Ominous Warning: Russian Air Power in Ukraine

The Plunge: Syria’s Decsent Into Civil War

Editors Note: when the war broke out we were firmly on the side of the rebellion, however, this changed after some years when Al-Nursia and ISIS arrived on the scene. Slowly rebel groups became too aligned with jihadists and after what happened in Libya, we quickly deduced that Assad must now win and stay put. The reporting and comments will reflect this evolution of our views.
For latest events involving Syria see here. This post spawned due to size.
[Above] 27-May 2013: latest map from the BBC.

21-May 2013: Israeli and Syrian troops exchange fire on the Golan.

20-May 2013: Heavy fighting in Homs province in Al Qusayr. This includes pro-Assad fighters from  Hezbollah. The concern is this may have more to do with sectarian "cleansing" of Christan/Sunni areas. Leaflets were dropped by government aircraft instructing civilians there to leave.

05-May 2013: The UN says rebels may have used Sarin (see here). This would be potentially very problematic because it means Assad is not in control of his chemical munitions. This could get very complicated – very quickly.

[Below] 04-May 2013: Footage of what is purported to be a 2nd IAF (Israeli Air Force) strike on targets outside Damascus (the cover story given by the Israelis is dubious at best). This time the IAF reportedly use some type of standoff munition released outside of Syrian airspace, likely an AGM-142 or GBU-31class weapons from F-16I or F-15I. There is no way to verify any of this as of yet. Perhaps flying aircraft into Syria is no longer the preferred option due to Syrian air defenses? The Syrian regime might not be overly upset (in one sense) over an Israeli attack if it rallies support internally (in Syria) against Israel/US. This could get very complicated – very quickly. Then we get this on 06-May - Bingo!

The Whitehouse needs to act more aggressively (and should make footage available) to aid rebel elements in Syria. Further Israeli attacks on Syria – whatever the reason – effectively force (puppets) the administration to act more directly. The more the Israelis attack Syria - the more the US needs to show assistance to rebels. Netanyahu government privately prefers “the devil it knows” in Syria – and so part of calculus to attack targets there. Again the origin of the explosions in Damascus has yet to be independently verified. Then we get this on 06-May.

The chemical weapons issue (use by Assad government forces) has reared its ugly head again. We are watching events closely.  

[Below] 29-Apr 2013: New images have appeared claiming to be RBK-250 AD-1 chemical submunition. Positive identification of this type of weaponry (and the munition in particular) is difficult as information on these weapons as a whole - remains largely outside of the public sphere. The video shows fighters apparently exposed to something. That the video show effects of Sarin agent exposure - we cannot say with any confidence at this point. The images are disturbing regardless.

We have been watching the tragic events in Syria since the start of the popular ‘Arab Spring’ uprising against the 40-year autocracy of the Assad family. The conflict is by any measure – an utter catastrophe for Syria and her people. The SyAAF appears to have switched to a new horrific depopulation strategy to force civilians out. 

We would remind those who insist this civil war is "an internal matter" to recognize the masses of Syrian refugees (and Syrian children) that have flooded into all nations bordering Syria as an international humanitarian disaster - and act accordingly. 

This blogs main focus is the larger global airpower picture, however as the Assad family attempts to retain control - and thrust the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) into the fighting – a post is warranted.

Again our thanks to ACIG for daily developments and expertise as these titanic events in the Middle East unfold.

08-Feb 2013: Increasing reports of sporadic SyAAF aircraft turning on its handlers - and attacking Assadist elements or government units. However - this is just as likely due to IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) issues. Remember that Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) is a cornerstone of all armed conflict. 
[Above / Below] Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) Aero L-39ZA 'Albatros' light attack-jet fires UV-16-57 rockets during an airstrike in the village of Tel Rafat, some 37 km (23 miles) north of Aleppo, 09-Aug, 2012. The gun pod containing a GSh-23 twin automatic cannon is also clearly visible under the nose. Pay close attention to the insignia on this aircraft fin and wings.
Events moving quickly. Special thanks also to Arab MiG-19 and MiG-21 Units in Combat.

