Putin Confirms Scope Of Russian Military Role In Syria

Tyler Durden's picture

Over the past 48 hours or so, we’ve seen what certainly appears to be visual confirmation of a non-negligible Russian military presence in Syria. For anyone coming to the story late, overt Russian involvement would seem to suggest that the geopolitical “main event” (so to speak), may be closer than anyone imagined.

Russia’s excuse for being in Syria is the same as everyone else’s: they’re there, ostensibly, to fight ISIS. As we mentioned yesterday, and as we’ve detailed exhaustively as it relates to Turkey, the fact that ISIS has become a kind of catch-all, go-to excuse for legitimizing whatever one feels like doing is a dangerous precedent and Turkey’s crackdown on the Kurds proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Islamic State will serve as a smokescreen for more than just the preservation/ouster (depending on which side you’re on) of Bashar al-Assad. 

Having said all of that, going into the weekend Russia had yet to confirm publicly that it had commenced military operations in Syria despite the fact that it’s the next closest thing to common knowledge that at the very least, the Kremlin has provided logistical support and technical assistance for a period that probably spans two or more years. 

But on Friday, Vladimir Putin looks to have confirmed the scope of Russia’s military role, even if he stopped short of admitting that Russian troops are engaged in combat. Here’s The Telegraph:

Russia is providing “serious” training and logistical support to the Syrian army, Vladimir Putin has said, in the first public confirmation of the depth of Russia’s involvement in Syria's civil war.

And while the highlighted passage there is actually impossible to prove given that the term "depth" is subjective, it certainly does appear that Putin is now willing to concede that support for Assad goes far beyond "political". Here's AFP as well:

Asked whether Russia could take part in operations against IS, Putin said: "We are looking at various options but so far what you are talking about is not on the agenda."


"To say we're ready to do this today -- so far it's premature to talk about this. But we are already giving Syria quite serious help with equipment and training soldiers, with our weapons," RIA Novosti state news agency quoted Putin as saying.

And back to The Telegraph briefly:

Speculation is growing that Russia has significantly expanded its involvement in recent months, including with deliveries of advanced weaponry, a raft of spare parts for existing machines, and the deployment of increasing numbers of military advisers and instructors.


Last week Syrian state television released images showing an advanced Russian-built armoured personnel carrier, the BTR-82a, in combat. Videos have also appeared in which troops engaged in combat appear to shout instructions to one another in Russian.

Of course whether or not the troops Russia has on the ground were sent to Syria with explicit orders to join the fighting is largely irrelevant when the bullets start flying. As Pavel Felgenhaeur, an independent commentator on Russian military affairs told The Telegraph, “it was quite conceivable that members of the advisory mission occasionally found themselves in combat or had even suffered casualties.” 

So in other words, they’re at war, and even as Putin is now willing to admit, with a two year (at least) lag, that Russian boots are indeed on the ground, it may be a while before he admits to their role in direct combat and if Ukraine is any guide, he might never acknowledge the extent of Russia's involvement. But make no mistake, the Russian presence has nothing to do with the “threat” ISIS poses to the world and everything to do with ensuring that Assad’s forces can fight on - at least for now. 

The absurd thing about the whole effort is that ISIS itself is now just cannon fodder both for Russia and for the US led coalition flying missions from Incirlik that Turkey has suggested may soon include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan. Even more ridiculous is the fact that since none of this has anything to do with eradicating ISIS in the first place, the bombing of ISIS targets by the US, Turkey, and Russia doesn’t really serve much of a purpose at all.

That is, everyone’s just biding time to see how far the other side is willing to go in support of their vision for Syria's political future - a political future which, as we noted yesterday, almost certainly will not be decided at the ballot box, that is unless it's after US Marines have stormed Damascus at which point the US will benevolently allow whatever civilians are still alive in Syria to choose between two puppet leaders vetted and supported by Washington. 

And lest anyone should forget what this is all about...

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Lea's picture

About time somebody did something serious against these ISIL cockroaches.

Bokkenrijder's picture

A very risky strategy for Putin: Russia might get drawn into a lengthy, bloody and uncivilized civil war in order to clean up the mess that the US, EU and their vassal Middle Eastern 'allies' created.

knuppel's picture
knuppel (not verified) Bokkenrijder Sep 5, 2015 8:37 AM

Russia plays it safe, they just have presence around their own assets. And in the air they cover against anglozion attacks. Hope they roll out the good airdefense large scale. All alongside the strong diplomatic path.

weburke's picture

Israel is at deaths door in a few ways and either goes full on Samson or Dies. Fill your home oil tank now

kliguy38's picture

Everyone just relax........Nuland's got this covered and Kerry's goin for his second silver star

Payne's picture

Putin to the CIA,  Check and mate in 3 moves.

Occident Mortal's picture

Why doesn't Qatar just pipe their gas via Iraq? Or Egypt?


caconhma's picture

The only way to win a war on exhaustion is to have a limitless supply of man and equipment. As of today, US and its Arab allies have displayed a serious advantage over Syria, Iran, Russia in Syria and Iraq.

