2,000 Russian Troops Head To Syria For "First Phase" Of Mission To Support Assad

Tyler Durden's picture

With each passing day, The Kremlin seems less and less interested in observing any niceties with regard to how it describes Russia’s military involvement in Syria. 

Initially, it seemed likely that Moscow would go the Ukraine route by providing logistical support and lurking behind the scenes while officially denying - or at least downplaying - its role in the conflict. Over the course of the last two weeks, it’s become increasingly clear that Russia now intends to make no secret of its intention not only to stabilize the Assad regime but in fact to turn the tide completely with the provision of advanced weapons and equipment including combat aircraft, tanks, and drones.

The only remaining question was how long it would be before Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem made an official request for ground troops, allowing Moscow to abandon all pretense that Russia isn’t officially at war and while we may not have reached that point yet, you can’t very well build a forward operating base and not staff it which is why now, according to FT, Moscow is set to send 2,000 troops to Latakia as part of the mission’s “first phase”. Here’s more:

Russia is to deploy 2,000 military personnel to its new air base near the Syrian port city of Latakia, signalling the scale of Moscow’s involvement in the war-torn country.


The deployment “forms the first phase of the mission there”, according to an adviser on Syria policy in Moscow.


The force will include fighter aircraft crews, engineers and troops to secure the facility, said another person briefed on the matter.


Three western defence officials agreed that the Russian deployment tallied with the numbers needed to establish a forward air base similar to those built by western militaries in Afghanistan.

Here's more, from The New York Times, on the buildup at Latakia:

The deployment of some of Russia’s most advanced ground attack planes and fighter jets as well as multiple air defense systems at the base near the ancestral home of President Bashar al-Assad appears to leave little doubt about Moscow’s goal to establish a military outpost in the Middle East. The planes are protected by at least two or possibly three SA-22 surface-to-air, antiaircraft systems, and unarmed Predator-like surveillance drones are being used to fly reconnaissance missions.


Russia has military presences near Latakia and in Tartus.Russian Moves in Syria Widen Role in MideastSEPT. 14, 2015


“With competent pilots and with an effective command and control process, the addition of these aircraft could prove very effective depending on the desired objectives for their use,” said David A. Deptula, a retired three-star Air Force general who planned the American air campaigns in 2001 in Afghanistan and in the 1991 Persian Gulf war.


In addition, a total of 15 Russian Hip transport and Hind attack helicopters are also now stationed at the base, doubling the number of those aircraft from last week, the American official said. For use in possible ground attacks, the Russians now also have nine T-90 tanks and more than 500 marines, up from more than 200 last week.


“The equipment and personnel just keep flowing in,” said the American official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential intelligence reports. “They were very busy over the weekend.”

On Monday, the Russian embassy in Damascus came under mortar fire. That attack, Moscow says, did not emanate from ISIS but rather from other anti-Assad forces backed by “external sponsors”: 

The Russian foreign ministry said a shell, which landed near its embassy on Sunday but caused no casualties, came from Jobar, which is held by anti-Assad fighters who were not allied with Isis and had “external sponsors”.


“We expect a clear position with regard to this terrorist act from all members of the international community, including regional players,” the ministry said. “This requires not just words but concrete action.”


It added that the fighters’ “foreign sponsors” were responsible for using their influence on “illegal armed formations”.

Clearly, “foreign sponsors” is a reference to Assad’s US-backed regional enemies including the Saudis, Qatar, and Turkey among others and this certainly seems to indicate that the Russians will not be prepared to tolerate attacks on their assets by groups who enjoy the support of the US-backed coalition. Of course quite a few of the groups battling for control of Syria are supported either directly or indirectly by the US and its regional allies which means that even if Russia manages to avoid direct confrontation with the handful of troops the US overtly backs, avoiding confrontations with the troops covertly supported by the US and other state actors will be impossible by definition, as they, just as much as ISIS, are angling for the ouster of Assad.

Meanwhile, the French took the absurdity to a whole new level on Monday when Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius claimed that the country's plans to begin bombing Syria were born out of concerns for "self defense". Here's the quote

"We received specific intelligence indicating that the resent terrorist attacks against France and other European nations were organized by Daesh [Arabic derogatory term for IS] in Syria. Due to this threat we decided to start reconnaissance flights to have the option for airstrikes, if that would be necessary. This is self-defense."

And so, as the violence escalates and Syria looks set to become the stage for a not-so-cold war pitting Russia and its regional proxies against the US and its regional proxies, we close with the following graphic which (partially) quantifies the human cost of geopolitical wrangling gone horribly awry:

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Guitarbill's picture

Let the games begin!

