian military who allegedly were dispatched to Syria and it does not comment on the media reports on an increase in the number of Russian soldiers there, President Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.
“There’s nothing I could add to what the Foreign Ministry had said already,” he said. “It presented exhaustive information.”
Based on the reports thus far, it would appear that the Russians are reinforcing three key areas in Syria around Damascus, Latakia, and their naval base in Tartus. What I can also foresee is a joint Russia-Syrian ‘no fly zone’ being imposed over the western third of the nation as a ground offensive designed to destroy the rebels in Assad’s home areas and drive ISIS and whatever other forces are left into Turkey, Jordan, and back into Iraq. Per the crude map I have drawn up below, the five point offensive will probably begin in earnest over the winter as the logistics situation becomes dire due to the addition of Russian air support to the operation.
If they Syrian government with direct Russian military involvement is successful in establishing a defensive line around Damascus and cutting off the rebels in the Dimashq and north of Aleppo, then the rebellion would begin to collapse without direct Turkish and US military involvement. It is quite a brilliant strategy and very dangerous at the same time. If any side makes a miscalculation and somehow a Russian fighter plane shoots down an Israeli or Turkish aircraft or vice-versa, all bets may well be off as to the actions which occur after that moment. World War III is destined to begin due to incompetence and miscalculation; for the purposes of fulfilling the prophecies of all the major religions, Damascus might as well be the starting point.