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"Why Russian intervention in Syria was successful"

"Why Russian intervention in Syria was successful"

Tags: Syria, War in the Middle East, Russia, Army, USA, Militants, Middle East, Analytics

In his blog, historian Michel Goya tells that the Russian military intervention launched in 2015 in Syria reached its main goal, that is, the regime of Bashar Assad saved.

In the 12 September published analyst "Red Storm. Operational conclusions after two years of Russian intervention in Syria "Colonel Michel Goya (Michel Goya) brilliantly outlines the reasons for Russia's success in Syria. The historian allowed Le Monde to publish excerpts from his work.

Russian military intervention is a success, from which one can draw conclusions

"This intervention was successful, as it allowed to achieve the main political goal, that is, saved the Syrian regime, which was in an extremely serious situation, and contributed to its probable victory. The Russian Expeditionary Corps made a major contribution to deterring the rebel forces at the end of 2015, and then, especially after the capture of Aleppo, in recapturing the territory along the motorway M5 (the real axis of the conflict) in 2016. Subsequently, a campaign was launched in the desert regions in the east of the country, which reached the liberation of the besieged Islamic state (the terrorist organization forbidden in Russia, ed.) By Deir-ez-Zor. The war is far from over, but Bashar Assad can no longer lose it. "

"It will be interesting to note that these results were obtained with the help of rather limited resources. Taking into account the forces involved in the operations (from 4 000 to 5 000 people and from 50 to 70 aircraft and helicopters) and means (about 3 million euros per day), this is a fourth or even fifth part of US efforts in the region. At the same time, the French operation "Shamal" (1 200 people, 15 aircraft and helicopters, one million euros a day) involves an average of 6 sorties a day against 33 from Russia. "

"Given all these data, one can not but admit that the productivity of Russian operations (the ratio between the funds involved and the strategic results of their application) is much higher than the US and French."

The strategy of "careless pedestrian"

"The Russian funds were used massively, unexpectedly and comprehensively. There was no phase of statements, no gradual diversification and expansion, as was the case with the American coalition (fighter-bombers, then combat aircraft, helicopters, artillery, etc.). "

"The war in Syria is" mosaic, "that is, it involves not two, but several camps, as it was during the civil war in Lebanon from 1975 to 1990 year. The camps and their patrons have completely different goals, which bring them closer or separate them depending on the situation, which makes the conflict simultaneously difficult and stable. One of the main parameters is that the rival camp patrons, in particular the US and Russia, are completely not interested in a direct clash and try not to meet in order to reduce risks. Due to the cause-effect relationship, the lightning capture of the territory by one automatically does not allow the other to get on it and puts it before the fait accompli. It's about the strategy of "careless pedestrian", which crosses the road, forcing drivers to press the brake. The USSR and Russia have repeatedly used it. "

Bubble Air Defense

"Since the time when Russia deployed its flag in Syria and occupied space (including air), the situation for all the rest has become much more complicated. One of the first elements of the deployed Russian expeditionary corps became modern air defense systems, in particular, interceptors and missile systems S-300 and C-400. The goal was not to repel a non-existent threat from the air by rebels, but to form a closed airspace for other outside players, and above all the United States, who had climbed into a similar theater of operations for the first time since the Cold War. The US could play a map of the closure of the territory or at least airspace by deploying effective tactical systems, but did not dare to do it. "

Air Force decided "tactical crisis"

"It was mainly the mixed brigade of Russian aviation that managed to get the situation out of the impasse. Although its size changed, they never exceeded 70 units, which is extremely small for the army, which in theory can expose almost 2 000. "

"Its composition changed over time, but it always included aircraft and helicopters with a gradual shift of balance towards the latter. To this should also be added at least one battery of the 120 artillery brigade with BM-27 multiple launch systems "Uragan", several Dozor-600 drones (analogues of American MQ-1B Predator) and an electronic reconnaissance aircraft Il-20M1, as well as a few spetsnaz companies. "

"The key component of the Russian doctrine is combined operations. They are aimed at capturing key points, destroying enemy forces and putting sufficient pressure on armed groups (with whom it can be negotiated) and the local population to force them to yield, even if it is necessary to accept the withdrawal of militants (a feature of the current conflict). The main change in the Russian forces was the formation of the reconciliation center in February of 2016, which was aimed at military diplomacy and assistance to the local population with the assistance of civil authorities, NGOs and the United Nations. In addition, this center was clearly an intelligence agency. "

"Thus, the air brigade participated in several dozens of combined operations, and at a high rate (an average of 1 000 departures per month). This became possible due to the proximity of the bases to the contact line: it is about the base of Khmeimi located in 25 kilometers to the south of Latakia, as well as the bases of Shayrat and Tijas near Palmyra. "
Reduction of casualties among civilians

"According to the Airwars website, over the first five months of the presence of Russian forces, more than 2 000 Syrian civilians were killed. Anyway, Subsequently, these losses have sharply declined due to a change in the situation, as well as an increase in the experience of pilots and the use of other equipment, in particular the Mi-28H and Ka-52 helicopters that replaced Su-25 as vehicles support ".

"Operations in 2016 and especially in 2017 year serve as proof of the acquired excellent skills in conducting combined operations. From the confusion of the war with Georgia in 2008 there was no trace left. "

"Losses among civilians have decreased, although they remain high. According to Airwars, by now we are talking about the figure in 4 000 - 5 400 people. For comparison, the number of victims of the American coalition is from 5 300 to 8 200 people, although it has been in effect since August of 2014. "

"On the Russian side, the human losses are formally 17 people. In fact, it's probably about 36-48 dead, which is still very small. The main surprise was the non-participation of ground units in combat. Russia clearly decided to cut costs and risks as much as possible. "

Testing new techniques and tactics

"The intervention created conditions for carrying out firing from the fleet from a long distance. So, 7 October 2015 four ships of the Caspian fleet released 26 cruise missiles 3M14 "Caliber", 22 of which reached the goal. 17 November 2015 were involved 23 strategic bomber Tu-22M3, Tu-95 and Tu-160, which used cruise missiles X-555.

Strategic aviation regularly participated in operations, for example, in July 2017 with the use of Tu-95 and X-101 missiles. This first Russian campaign of this kind, of course, was designed to test a number of modern weapons and, most importantly, to demonstrate it. "

"The intervention, of course, provided the Russian armed forces with the opportunity to experience the original developments. The first was the sighting and navigation complex SVP-24, which uses satellite navigation for aiming strikes with unguided ammunition. It allows even a relatively outdated fleet to be compared to the strike force with much more effective and costly forces. "

"The second point is to return to ultralight motorized infantry, that is, infantry squads with light and fast off-road vehicles. The third concerns the combat vehicle seen this summer, designed to directly support the tanks on the battlefield. This is a medium-sized machine that has the highest density of fire. It is an outstanding anti-tank weapon (and can be effectively used against aviation and drones), facilitating the use of battle tanks, including in urban conditions. This car with a crew of only three people can be compared in efficiency with a full group of direct support Leclerc, standing out of three armored vehicles with 20-mm guns. In addition, it is an excellent means of direct support for the infantry. "

Natalie Gibert (Nathalie Guibert, Le Monde, France)
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