Looney's picture

With the EU Refugees Crisis and the Russian military build-up in Syria, Ukraine has fallen off the radar.

However, as soon as Putin gets busy wiping out ISIL in Syria, Ukraine will start a new round of war against the two break-away republics.

One doesn’t have to be a Nostradamus to foresee it. We, the exceptional, always use the same playbook. Remember WHEN the coup in Ukraine occurred? During the last week of the Olympic Games, while Putin was busy meeting with Merkel, Xi, Abe, et al.

Mark my words - with Putin’s first successes in Syria, the blood will start flowing in Ukraine once again, unfortunately.


Jlasoon's picture

Trump - "Why are we doing anything in Syria? Just let russia destroy ISIL. Do we really have a problem with that?"

saints51's picture

Keep pushing this piece of shit Trump. When he uses a false flag to ban guns I blame you. What do you people not understand in " DO NOT COMPLY".

hedgeless_horseman's picture



If recent history is any indicator, then the US-backed ISIS fighters are going to get their asses handed to them, just like the US-backed Georgian fighters did.  My money says Putin doesn't want to get bogged down, he will uncouple his war hounds, and this will be over in relatively short order. Putin doesn't have to hide his support, like Obama does, which is a HUGE advantage.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

"Thank God, the Russians are here!"

Never thought I'd hear myself say that in my lifetime.

Thanks, Obama!

SheepRevolution's picture

I was hoping for 200,000. But okay, better than nothing

Pure Evil's picture

Well, a false flag attack on Turkey by ISIS should be enough to draw ZATO into the fray since an attack on one ZATO country is an attack on all ZATO countries.

As an added benefit, all those refugees, since most are young men of fighting age, can be conscripted into the war and should be more than willing to take up cause for their new homelands.

Billy the Poet's picture

Let the games begin!


One hundred quatloos on the newcomers.

Haus-Targaryen's picture

We shall see, in relativly short order what the Russian Air Force is capable of.  We saw shock & awe in 2003.  Lets see if the Russians can do it as well.  

Either way, I am sure people an Langly are hopping mad their private army is about to get sent through the wood-chipper.   

Money Counterfeiter's picture
Money Counterfeiter (not verified) SoilMyselfRotten Sep 22, 2015 9:41 AM

Take M-5 south, go west and you are in Israel  good luck.

Publicus's picture

Time to exterminate ISIS cities with all those ISIS civilian supporters in them.

Scooby Dooby Doo's picture

Scooby occasionally hears about freedom fighters from the US traveling to Syria to fight ISIS.

If Scooby goes to Syria to fight ISIS with Russia would he be eligible for dual citizenship USSA/USSR?

nuubee's picture

You know, I don't like Assad any more than our adminstration does... but when your (meaning the U.S. elites) meddling in that country is causing more harm than Assad would likely be causing, then you need to GTFO.

jeff montanye's picture

imnho (i can't help it) the russians know the whole world is watching and nearly all have no love for isis.  isis, unlike iraqis and afghanistanis, are stateless people.  where they are now is in someone else's country and they have been acting like bullies, it seems.  i doubt they spread much of their stolen wealth (like that of so many) around.

russia has had to take quite a bit of shit over ukraine.  i think the russian military will deeply enjoy destroying the tools of the cia and the mossad (the russians know to whom victoria nuland and her tubby hubby really owe fealty) to cheers (some forced) from the west which so lately sanctioned them.

ThanksChump's picture

I expect Russia will use airborne assets only for hardened targets and reconnaisance. The bulk of IS assets can be exterminated from a safe distance with artillery.


Russia has never tried very hard to limit civilian casualties in urban guerilla conficts. If saving lives can be accomplished at little expense and without undo risk exposure, they do it. Otherwise, civilians are an unfortunate cost of war. This is unpopular with bleeders (guilt-ridden liberals in gated communities), but it is nonetheless effective at reducing enemy headcount.


What will be REALLY interesting: when US commanders see that their Russian counterparts ruthlessly clearing large areas of enemies, how will they react?

Global Hunter's picture

In Grozny Chechnya the Russians claimed to have established a "civilian corridor" and ordered all civilians to leave before they bombed it to rubble.  I think they care a lot about civilian casualties because of the big picture (winning hearts) but agree with you in that once they decide to go, they will go to finish the job.

ThanksChump's picture

Yes, Russia warns people to flee first. Then they act decisively.


The US is more like that mom at Wal-Mart: "Leave that alone and come here." "I said come here." "Come here." "I'm counting to 5. One..." "Now, I really mean it mister, you come here now." "Right now.".......

