Russian wings over Syria

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

RUSSIAN jets are pounding terrorist positions in northern Syria. Hundreds of terrorists have surrendered to the Syrian authorities in the south of the country in return for an amnesty while thousands of others are fleeing to Jordan and Turkey to escape the devastating Russian air raids. Meanwhile the Kurdish militia, which controls most of the autonomous area along the border with Turkey, have welcomed the raids and called on the Kremlin to provide their self-defence units with air-cover and arms drops.

The Russian navy is preparing to deliver armaments and artillery strikes against the rebels according to the force’s former commander and current Duma defence committee head amid reports that Chinese warships are heading to Syria with military advisers ready to help Syria in its war against terror.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says one of the key objectives of Moscow’s anti-terror airstrikes is to preserve Syria’s territorial integrity. “Russia’s air support for offensive operations of the Syrian army also pursues a main goal of maintaining territorial integrity of this country,” Putin told French President Francois Hollande in Paris during talks on the Ukrainian crisis last week.

Putin told Hollande that Russian warplanes are carrying out their operation “in strict compliance with international law” and “at the request of the Syrian leadership”.

Hollande, for his part, told Putin that the airstrikes must be limited to attacking the ISIS terrorist group, not other terrorists operating in Syria, which the West labels as “moderate rebels”.

Putin later discussed the crisis in Syria in a separate meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “The leaders said very clearly that ISIS was the enemy that we needed to fight,” Merkel told reporters after the talks.

Russia began precision strikes against Islamic State (ISIS) targets in Syria on 30th September. The Russian jets have destroyed terrorist headquarters, explosives factories, training camps and other targets based on Russian and Syrian reconnaissance data.

Morale soared in Damascus last week when the news broke that the Russian air force was coming in to support the Syrian armed forces in its struggle against ISIS and the other terror gangs that are less than covertly supported by the Americans, Turkey and the feudal Arab oil princes.

Russia, Iran, Iraq and Syria recently set up a joint information centre in Baghdad to coordinate their operations against the Islamic State (ISIS) militia. The Russian squadron, flying from their base on the Syrian coast, is carrying out daily sorties against the rebels in tandem with Syrian warplanes throughout northern Syria to soften them up for a Syrian army offensive later in the year. In Damascus Syrian President Bashar al Assad told the Iranian media that the current Russian war on terror in Syria has high chances of success, noting that the failure of the Russian coalition would lead to the destruction of the entire Middle East.

“We have confidence that the coalition between Syria, Russia, Iran and Iraq must be destined to success, otherwise, we would face the destruction of the entire region,” Assad said.

weaken Syria

The Syrian leader said: “The western powers want to change the state. They want to weaken Syria and create a number of weak statelets which can get busy solving their daily problems and internal disputes with no time for development or extending support to national causes, particularly the cause of Palestine, and at the same time ensuring Israel’s security.”

The imperialists, who have been bombing some ISIS positions in Iraq and Syria for the past year without any significant effect and without any Syrian government approval, have predictably denounced the Russian intervention as “counter- productive” and designed simply to prop up the Assad government in Damascus. But many Syrians hope that the Russian intervention, at the request of the Syrian government, will at last, bring an end to the bloodshed that has plunged the country into chaos over the past four years.

Though the Russian intervention was the result of months of planning with the Syrian authorities the opening of the bombing campaign, with just an hour’s notice, took the Americans completely by surprise. US and Turkish plans for “safe-havens” and “no fly-zones” for the rebels that the Americans claim are fighting ISIS as well as the Syrian army have been finally snookered by the Russians and the Syrian government.