The Syria Attack, Duff and Scott Rickard on Press TV, Broader Coverage Censored in US

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71 Out of 103 Destroyed: Here’s How Syria’s Air Defense Repelled West’s Missiles

Perhaps the most surprising news surrounding the US, British and French strike on Syria Saturday morning was the report that the country’s Air Defense Force managed to shoot down just shy of 70% of the Western cruise missiles launched. Sputnik looks at how the Syrians managed to do it.

The Damascus sky lights up missile fire as the U.S. launches an attack on Syria targeting different parts of the capital early Saturday, April 14, 2018

The Western attack, executed this morning at 4:00 am Syrian time on April 14, saw US Navy warships in the Red Sea and Air Force B-1B bombers and F-15 and F-16 aircraft rain dozens of ship and air-launched cruise missiles down on the Syrian capital of Damascus, an airbase outside the city, a so-called chemical weapons storage facility near Homs, and an equipment storage facility and command post, also near Homs.

B1-Bs are typically armed with JASSM cruise missiles, which have a 450 kg warhead and a range of 370 km. US Navy warships launched Tomahawks, which have 450 kg warheads and an operational range of between 1,300 and 2,500 km.

 

The British Royal Air Force’s contribution for the assault consisted of four Tornado GR4 ground attack aircraft armed with the Storm Shadow long-range air-to-surface missile, which the UK’s Defense Ministry said targeted ‘chemical weapons sites’ in Homs. These weapons have a range of 400 km.

Finally, France sent its Aquitaine frigate, armed with SCALP naval land attack cruise missiles (SCALP the French military’s name for the Storm Shadow), as well as several Dassault Rafale fighters, also typically armed with SCALP or Apache cruise missiles.

According to the Russian defense ministry, the B-1Bs also fired GBU-38 guided air bombs.

  • A US B-1B Lancer bomber taking off. File photo
    A US B-1B Lancer bomber taking off. File photo

     

  • Model of a JASSM missile.
    Model of a JASSM missile.
  • Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Firing a Tomahawk missile
    Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Firing a Tomahawk missile

     

  • British Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 aircraft is seen on the tarmac at the British airbase at Akrotiri, near Cyprus' second city of Limassol on December 3, 2015
    British Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 aircraft is seen on the tarmac at the British airbase at Akrotiri, near Cyprus’ second city of Limassol on December 3, 2015
    ©
    AFP 2018 / IAKOVOS HATZISTAVROU
  • Storm Shadow missile
    Storm Shadow missile
  • French FREMM multipurpose Aquitaine class stealth frigate (File)
    French FREMM multipurpose Aquitaine class stealth frigate (File)

    French Rafale fighter jets prepare to take off late April 13, 2018 from the Saint-Dizier military base in eastern France in this picture released April 14, 2018 by the French Military

    French Rafale fighter jets prepare to take off late April 13, 2018 from the Saint-Dizier military base in eastern France in this picture released April 14, 2018 by the French Military

Undoubtedly weary of the prospect of having their aircraft shot down after Israel lost one of its F-16s over Syria in February, the Western powers presumably launched their weapons from well outside the range of Syrian air defenses, with all the targets located just 70-90 km of the Mediterranean Sea, and having to fly through Lebanon first.

Attack Blunted

However, notwithstanding the powerful collection of weaponry arrayed against them, the Syrian Army seems to have managed, for the most part, to blunt the attack.

Several hours after the strikes, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that the majority of the missiles launched were intercepted by Syria’s Air Defense Force, who shot down some 71 of the 103 cruise missiles detected. This included the interception of all 12 missiles launched at the Al-Dumyar airbase northeast of Damascus. Syrian media, for its part, reported that the military had destroyed 20 missiles over Damascus alone.

Furthermore, although the Syrian military does have some modern air defenses, including the Pantsir-S1 combined short-to-medium range surface to air missile (SAM) and anti-aircraft artillery system, the cruise missile attack was repelled mostly by upgrades of 30+ year old equipment, including variants of the Buk self-propelled missile system, the S-125 air defense system, and the S-200, an aging but tried and tested SAM introduced into the Soviet military in the late 1960s.

Buk-M1 missile system. (File)
©
Sputnik / Vladimir Fedorenko
Buk-M1 missile system. (File)

Balance of Forces

In late 2016, Russian defense analysts created a detailed outline of the state of Syria’s military. Their research concluded that Syria’s air defenses remained formidable, even following half a decade of war against terrorism.