The Black Bishop's picture

In all likelihood they will send in their Chechens along with special forces/airborne. This is going to get really fucking ugly for the Jihadis.


Syria will be a trainingpool for Russian forces preparing against NATO/Ukraine. They get to test their doctrines and hardware.

Scooby Dooby Doo's picture

I hope israel has enough medical facilities to treat their wounded fighters.

hannah's picture

blackbishop - agree 100%. the ussa has been 'training' shooting an enemy with no modern weapons and training. wait til we lose 18 jets in one week and 3000 dead soldiers. all the contract military wont show up. it is easy now fighting idiots. wait til we have to go up against the russians.....

The Black Bishop's picture

I really doubt the US will stick their neck out, along with the other EU asskissers. If the Russians set up an effective air defense with S300s or S400s along with interceptor, I really doubt that the AngloZionists will dare to intentionaly bomb Syrian Army, Iranian units, Hezbollah or Russian units. Then the Russians would slam down a 100% no-fly zone over Syria for anyone but themselves and Syria.


This might be a good instance for Russia to showcase their rebuilt army/airforce/navy and see if it scares the NATO-fuckers back to their senses.


Anything to avoid a full blown World War 4 IMO. Playing with sticks and stones is only soooo fun...until you die of radiation poisoning.

Scooby Dooby Doo's picture

`rebuilt army/airforce/navy and see if it scares the NATO-fuckers back to their senses.`

I would have typed:
`back into their snake pits.`

hannah's picture

black bishop - eventually the ussa will go to war. there will be a world war. no way we get out of this financial mess without a major war.

The Black Bishop's picture

In essence I agree that we are looking at a coming World War. But it IS possible to stop it. The way to do that is to make the Chief warmongerer implode economicaly. If the US economy and society implodes, it will no longer be able to lead or conduct a major World War. But offcourse there is always the risk that they go for broke out of desperation.


I think Russia and China's long game now is to bury the USA economcialy and diplomaticaly. Instigate social unrest inside the USA and undermine the economy.

Victor von Doom's picture

I'd agree that traditionally a war is what the powers that be would need. Nowadays I'm not so sure. 

With people this dumb and distracted in the West it may be that this shit will just roll on.

There will be no raising of interest rates and no pick up in the economy - and it won't end.

War is only needed if people start to wake up.

If they stay dumb and passive then the brutalization process can continue without hitch.

Anyone care to shoot this down?

Tarshatha's picture

"Langly" and Tel Aviv's private army

zvzzt's picture

Art 5 probably isn't valid since ISIS is not formally a country. Not completely sure about it, but I can imagine the situation is similar to IRA activities in/versus UK and NATO/ZATO wasn't involved back then. 

Talleyrand's picture

Yeah, but do they have ice cream and pizza? That's what an army needs to be successful in that part of the world.

weburke's picture

place your financial bets..

-The IDF has made security preparations to ensure the safety of the tens of thousands of Jews expected at the Western Wall on Yom Kippur. “Thousands of police will be in Jerusalem,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. Additionally, the IDF announced on Monday that it will stop movement into Israel from Judea and Samaria, as well as from Gaza crossings, from Tuesday at noon until Wednesday, one minute before midnight.  “The lifting of the closure will occur in two days... in accordance with a situation evaluation,” the IDF added. 

Billy the Poet's picture

Captain Ahab hit the whaling wall and only I survived to tell the tell. Call me unimpressed.

Paveway IV's picture

Hey - don't forget the U.S.-trained moderate rebels, HH. The first 60 sent to Division 30 north of Aleppo in July were wiped out, deserted or defected. The Division 30 commander just quit on Saturday saying U.S. help was bullshit. And Sunday, a fresh new batch of 75 were sent from their British/U.S. training camp in Turkey to Tel Rifaat rat-line just north of Aleppo, driving 12 new Toyotas with twin ZU-23 autocannons mounted on the back. 

There seems to be some contention among the Twitterati that they just handed these over to al Nusra or IS and deserted or defected, but the accounts reporting that get deleted. In any case, you have what may be 12 new anti-aircraft equipped Toyotas gunning for the newly-supplied Russian Frogfoots and HINDs, courtesy of the U.S. government. I'm guessing THAT won't go over to big in Moscow. 

False flag chemical weapons attack any minute now.

Handful of Dust's picture

<< The first 60>>


... at a cost of over $500 million.

Paveway IV's picture

Technically, it was $500 million for this fiscal year. So they should get maybe 250 recruits or so by the end of the year. Less the first 130 that are dead, quit or deserted. The entire program is suppose to turn out 5000 but it will need funding for next year and the year after that and... Gen. Austin had the balls to ask for $600 million MORE to continue the program in 2016. Hey, just U.S. tax dollars. If your loser local 'moderate rebels' don't succeed at first, train another thousand and send them back to Syria with anti-aircraft equipped Toyotas. Al Nusra could use the weapons.