[Below] L-39 firing its twin-23mm GSh-23 cannon. The "buzz" sound from the weapon firing is clearly audible - and it is frightening. Footage dated approximately 04-Aug 2012. The aircraft is also being shot at from the ground as tracer-fire is clearly visible.

[Above] 09-Aug-2012: An SyAAF Mig-23BN releasing free-fall bombs during recent live-fire maneuvers. Because of the type(s) of aerial munitions being photographed in video elsewhere (drag retarded FAB-500ShN bombs), this aircraft type is now with near certainty, being thrown into the conflict by the regime.

[Below] SyAAF 'Hind' Gunship. Note carefully the national insignia on the aircraft. 

Since the time of our original writing  (and in a strange twist of irony?) a government Mi-25 gunship numbered "2802" was photographed wrecked after the Taftanaz airfield was overrun by anti-Assad fighters of  "Ahrar ash-Shams." Video of this aircraft can be found further below.

Syrian intellectuals in absentia have expressed increasing despair as to what (has happened and) will happen to Syrian civilians as this civil war continues, as well as anger at Russian support for Assad. Events have included: the downing of a Turkish RF-4E by Syrian S-60 radar-directed 57mm on the coast (which have downed so many Phantoms over Vietnam and the Middle East), the movement of Syrian chemical weapons by Assad forces, Assad top ministers killed in a bomb blast, video of possible retribution killings by FSyA (Free Syrian Army) rebels, massive numbers of civilians fleeing beyond Syrian borders, and mass killings of Syrian civilians by Assadist elements. As fighting rages on - some Syrian towns have been literally reduced to rubble. 

In January 2013 Jihadists reportedly gunned down a top Syrian rebel commander near the Turkish border. This indicates (strongly suggests) that the FSyA are not (are not) 'Islamists' or 'Jihadists.'
SyAAF pilot defections on a scale similar to Libya are far less probable – though some have occurred.

[Below] This picture provided by Ammon News and supplied by Syrian activists appeared in many places of this defecting 'MiG-21bis' of Col. Hassan Mirei al-Hamadeh who flew the plane to Jordan. The photo is actually an Egyptian MiG-21MF (recently overhauled by Odesaviarem), photographed a few months ago by Russian tourists in Aswan or Hurghada). Col al-Hamadeh was from Dmeyr AB and landed at King Hussein AB in Mafraq. He was granted political asylum in Jordan. Syria immediately demanded the aircraft's return. His name has been published elsewhere for some time now.
[Below] From the same series, what is clearly an  Egyptian MiG-21. This MiG-21MF was photographed in southern Egypt - and is not a Syrian MiG-21bis in Jordan. The high-visibility orange markings are also consistent with Egyptian aircraft.
[Below] Color plate of a SyAAF MiG-21bis. al-Hamadeh's aircraft is in storage at Mafraq Air Base.
What is a certainty – has been the indisputable lethality of Russian anti-tank weapons. However, here is an exception. [Below] The T-72 in the foreground has already been knocked out by a mine or IED. The next regime T-72 is luckier. It is hit by a direct-fire anti-tank weapon. The weapon either malfunctions or the tank is protected by reactive armor. The immense energy of the anti-tank weapon's penetration-plume is redirected out into the street. Remarkable. The chanting of "Allahu Akbar" (الله أكبر) returns to the western ear in Syria - as this time - this Assad tank moves off.
We have also initially seen some rather sloppy international journalism on the conflict – reporters don’t know what aircraft or armor they are looking at - and so cannot assess events with much authenticity. We understand working in a war zone is a tough job, but more accurate information is always best. If they were to photograph an F-15 over Aleppo would they inform the public "another Assad MiG swoops in over the city..."