Otherwise, one must move and act decisively and swift to win by stopping an endless hemorrhage (like the US defeat in Vietnam, Afghanistan). Similar to the Putin actions in Crimea. 

Let us see whether Russia and Iran are up to the game!

macholatte's picture



But, but… Putin didn’t get permission from the UN.


Unlike the USA, when a country asks Russia for help, the Ruskies move the troops in but never leave.


Let us see whether Russia and Iran are up to the game!

We already know Obama isn't, unless it's basketball.

Excuse me. Michelle won’t let Barry have any butter on his popcorn. Please change that out for an extra large, no salt, no butter.   Thank you.




Secret Treaties's picture
Secret Treaties (not verified) macholatte Sep 5, 2015 6:08 PM

"Unlike the USA, when a country asks Russia for help, the Ruskies move the troops in but never leave."

















caconhma's picture

Soviets were not Ruskies. Bolsheviks & Soviets were representatives of an International "Communist" World Order . The majority of them were Zionists/Jews. They were responsible for a genocide of Native Russian/Slave population. 

Look at their leaders:

Jews Bolsheviks did to Russians the same Americans have done to Native Americans. Consequently, a demise of Russia as a state is inevitable!

jeff montanye's picture

the ussr certainly recognized israel quickly in '48 but they armed israel's enemies for at least thirty years.

proving jews were instrumental in the leadership of something in the white world is hardly a rarity. not so many directly involved in nazism, but then nazis hated and killed jews.  some jews, zionists particularly, are ok with the principles and techniques of nazism and fascism generally, to wit, israel.

Bokkenrijder's picture

Russia/USSR and Israel certainly didn't get along very well.

It was the Dutch embassy that represented Israel after the USSR cut off diplomatic relations, and the Dutch embassy played a vital role in enabling Russian Jews to emigrate to Israel: http://www.jta.org/1972/05/15/archive/dutch-embassy-in-moscow-encounters...


TSA Thug's picture

I'll tell you this: Russians know how to fight.

If Obama was indeed concerned about the welfare of this country, he would send his little Travon gangsta youts over to Syria for a little urban awakening vs. Bashar al-Assad fighters.

Maybe stream it live on BET.

THAT I would pay to see! Talk about blacklivesmatter.

Ace006's picture

You have strategic vision, sir.

Anybody's picture

And America has left








BarkingCat's picture

To finish off your WWII list you will need

Mr.BlingBling's picture

Deleted because Anybody beat me to it.

TeraByte's picture

The Baltic states never asked for Russian = Soviet help, but were annexed without protest from West. When they struggled for their independence after the Soviet´s collapse, it was the same hush hush, not rock the boat. Keep on talking about a moral supremacy your ignorant myopic egoists.

nmewn's picture

Boy one thing about any St Pooty thread, it sure brings out his slobbering sycophantic groupies hoping to get an autographed picture from him...lol.

So anyways, for the record, St Pooty was with the KGB during the Soviet Union so he cannot escape his past, it is a part of him, what makes him, who he is. Consequently I'm not clear on the whole delineation of St Pooty "The Russian Bear-Man" vs communist-bolshevik-jew nationalistic theater of the absurd who cannot really be Russian...he worked for them, with zeal, didn't he?

The whole of the matter of St Pooty (and Russian governance in particular) can best be understood by an understanding of the concept of the Russian Vory, which on its face isn't a bad concept once you realize government itself (ANY GOVERNMENT) is at best nothing more than the largest criminal gang on the block.

Except it hides under the cloak of legality & legitimacy to hide "its crimes", which makes it "a good gang".

Or sumpin ;-)

TSA Thug's picture

Fuck you or sumpin. OK Rabbi?

anti-republocrat's picture

Why doesn't Qatar just pipe their gas via Iraq? Or Egypt?

Because it really truly has nothing to do with pipelines, and a lot to do with destroying or at least weakending the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis so the Israel can invade and occupy southern Lebanon with impunity.  But even that does not compare in importance to creating war and instability in order to justify the institutional imperatives of the MIC.

StychoKiller's picture

Shh!  Don't let Qatar find this out!

king leon's picture

It's Israel's own choosing that they find themselves at death's door. If Israel could refrain itself from lusting after the land wealth of other countries, Israel would not suffer justifiably being despised and hated by other countries    

Secret Treaties's picture
Secret Treaties (not verified) McCormick No. 9 Sep 5, 2015 10:48 AM
So Wrong for So Long

Why neoconservatives are never right.



Manthong's picture

Checkmate, bitchez..

Bashar ain’t going anywhere, Barry.

InvalidID's picture


 Checkmate what? He fell right into the only trap that can undue Russia. A long and costly war, away from home, and for no real gain. Russia can not afford this, they're pretty well broke. And I don't know if anyone noticed but those oil and gas deals ZH was touting as the end of the petro dollar fell through. China snubbed Russia and refuses to pay for all the infrastructure needed to build and move said oil and gas.


 It's over, Putin is playing a losing hand.

angel_of_joy's picture

Yeah, he kept losing for the last 3 years as everybody under the sun could see. I suppose in that parallel universe of yours the Americans keep winning, too...

