Russian Military Presence In Syria Risks "Confrontation" With US-Backed Forces, Kerry Warns Lavrov

Tyler Durden's picture

On Friday, Vladimir Putin conceded that the scope of Russian military involvement in Syria is “quite serious.”

In a replay of the Kremlin’s official line regarding Russian involvement in Ukraine, Putin did not admit that his soldiers were on the ground to play a direct combat role.

However, the Russian President’s comments did suggest that Moscow’s logistical and technical assistance goes far beyond the purely “political” cover the Kremlin has granted Assad via Moscow’s Security Council veto. It also suggests that Russia isn’t prepared to accept a Syrian state controlled by a puppet government likely to be sympathetic to Washington and Riyadh. 

Of course the official reason for Moscow’s presence in Syria is the same as the Washington’s: they’re both there, ostensibly, to fight ISIS. 

For those who still do not understand that ISIS has become, as we put it earlier, “a kind of catch-all, go-to excuse for legitimizing whatever one feels like doing,” the situation in Syria can be extraordinarily confusing. For instance, at least one mainstream media outlet was having quite a difficult time on Saturday trying to understand why the US seems so concerned about Russia’s presence in Syria when both sides are supposed to be after the same thing - that is, defeating terrorism. The reason is because both sides are not in fact after the same thing, and neither of which cares too much about what does or doesn’t happen to ISIS unless the group’s fate somehow matters in determining whether a post-civil war Syria is still governed by Assad. In short, ISIS has played its role. The Assad regime is destabilized and Damascus is up for grabs. From here on out, it’s all about whether a coalition comprised of the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Qatar ends up in a direct military conflict with Russia and the Assad regime. That would be the geopolitical “main event.” 

Underscoring the above is the alarm with which Russia’s stepped up presence in Syria has been greeted by Washington. Far from being elated that, amid the worst relations between the US and Russia since the Cold War, the two powers are still on the same page when it comes to combating terrorism, Washington is instead worried that the Kremlin is willing to resort to overt military support to shore up Assad’s depleted forces. As a reminder, here’s what the US claims to know (via LA Times):

US intelligence has captured evidence of a significant escalation of Russia's military engagement in Syria's civil war, including satellite images of an apparent Russian base for staging troops and heavy equipment under construction near a port city that is a stronghold for Syrian President Bashar Assad, U.S. officials say.


The reconnaissance photos of possible military housing being built near the international airport in Latakia province provides strong evidence of deepening involvement by President Vladimir Putin's government in the four-year-old Syrian war, according to the officials, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.


In addition, the Russians have asked at least one country bordering Syria for a window of time to fly a detachment of warplanes over its territory and into Syria, the officials said. The officials would not name the country, but Turkey lies between Russia and Syria.


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has been on a diplomatic offensive in recent weeks trying to marshal support for a plan to bring peace to Syria that would include a role for Assad. But those talks with Saudi and other Middle East leaders have failed to win over opponents.


The new military buildup could reflect a recognition by the Russians that with those talks going nowhere, Assad needs more help from them.


"It's pretty obvious that all the Russian logistics preparation is to do something significant in support of Assad," said Christopher Harmer, a military analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, a nonpartisan public policy group in Washington. "At this point, it's too big to be a misdirection."

“Too big to be a misdirection,” which presumably is why John Kerry jumped on the phone with Lavrov on Saturday. The State Department says "the secretary made clear that if such reports were accurate, these actions could further escalate the conflict, lead to greater loss of innocent life, increase refugee flows and risk confrontation with the anti-ISIL coalition operating in Syria.”

Note that if any of what the State Department says there is true, it’s entirely because John Kerry knows that Russian support will allow the Assad regime to continue to fight for control of the country. That is, if anyone actually believed Russia was there to fight ISIS, then one would think the effect would be to decrease refugee flows and lead to fewer civilian casualties as ISIS’ forces are swiftly defeated. After all, the Soviet experience in Afghanistan notwithstanding, one would certainly think that ISIS isn’t operationally capable of waging an extended ground war against the Russian army (as an aside, it would be ironic - given the Soviet-Afghan war - if the Russians end up mired in a protracted conflict with a CIA-backed group of jihadists). However, what would increase refugee flows, lead to greater civilian casualties, and “further escalate the conflict” is if Russia is simply in Syria to help Assad fight on to the bitter end. In other words, the State Department is tacitly admitting that this has very little (and more likely nothing) to do with ISIS.

Here’s The New York Times with more on what Washington claims to know about Russia’s involvement thus far:

Russia has sent a military advance team to Syria and is taking other steps the United States fears may signal that President Vladimir V. Putin is planning to vastly expand his military support for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, administration officials said Friday.