Reports of Israeli-contractor flown UAV attempting to enter Syrian airspace to monitor Syrian chemical weapons storage sites may be accurate. Between 2001-to-2008 the SyAADF has shot down some 10-to-12 Israeli UAVs - annually.

Reports of Ukrainian flown SyAAF aircraft are erroneous. This is because there have been up to four (4) L-39 attack jets operating over Aleppo at the same time. [Below] An L-39 armed with UV-16-57 rocket pods in low over Aleppo.

[Below] The L-39 is not a complete stranger to the West. The aircraft is popular with several air show display teams. Pictured here are L-39s of the American ‘Patriot Jet Team.’
[Below] 07-Aug-2012: SyAAF L-39 using UV-16-57 rockets on Salah al-Din, Aleppo.

[Below] Drag retarded FAB-500ShN bombs not used by L-39. Likely from MiG-23BN.
[Below] SyAAF Mi-25 Hind ‘seeing some movement’ from these FSyA fighters. 

SyAAF Mi-24D in action over Deraa.[Account since terminated]

[Below] Attack on regime column passing Bara, in Idlib Province in late July 2012. Watch T-55 tank crewman escape after fire erupts from his engine @ playback point 4:47.[As of 25-Nov 2012 'YouTube' is reporting account terminated associated with this video]

[Below] Leaked video of Assad Republican Guard ZSU-23-4 in action (against rebels or civilians) 11-Aug, 2012.
[Below] 13-Aug, 2012: Dramatic confirmation that MiG-23BNs ‘Floggers’ are in fact in action in the conflict. One of four MiG-23BNs (the flight leader) is hit by what appears to be a Man-Portable Air-Defense Systems (MANPAD/MPAD, shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile) over the Dayr az-Zawr area. A careful review of the video reveals a small explosion near the aircraft just before MiG catches fire, and is consistent with a small anti-aircraft missile. The pilot pulls up after being hit. MiGs had been bombing targets in the Dayr az-Zawr area for several days and rebels reportedly set a trap in an attempt to bring down the aircraft. The jet cashes in eastern Syria and its pilot reportedly captured. This area is effectively free of Assadists.

[Below] 13-Aug, 2012: MiG-23BNs bombing Kfar Nabl, in Idlib.[As of 25-Nov 2012 'YouTube' is reporting account terminated associated with this video]

15-Aug, 2012: Massive airstrike on/near Aleppo. Large loss of life (civilians). Sadly SyAAF MiG-23BNs targeted Azzaz north of Aleppo. It is strategically important (road) connecting Aleppo with Turkey, and home to two bitter defeats of Assadists in the past weeks. The results of the strike are too graphic to post.

15-Aug, 2012 Air raids on Dhmayr today. FSyA mission in Dhmayr was successful and captured (with the defection of?) 2nd battalion of the 55th brigade of the 24th division of SyAADF. The rebels may have acquired many more MANPADS from this base capture. This was the likely reason for SyAAF's targeting (counterattack) of Dmeyr. The 55th Battalion reportedly was responsible for air defense of the town.

15-Aug, 2012: Dramatic and frightening footage of a gun battle on the rooftops of Damascus. Warning - footage is disturbing [As of 25-Nov 2012 'YouTube' is reporting account terminated associated with this video].

17-Oct 2012: MANPAD (Man-Portable Air-Defense) weapon use by FSyA appears to be arriving on scene. This will cause Assads airpower calculus to change. SyAAF losses are mounting in the past few days and indeed we are now seeing the use of expendables by SyAAF aircraft (see below). Also the arrival of SA-7/14/16s should force aircraft to operate at higher altitudes. We are likely to see increasing use of more-powerful SyAAF aircraft types including Su-22 'Fitter' and Su-24 'Fencer.'

[Below] 18-Aug, 2012: SyAAF MiG-21 documented using air-to-ground rockets over al-Mayadeen, outside Dayr az-Zawr.