Manthong's picture

Um, let’s see...

I’m not a fanatic Russophile, just a realist.

According to what I read, Russia is way more solvent than the US.

Heck, take away the (soon to be ending) “exorbitant privilege” and the US is totally insolvent.

The fact that Assad would go for a snap election and the US will have nothing to do with that tells you all you need to know about the American regime’s disposition towards democracy and self-determination (Ukraine is a big hint, too).

It is my belief that Assad, for all of his shortcomings, has the majority of Syria on his side and the US is trying to destroy that by creating chaos there.

Syria, though far from perfect, was an intact and stable secular state, just like Libya was before the US and NATO "liberated" it and its 400 tons of gold.

Thanks to the Obama regime Syria is being turned into a hell hole like Libya, and nobody really “wins” there, particularly the Syrians, the American people, the European people and the rest of the ordinary people of the world.. the 99% so to speak.

I’m just glad the refugee fallout from Libya and Syria is the EU technocrat’s problem.

Say sayonara to any semblance of many European county's individual cultures.

Choomster Barry should not engage in a game of chess with Vlad.

Putin will cut through the Choomster's smoke and he has more rational and reserved diplomacy in his little toenail than Obama and his entire State Department.

If you want to defeat Russia, just give them Obamacare, Medicare Part D, > 175,000 pages of Federal Regulations, Obama’s executive orders, the US DOD’s procurement and accounting offices, the NSA and militarized local police across the nation... then they will be right back to the era of Stalin and on their way out.




king leon's picture

It's the US and Obama that's taken the bait and have been sucked into the Syrian conflict far enough so that Russia can force a humiliating back-off by the US&Co. The US have no business attacking Syria, a sovereign country, without even a declaration of war, whereas Russia is an Ally of Syria and have every right to defend them along with Iran who is also an ally, even China have financial interests in syria, Now that China and Russia have fucked-over the US economy and are in the process of issuing the last rights to the USD$, this means that any war that the US does now can't be done on the credit card and as the US is totally broke to the tune of 18+Trill, it will be a humiliating climbdown for Obarry.

angel_of_joy's picture

They thought it would be "cool" to make a 3rd episode after their success in Lybia and the ho-hum sequel in Egypt (Arab Spring and all that crap...) That's the problem with the Americans, they don't know when to stop. Have you noticed how every succesful American movie eventually devolves into a shitty series ( 2nd, 3rd, even 4th sequels down the road) ? Apparently it's the same with foreign policy. A sure sign of a terrible lack of imagination... also known as stupidity.

weburke's picture

seriously, you have heard about the prepper guys, now is exactly the time for you to weekend thinking what is smart to do. 

The new war will do a quick expansion. Look at all the millions who thought ww2 would be localized and never hit them or change their world. 

algol_dog's picture

"If Israel could refrain itself from lusting after the land wealth of other countries, Israel would not suffer justifiably being despised and hated by other countries"


Me thinks Israel/Jews will always be despised, regardless, and the blame of all manner of humanity's ills and misfortunes. Amazingly, a mere 0.2% of the world population can be perceived as the cause of so much angst in the world. 

Calmyourself's picture

Read your history, they are magic, have mind powers and can fly but only at night after eating matzo balls..  Oh noes a knock on my door...

BigJim's picture

No what's amazing is that "a mere 0.2% of the world population" have hijacked US, UK, and NATO foreign policy.

And in fact it's less than 0.2%, because it's not the Jews, but Zionists who are the problem.

ross81's picture

and how much of the worlds wealth and political power does that 0.2% hold I wonder? Certainly not 0.2%.

Pava's picture

you need professional help...your brain...it's not working

StychoKiller's picture

The amount of water flowing into Israel limits population growth there.

xavi1951's picture

I said it last week.  Russia has a base, close to the fighting, with boots.  It's not logistics support but it is logistically placed so if they are attacked, they can respond in a meaningful way.

techpreist's picture

Remins me of my Intro to International Affairs course. The US troops in Berlin during the Cold War weren't there for fighting, but to "die nobly so the US could justify going into war."

WW3 bitchez

MeetTozter's picture

Willing to bet that ISIS will not be waving/riding around with any new Russian weapons.

fleur de lis's picture

Yep. if the Ruskies ID them with the smallest weapon remotely resembling anything Russian they're gone. If they shoot at the Ruskies with a slingshot they're gone. If they take any Ruskies prisoner their strongholds will be swiftly circled and fumigated and they will be so gone.

Freddie's picture

Anyone know if Russia has any decent MANPADs that Syria can use for air defense?   I know they are short distance.   Russia and Iran need to step it up in helping Syria defend it's air space better.

Also a few Su25 Frogfoot's for Syria might help.

McCormick No. 9's picture

A great airplane for shooting down domestic airliners.

BigJim's picture

Ha! I'm surprised more people here don't realise that this was a dig at Kiev, not Russia

Manthong's picture

I got it right away..

And if the US was serious about fighting ISIS we would have sent a whole bunch of A-10 Warthogs over there, not just a few F-16’s.

(But then, we are not serious at all about taking ISIS out... maybe the Russians are.)