According to the estimates, the Air Defense Force’s inventory includes 36 Pantsir-S1s, delivered by Russia between 2008 and 2013, 3-6 battalions of Buk-M1 and Buk-M2 medium-range SAM systems (Moscow delivered eight Buk-M2s between 2010 and 2013), five regiments (i.e. 25 batteries) of Kvadrat tracked medium-range surface-to-air missile systems (Kvadrat being the export version of the Kub air defense system), and 8 regiments of the S-200VE long-range missile system.

Syria has up to 53 regiments of the Dvina and Volga variant of the S-75, the ancient Soviet high-altitude air defense system used to shoot down US U-2s over the USSR and Cuba in the early 1960s. The country also has some 4,000 anti-aircraft guns of various calibers, although these are slowly being retired.

The Ground forces are also equipped with the OSA, Strela-1, and Strela-10 mobile, low-altitude short-range SAM systems (the Syrians have 61, 100 and 60 of each, respectively).

Strela 1, file photo.
Strela 1, file photo.

 

Syria’s radar network consists of P-40 3-D UHF early warning/target acquisition radar, P-12 3D VHF early warning ground control radar, P-15 2D UHF surveillance/target acquisition radar, P-30, P-35 an P-80 2D E band/F band early warning ground control radar, and PRV-13 and PRV-16 altimeter radar.

With the exception of the PRV-16 and the P-80, which were introduced into the Soviet military in the early 1970s, the rest of these systems were fielded starting in the late 1950s and mid-1960s, and have mostly been retired in Russia. Russia and Belarus have provided Syria with parts and technical support for these systems.

[Unconfirmed map of Syrian air defense coverage area. The greatest density is southwest of Damascus, where over 35 systems are said to be in operation.]

Stronger Than Expected

The formation of Syria’s more or less modern air defenses has its roots the early 1980s, and stems from the Air Defense Force’s humiliating defeat at the hands of Israeli air power during the 1982 Lebanon War at Bekka Valley.

A year later, in 1983, the Soviet Union transferred its S-200VE long-range air defense system, along with the technical personnel to man them and train their Syrian counterparts. The S-200’s deployment was unusual, with Syria getting the systems before even the USSR’s Warsaw Pact allies did.

Soviet officers pose in front of an S-200VE in Syria, 1980s.
©
Photo : Sergey Kachko / veteransyria.org
Soviet officers pose in front of an S-200VE in Syria, 1980s.

Since that time, thanks in part to having to contend with the technologically superior Israeli Air Defense Force on its border, Syria has continued to upgrade its air defense network.

In fact, despite its age compared to Western powers, or say Russia, the country’s air defenses are considerably more modern than those of Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya before those countries were subjected to US and NATO bombings in 1999, 2003 and 2011.

The Air Defense Force is estimated to have between 20,000 and 36,000 personnel. Syria’s terrain, including numerous mountain ranges, which complicate attackers’ options, has resulted in an operational doctrine aimed at preserving air defense capabilities even in the event of massed enemy strikes, similarly to the Yugoslav Air Defense Force’s strategy during the war against NATO.

According to Russian military observers, Syria’s most formidable air defense systems are its Pantsirs and BuK-M1-2 and Buk M-2Es, which can shoot down F-15s from 45 km away and simultaneously track and destroy up to two dozen enemy targets. Furthermore, the S-125 Pechora remains a problem for NATO, despite its age. In March 2015, Syria shot down a US Predator drone in Latakia using the system. Finally, of course, there are those S-200s, which have an operational range of 300 km. It was one of these that shot down the intruder Israeli F-16 in February 2018.

Future Proofing

It’s unclear at this point whether the US and its allies will limit their strikes to Saturday’s attack, or launch further attacks in the future. In any case, the attack has already prompted Moscow into considering providing Damascus with its S-300 long-range SAM system. “Taking into account what happened, we consider it possible to return to this issue,” the Russian General Staff said in a statement.

In any case, Russia has already provided Syria with substantial assistance in restoring its air defense capabilities, particularly over the past year and a half. The end result of this assistance was seen shortly after 4 am on Saturday morning.

S-300 Favorite surface-to-air missile systems during a bilateral drill of air defense and aviation forces of the Western Military District
©
Sputnik / Russian Defence Ministry
S-300 Favorite surface-to-air missile systems during a bilateral drill of air defense and aviation forces of the Western Military District

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Assad to Russian MPs: Syrians ‘No Longer Afraid of NATO’ After Missile Attack

According to Russian lawmakers, the Syrian president has praised Soviet air defense systems, which helped Damascus repel 71 Western missiles.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (C) new Defence Minister Hassan Turkmani (L) and former Defence Minister Mustafa Tlass attend a ceremony at the unknown soldier monument in Damascus, Syria October 6, 2003.