The Russian moves, including the recent transport of prefabricated housing units for hundreds of people to a Syrian airfield and the delivery of a portable air traffic control station there, are another complicating factor in Secretary of State John Kerry’s repeated efforts to enlist Mr. Putin’s support for a diplomatic solution to the bloody conflict in Syria.


The Russians have also filed military overflight requests with neighboring countries through September.


American officials acknowledge that they are not certain of Russia’s intentions, but some say the temporary housing suggests that Russia could deploy as many as 1,000 advisers or other military personnel to the airfield near the Assad family’s ancestral home. The airfield serves Latakia, Syria’s principal port city.



American intelligence analysts are also looking at ship loadings in Russia to determine what might be bound for Syria, and one official speculated that the Russian deployment might eventually grow to 2,000 to 3,000 personnel.


“There are some worrisome movements — logistical, preparatory types of things.”

Yes, “preparatory types of things” - the million dollar geopolitical question is this: what exactly are they preparing for?

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JustObserving's picture

It was fine and dandy for the US to create ISIS to topple Assad.  It was also great that Obama lied about Assad's use of sarin to try to get a major war started as exposed by Seymour Hersh. It is completely fine that US is now bombing Syria

But Russians supporting their traditional ally Syria is completely unacceptable.

Forward - to more war.

kliguy38's picture

Lurch won the Silver Star... he wouldn't lie just to support the neocon agenda......

IReallyDontCare's picture

The US is losing against ISIS as it has no experiance in defeating Terrorist Groups as it only ever creates them.

Secret Treaties's picture
Secret Treaties (not verified) IReallyDontCare Sep 6, 2015 8:53 AM

So Wrong for So Long

Why neoconservatives are never right.

No, the real problem is that the neoconservative worldview — one that still informs the thinking of many of the groups and individuals who are most vocal in opposing the Iran deal — is fundamentally flawed. Getting Iraq wrong wasn’t just an unfortunate miscalculation, it happened because their theories of world politics were dubious and their understanding of how the world works was goofy. When your strategic software is riddled with bugs, you should expect a lot of error messages.

knukles's picture

Wait!  The Commie Rat Bastards go to fight the same guys we're fighting?  And we're not happy for the newly found show of peace and solidarity between heretofore rival factions now arm in arm united against a common enemy?   Who we created to overthrow Assad and we're not happy?

                                 You got some splainin' to do, Barry

                                     They're gonna get us all killed

hedgeless_horseman's picture



[The Congress oil and gas companies and the makers of weapons shall have Power...] To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

I feel for the soldiers, sailors, and airmen, on both sides, that will die, either in combat, or by their own hand after the action, to further the economic interests of a few very wealthy men.

We do not have the natural right to attack others, imprison others, and to take or destroy others property...even if it is profitable to do so...and even if not doing so may endanger our nation's ability to enforce the petrol dollar.

Chupacabra-322's picture

Former General Smeldly Butler said it best,

"war is a racket."

Looney's picture

It wasn’t Turkey; it was Greece who allowed the Russian transport planes to fly to Syria over their territory Sept 1 through Sept 24.

Ain’t it funny, a NATO-member gives our State Department a finger? ;-)


Oh regional Indian's picture

Fucking warmongers, as if that "accidental" confrontation has not been the plan all along anyways.

Front and center and Rooshiya and Putin ( do note PUT-IN) probably very much in the same game, this is going to be the age of the proxy war.

WWIII will be fought by proxy by confused troops all over the world, with no basis for what or who they are fighting for or against.

The UN-PEACEKEEPERS (please not the ironical pun) as a prime example (it is a growing military force with everything, planes, troops, equipment/bases).

Also, last remaining monarchs and shadow turrrrrrrist groups are the enemy. And by god they will be BOMBED where-ever they go. Too bad if it is your country they decided to infiltrate/take refuge in.

Not to mention of course that all these isil/boko haram/al Q/Nusrat whathefucktri/Thefuckris all bastard spawns of old OSS plots and implantations now managed by the OSS spawned unholy triumverate of CIA/MOSSAD/MI6....

Car-ma is a'comin' for some folk...

The Caliphate, sitting front and center is twitching, eager to throw off their forced secularism at last...

my contribution to this whole mess's ab-solution is coming soon...

Publicus's picture

Yeah, any aircraft without Assad Syria's permission will be shot down out of the sky.

strannick's picture

But but....

Now America has help.fighting the terrible terrorist organization "isis".

Why isnt Kerry thanking RussiA??

For helping make the world safe for democracy?

Pinto Currency's picture



Russia is going to mess up the UK/US resupply missions of ISIS:


Iraqi Army Shot Down a British Plane, Carrying Weapons to ISIS

Sir Edge's picture

Correction To Main Article...

In short, ISIS has played its role. The Syrians who have been brutally attacked by on going covert US/NATO war crimes for 4 years are hanging on with a grim but dertermined defense of their country. 