[Below] 22-Aug, 2012: Another L-39 attack on Aleppo. The aircraft cannon fire is clearly visible and audible. Frightening. [Account since terminated]

SyAAF L-39s persist over Aleppo. In this footage, they are bombing as rebel ground-fire (shooting at the plane) can clearly be heard.

[Below] 25-Aug 2012: Idleb. This SyAAF L-39 pilot is either hit by ground-fire or has some other problem - and flies into the ground - at speed! There are variety of reasons why an L-39 might not explode after hitting the ground. This is real life - not Hollywood.
[Below] 26-Aug 2012: Aleppo. Frightening clip of a T-72 coming down the street in the Sallaheddin District and then finding something it wants to shoot at. [Account since terminated]

The steady stream of imagery coming out of Syria are as frightening as they are surreal. This war is nothing short of - an utter catastrophe for Syria and her people. Assad is truly a monster.

[Below] 27-Aug 2012: Damascus. Dramatic footage of rebels bringing down a SyAAF Mi-8MT "Hip" helicopter.

The Mi-8 was hit (possibly by 'ZU-23-2' anti-aircraft gun) while attacking the Jobar District. It came down near the Ghufran Mosque in Qaboun District, barely 2km NW of the Old City, in full view of perhaps a million people. FSyA Badr Battalion claimed the kill. Assad has lost two Mi-8s and an L-39 within 24 hours. However, this is little consolation for the victims of regime butchery that just occurred in Daraya.
[Below] 30-Aug 2012: SyAAF MiG-21bis serial 2271, shot down after taking off from Abu ad-Duhor Air Base. [Account since terminated]

[Below] 30-Aug 2012: Sham Falcons Brigade directing one of their T-55s against Assad armor in Ariha. Give'm hell Falcons! [Account since terminated]

03-Sep 2012: Very clear video of another SyAAF  L-39ZA 'Aero' dropping bombs on al-Bab outside Aleppo. Anywhere the regime is heavily relying on aircraft - Assad land forces are not in control. [video has since disappeared]. 

[Below] 04-Sep 2012: MiG-21bis down! Aircraft Serial 2280. Location unknown, but perhaps near Abu ad-Duhor Air Base. GRAPHIC WARNING: [Account since terminated]

[Below] 05-Sept, 2012: SyAAF Mi-17 is brought down – location unknown - by perhaps rebel MANPAD or just a likely ZU-23 AAA.
So what is the disposition and operational capability of the SyAAF as of 12-Sept 2012? According to our sources this assessment is as follows:

"The SyAAF is neither grounded nor 'held back'. However SyAAF assets are being held reserve in case of foreign intervention. More than a few SyAAF pilots are 'under suspicion' and grounded and some have even been shot. There is no use of MiG-29s and MiG-23ML/S' in air-to-ground or CAS role although the aircraft can fly these sorties. MiG-21s are much more economical to operate than the thirsty MiG-29. The Su-22 and Su-24 [both these aircraft-types receiving notoriety over places like Ras Lanuf in Libya] have been used and dropped quite a number of PGMs [precision guided munitions] - on special targets. 

[The] pace of operations decreased in the last few days, but up to the FSyA-SNA attacks on air bases in Idlib and Aleppo Provinces, the SyAAF was flying around 170-200 combat sorties a day. Around 55% of these by helicopters (roughly 50% of helicopter sorties are concerned with re-supply of cut-off or isolated regime strongholds), a few by transports, and rest by fighter-bombers. CAS fixed-wing fighter-bomber’ missions total around 60-70 sorties per day, primarily L-39s (up to 50 sorties a day) that strike Aleppo and surrounding areas, but also MiG-21s and MiG-23BNs. Typically SyAAF are dropping iron “dumb” bombs, such as FAB-50, FAB-100, FAB-250M54s, but we've seen also more modern FAB-250M-62s, various CBUs [cluster bombs] of Soviet-Russian design, and even 'FAE'-weapons [thermobaric weapons] of either domestic or Chinese design - being employed. 