Billy the Poet's picture

In any case, you have what may be 12 new anti-aircraft equipped Toyotas gunning for the newly-supplied Russian Frogfoots and HINDs, courtesy of the U.S. government.


"The Toyota brand is changing its U.S. advertising tagline to "Let's Go Places," replacing "Moving Forward," its slogan since 2004."



Paveway IV's picture

Good God, this just gets stranger and stranger...

US-backed Syrian rebels arrested by another group: Report

A statement release by the Shamiya Front said that the arrest of the fighters had been only temporary and said they had been confused as the fighters' carried the flag of the Syrian government.


“They were investigated and then released,” Captain Mohammad Ahmad said. “The Shamiya Front has no problem fighting alongside any group that wants to fight Isis. But 30th Division aren’t fighting Isis. Their war is just in the media.”


According to the SOHR, the rebels crossed through the Bab al-Salama border point, in a heavily armed convoy of 12 vehicles with US air cover.

WTF? THAT was their disguise? Carry a Syrian government flag on your obviously rebel Toyotas bristling with ZU-23s moving under U.S. air cover from Turkish territory? Yeah... THAT should f'king work. Not sure what this has to do with the (supposedly) later surrender of their weapons to some al Qaeda crazies, buy why not? How could this possibly get any more screwed up? 

I guess I shouldn't really complain. All this entertainment for a mere $500 million tax dollars even though Obama has already LOST his criminal attempt to oust Assad. 250,000 Syrian lives wasted on another failed U.S. clownfuckery attempt at imposed democracy. Shouldn't the U.S. be saving it's money for the war reparations it will owe Syria? It's got to be in the tens of billions by now.

ThanksChump's picture

"250,000 Syrian lives wasted on another failed U.S. clownfuckery attempt at imposed democracy."


Is it wrong that I pictured Obama riding on Mr. Ed's (Kerry) back, shouting "Onward, Horseboy! There is fuckery to spread!"

Paveway IV's picture

Well I'll be damned...

US-trained Division 30 rebels 'betrayed US and hand weapons over to al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria'

What really pisses me off isn't the fact that they did this - that's no damn surprise. It's that .gov made such a ham-handed attempt to censor this on Twitter. It even got the Reddit crowd buzzing. Nothing like in-your-face censorship from our Stazi overlords. 

Oracle 911's picture

For Russia Syria is more about its security then the pipeline. Just look at the map of ME and Russia's neighborhood.

And one more thing, the Ukraine's army cased to exist, now it is a more or less organized mob which can turn on Kiev anytime. So, chill guys, US already lost control over Ukraine.

ThirteenthFloor's picture

+1 Oracle. Key point. Scorched earth and chaos is complete in Ukraine.
That timing corresponds with Putin's entry to Syria. ISIL is history by October.

ThanksChump's picture

I'll add that by the end of October, IS remnants have already fled back into Iraq, and Lavrov is negotiating with Iraq for permission to pursue them.


The US will tell Iraq to refuse and threaten to dye the Iraqi's thumbs purple again.

pot_and_kettle's picture

Thing is, I think Putin's already gotten on the phone w/ Kadyrov and may borrow some of those Chechens of his.  I've read that, in that part of the world, the Chechens have quite the reputation and a lot of these ISIS/Mossad types may be eating their meals running for a good long while.



Motasaurus's picture

I really, really hope that the French make the mistake of flying missions in Syria. 

I just hope some Russian grunt manages to capture the exact moment the Russian anti-air batteries shoot those bastards down. 

Element's picture

Oh dream on, the French are flying missions over Syria right now, recon missions, prior to a bombardment.

And what are the Syrians or Russians going to do that with? Fuck all is what. And the moment Russia attacked French NATO jets, that airbase would be out of action and smoking ruins within two hours. And that will be the end of that.

But of course Russia knows not to do that and so does Assad.

hedgeless_horseman's picture



the moment Russia attacked French NATO jets, that airbase would be out of action

Airbase?  They don't need no stinkin' airbase.

Who will really know who shot what down?  Remember a certain 777 over the Ukraine?

Element's picture

Really? A bloody short range manpad, against jets bombing with standoff weapons and flying at 40K ft?

Dream on! You better get a clue first how this is done.

What will really occur is Putin's Su-25s will go in at lower-level and Western jets will bomb from high level, and what putin wants, namely exclusive access, he will not get, unless there is agreement