From here on out, it’s all about whether an ISRAELI coalition comprised of the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Qatar ends up in a direct military conflict with Russia and the Assad regime. That would be the geopolitical “main event.”

rather than...

In short, ISIS has played its role. The Assad regime is destabilized and Damascus is up for grabs. From here on out, it’s all about whether a coalition comprised of the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Qatar ends up in a direct military conflict with Russia and the Assad regime. That would be the geopolitical “main event."

thank you Tylers...


Paveway IV's picture

The saddest part about this whole issue is that you have Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter making fun of Western media as described in this Sputnik article:

Western Media Jumped the Gun Reporting on Russian Troops in Syria

and you could replace every instance of British stenogropher's spew in The Times and The Telegraph with 'ZeroHedge said...'. Putins statements simply confirm that Russia continues to support Syria with training and logistics, which was well-known and has been happening at the same rate it always has. The only thing that's different is that Western media's sidden discovery of the refugee crisis (they engineered) coming out simultaneously with 'Twitter' and 'Facebook' tripe on the supposed Russian invasion. 

Which makes it all look like a clumsily-engineered U.S. - U.K. media spin to draw attention to the nothing-special, ongoing Russian involvement in Syria. 

ZATO's Turkish puppet Erdogan (his head, specifically) is going to end up on a pike pretty soon - much sooner than ZATO planned. Saudi Arabia and the UAE just lost a crapload of their Yemeni invasion troops and Saudi losses continue to mount, so ZATO loses their Wahabbi terrorist supply and financing arm. The Kurds are winning thanks to Russian (not ZATO) help. ZATO's terrorist headquarters in Aleppo is crumbling day by day. And now ZATO's air aggression strategy is falling apart. To top it all off, Iraq (with Iranian help) is kicking ZATO's ISIS terrorists ass all over IRAN. 

So - on cue - ZATO rolls out the U.S. and U.K. press to cry about a mythical 'escalation' in Syria when nothing of the sort is happening. Only this time, they don't even try to shine up their 'Russia is invading' hype - the rely on Twitter and Facebook. How sad is it really when the Western spinmeisters have to resort to such amateurish 'facts' to support their spin? Looks like they've given up on the 'Assad is Finished' angle - guess nobody was buying that for the last year or two.

When the Swedes start making fun of ZATO's pathetic PR attempts, you know things must be going REALLY bad for ZATO in Syria. The Swedes are pretty laid back. They never make fun of anybody that I recallexcept the Norwegians. Something about a war five hundred years ago I think.

And then there's this from Moon of Alabama:

Under Fight-Against-ISIS Disguise "West" Prepares To Openly Attack Syria

Sir Edge's picture

Good Points Pave...Interesting Info...

........Sad... That maybe We are Being Zioed by Zero via Zato

earleflorida's picture


i was gonna comment, but after readings 'yours truly' i abstain!

absolutely brilliant


J Jason Djfmam's picture

Shot at and killed by:

Who the hell knows?

Tarshatha's picture

Do you have a link for that?

They would also have to pass through Bulgarian (or Turkish) air space and although Bulgaria in many ways is sympathetic to Russia, it is also feeling the West's pressure regarding sanctions.

Winston Churchill's picture

Why not over Iran ?

A big "fuck you" from the Ayotollah.

Max Steel's picture

Here it is

Breaking : Athens Denies US Request to Close Airspace for Russian Aid to Syria

Pinch Me!!

omniversling's picture

BIG Q IS: "WTF are US backed forces doing there? (hint: Kings of Chao, Ordo ab). Russia has had Tartus Base since 1971

"Tartus hosts a Soviet-era naval supply and maintenance facility, under a 1971 agreement with Ba'athist Syria, which was—until the second year of the Syrian Civil War—staffed by Russian naval personnel. Most recently, the facility hosts the Amur class floating workshop PM-138, capable of providing technical maintenance to Russian warships deployed in the Mediterranean.[4]"

knukles's picture

"Risks confrontation with WHAT US backed forces" pray tell Mr Kerry.
ISIS is US backed forces?



two hoots's picture

Agree h_h.  Not to mention the impact on their families, all citizens in developed countries that will pay for this in many ways, displaced peoples, etc, etc.  Major cracks from our protracted wars are showing and all that seems important is who wins, who prospers?   We have filled the M.E. with guns, ammo, explosives, rockets and all sorts of sundry war instruments and pretend we are pursuing peace?

Occident Mortal's picture

There are 11 million people who are displaced by the Syrian war.

Most of them are still either in Syria or in camps nearby in neighbouring countries.

Now that Germany is very openly saying "Come to Pappa!!". This flood of people walking through Hungary is going to explode into huge 7 digit numbers.