 

Russian members of the parliament and other officials have shed light on the meeting with President Bashar Assad, which came in the wake of the joint US-UK-French missile strike on Syria.

According to governor Komarov, during a meeting with Russian lawmakers, Assad slammed the Western strike on Syria as “aggression.”

As the Russian State Duma lawmaker Sergei Zheleznyak stated, Damascus has praised Soviet arms made in the 1970s, which were used to repel the missile attack, carried out by the US and its allies.

“According to the president’s [Assad’s] point of view, this [the attack] was aggression and we share this position. He has highly appreciated Russian weapons, which showed supremacy over the arms of the aggressors,” Zheleznyak said.

“Since 1990s we have seen in American movies that the Russian weaponry is “backward.” And now we see, whose’s really backward,” Assad was quoted as saying by a Russian MP.

READ MORE: 71 Out of 103 Destroyed: Here’s How Syria’s Air Defense Repelled West’s Missiles

Another MP, Sablin, said, citing Assad, that as Syrian air defenses had demonstrated their efficiency, the Arab Republic’s citizens were “no longer afraid of NATO.”

Assad stated that Syria would continue its independent development “despite the agenda, imposed by the West,” Sablin said.

During the meeting, the issue of possible Russia’s anti-missile systems’ deliveries to Syria wasn’t discussed.

Assad also stated that the US-UK-French attack has not only “consolidated the peoples of Russia and Syria, but all the nations, which are guided by the norms of international law,” Sablin said.He said during a meeting with Russian lawmakers that the cooperation between Russia and Syria should resist the “aggressive policy of the West.”

Following an overnight April 14 massive missile attack, launched by the US alongside France and the UK, the Syrian president said that the strikes came as the West realized that it had lost control of the situation in the Arab Republic. At the same time, the Syrian Foreign Ministry called the attack “brutal aggression.”

READ MORE: WATCH Syrian President Assad Report to Work After US Missile Strike

While Assad was seen arriving at work on the morning after the attack, the Syrians have taken to the streets in Damascus and Aleppo in order to support the government and denounce the West’s move.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, a total of 71 missiles out of 103 launched by the Western states were repelled by Syrian air defenses. The Pentagon has denied the information, saying that every missile had hit its target.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, the latest from the west, their cruise missiles getting hammered by old soviet weaponry, Russia holding back their S400, not wanting their signature copied by the West.
    Their is a lot of scenarios going on here, what has Russia got? Putin holds back.
    Good to see Assad going about his normal Govt duties, priceless.

    Putin and Assad, the most popular politicians on the planet, bar none. T May going down, Turnbulshit about to go.

  2. Wow, what an excellent group of analysts on that PressTV segment! I thoroughly enjoyed that. Even the analyst from DC that was featured about 45-54 minutes in and again at the very end, made some amazing points. Thanks for sharing this, Gordon.

  3. Censored in the land of the free? The most and first democratic Nation on Earth defending the world from evil censors? Doesn’t that somehow smell a little fishy beyond the use by date? To understand why – at least an attempt or an idea rising from the root of human population to move towards an reaction to quarantine some of the evil plaguing them and their societies nothing whatsoever happens apart from the same old worn out stories of distraction turning evil into innocence – seems impossible.
    The untouchable two faced/faceless tribe with many camouflages keep enriching their part through blood of innocent and stolen goods like they have done over the centuries. No attempt is taken to quarantine world politics from the influence of criminal activity of the self chosen overlords while the world community loathes in apathy and disinterest of change during argumentation. Jewish influence in world politics are the heavy chains around the necks of human decency. How many “heads of state democratically elected around the world” have Jewish mothers or are of Jewish faith? How many “international billionaire oligarchs” are not of Jewish faith? NONE of these creatures who bring injustice and murder to the world of mankind on a daily basis are ever being prosecuted in the court of “established Jewish law” or quarantined from activities of human society? In nature sick or mentally ill creatures face their destiny with ease. On earth THEY RULE SINCE CENTURIES!

    • About S-200s shot down the intruder Israeli F-16 in February 2018 is very clear that was strong updated by russians to resist modern electronic countermeasure from joo’s planes and probably was integrated in current russians radar network…

  4. It seems that despite the Russians standing up to Deep State chicanery; they maintain a respect to what damage war causes to humanity. Unlike the suck asses here in the United States; the Russians temper their involvement with options for peaceful solutions. The Deep State Satanists simply do not want to lose or be replaced by normal human beings. Simply stated the Deep State Satanists are less that human spiritually. They are sub-humans and should be treated as such. They care not for normal human developement and are holding us back. Humanity cannot advance under their controll. Elimination of the Deep State is paramount to the advancement of the human condition.