MeetTozter's picture

Caption of Kerry picture is missing, it is "Guess how I snuck so many potatoes into the room?"

BeansMcGreens's picture

Thought it might be  Kerry saying "Har.Har...These things look just like me.

TeamDepends's picture

How about: "I could put ketchup on these."

americanreality's picture

Nothing insightful, nothing clever.  Teamdepends.  

TeamDepends's picture

Yet another ZHer who has been here a long time who comes out of the shadows only to be negative, like the douche who attacked Miffed the other day. Makes you wonder. So, in order to make us look bad you needed to post something clever or insightful. Nothing clever, nothing insightful. Nothing. americanreality.

J Jason Djfmam's picture

How about: "Meet my mother and father."

Pliskin's picture

Kerry's saying to the press, "Let me introduce you to the new President and Prime Minister of Ukraine."


clade7's picture

"7 Courics my ass!"   Have a look at these beauties!

Randy Marsh aint got nothing on me!"

Urban Redneck's picture

I wonder if his wife makes him wear a paper bag over his head in bed... Regardless, his plastic surgeon should be locked up for that crime against humanity.

Chuck Walla's picture
"Confrontation" With US-Backed Forces

Long Whitehouse(or Bathhouse) branded Adult Depends. Little Barry always soils  himself when opposed by people he can't threaten or buy.



fleur de lis's picture

This country has completely lost its mind and it's never coming back. The chaos in Syria is indicative of the insane asylum escapees who run policy and control things that go bang. Now we have the ADL which thinks that the Celtic Cross is a hate symbol. What happened? Did they run out of Christmas caroles or creche displays?

These are the same maniacs who decide what we're supposed to think about everything. In all the centuries of British rule in Ireland not one Brit ever came up with something that stupid.

general ambivalent's picture

We are all equal. Nationalism good. Black nationalism best. Female nationalism better.


(Or, Four legs good, two legs best. Five legs and two heads better.)

two hoots's picture

The bigger picture is the displacement and disruption of peoples/families for generations to come.  Moving them from their homelands and flooding the already economically burdened West as the US and Russia are trying to prove who's dick is bigger oblivious to the consequences. We will all pay for this control BS as societies in the west already have......all the many social problems we discuss here, we don't need more.

Mr. Magoo's picture

"the secretary made clear that if such reports were accurate, these actions could further escalate the conflict,

lead to greater loss of innocent life, increase refugee flows and risk confrontation with the anti-ISIL coalition operating in Syria.”

There you have the real truth as to why this Hegelian dialectic scenario in play unfolds

Increasing the unwashed masses of immigrants to Europe to continue to destabilize an already chaotic situation in Europe


and another proxy war with Russia in addition to the one in Ukraine


Straight form the Horses mouth

TheAntiProgressive's picture

Since he is "not sure", yet, maybe he ought to resign and replaced with someone who would know what the fuck is going on.

Shad_ow's picture

Not depopulation, New World Order, one world rule.

Carpenter1's picture

All theatre. Russia and the US are NOT Enemies, they both have central banks, go to the same globalist meetings, and serve the same master.


Just source all the pics of Lavrov all chummy with his peers at meetings and ask yourself why Russia even goes to these US sponsored clubs.


Doesn't add up until you consider there are no enemy nations, we are their enemy

viahj's picture

if that were true then we would already have a global government in place.  Eu...check.  NAU...check (stealth by treaty).  ASEAN...still in development as China maybe changing it's mind about goin along with the Western led NWO, hence the US meddling in the S China sea on behalf of the already NWO captuered Asian countries.  AU...check.  Who's missing from this....Russia.  yes, they have a central bank, all modern economies do and they serve a necessary function (unfortunately is that the Western CBs are captured and not run for the benefit of their host nations/people).  why do you think that the West has been poking the Bear for all of modern history?  The NWO made tremendous inroads into capturing Russia after the fall of the USSR but it has stalled in it's desire for complete control, as it has over the West.  ironically? Putin removed some of the tentacles that were stealing Russian resources.  who cares if he then enriches himself in the process?  are you fighting for the common Russian against its own gov't?  i don't pretend to forecast who will win out and utlimately control Russia, but i don't see that the fight is over.....hence Ukraine and Syria...both started by the West to weaken Russia.

omniversling's picture

No coincidence that US, Russia and China ALL have the Pentangle star in their military insignia. All heading in the same direction, one world military, at which point it will probably be inverted, to appease Baphomet. A good round of sabre rattling now ensures huge budgets into the future fighting the endless war against a noun (trrrrrrrism), and a gateway to synthesis from the 'thesis/antithesis' paradigm.




Ze Durvil:

Mr. Magoo's picture

That is correct, especially since the have the Rothschild dual head eagle hanging in the courtroom