Finally, SyAAF helicopters that previously used: FAB-series bombs, UV-16-57 rocket pods, gun pods - are now primarily deploying 'barrel' bombs in the form of some type of (oil) drum(s) filled with TNT, nails, and other materials, rolled out from rear loading ramps of Mi-8. 

Regardless of suspicions, and the shooting of pilots, what is left of the SyAAF - primarily all the Ba'ath Party members, from 'simple' section leaders, via Squadron- and Brigade COs, to higher ranks - quite certainly sees no other way out - but to fight. They not only have a very limited access to news (except pro-regime media) and so perhaps convinced about "foreign-instigated plot to destroy Syria" but they may also believe - it's either this or 'a bullet' (whether from the regime or rebels.) In this respect, SyAAF pilots who get shot down and survive to become POWs may consider themselves lucky.

[Below] 22-Sept 2012: This L-39 is hit and is now venting fuel. Pilot is on his way to an emergency landing.

03-Oct 2012: A statement from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkish forces had shelled targets along the border identified by radar, AFP news agency reported. Our sources are also reporting some type of artillery exchange between Syrian and Turkish 3rd Border Regiment. Reportedly Turkish forces fired roughly twenty 155mm shells around 1730 local time into Syria. Turkish artillery units used M-44T and M-52T self-propelled howitzers. Turkish Army units have reportedly used their AN/TPQ-36 ‘FireFinder’ Phased-array weapon locating radar to locate Syrian artillery and Turkey conducted a counter-fire mission against those Syrian elements. Source:

[Below] 05-Oct 2012: Mi-8 / Mi-17 is shot down over Eastern Ghouta [As of 25-Nov 2012 'YouTube' is reporting account terminated associated with this video]. [Account since terminated]

As of 10-Oct 2012, artillery exchanges between Syria and Turkey are continuing.

[Below] 10-Oct, 2012: Two THK F-16s intercepted a Syrian passenger Airbus A320 and forced it to land in Turkey citing that the aircraft was suspected to be carrying arms into Syria. The Airbus was forced to land Esenboga IAP, near Ankara.
Reportedly it was carrying a cargo of 'military communication devices' which were removed by Turkish authorities. The Airbus was then allowed to take off at 02:30hrs local time (23:30 GMT) again. Turkish and Syrian airspace is now closed to each others air traffic.
[Below] 13-Oct 2012: A down L-39 (serial 2119) in AinJara village in Aleppo. How this occurred is unclear however Nour Eddin AlZenki battalion is claiming. Pilot KIA:

[Below] 14-Oct 2012: An SyAAF MiG-21(MF ?) fighter has a problem and appears to hit the ground in the area of Ma'arshemshe (35°38'6.16"N 36°42'34.77"E). Pilot KIA.
[Below] 14-Oct 2012: Another L-39 is hit during FSyA attack on Wadi Deyf Army Base. (36°13'3.63"N 37°13'17.38"E) Safe ejection. Pilot POW:
[Below] 17-Oct 2012: A horrific sequence documenting a government Mi-8 that has been hit and then explodes in midair over Maarat an-Numaan. Crew vaporized. [Account since terminated]
[Below] 17-Oct 2012: SyAAF Su-22 Fitter (Su-22M-3K/4K/4) in action over the town of Ma’arrat Hourmah in Idlib province. This is the first time we have observed SyAAF aircraft employing expendables (flares to counter an increasing MANPAD threat). In this footage, the aircraft drops a single parachute bomb.

[Below] MiG-23BN bombing Eastern Ghouta.
[Above / Below] 18-Oct 2012: SyAAF Su-22M-4 in action over Hourmah in Idlib province.
[Below] Precise identification of SyAAF Su-22 types being photographed in action - has been challenging. The Su-22M-3K was offered with two engine options, either the Lyuka AL-21 or the R-29B-300. The R-29 is typically preferred by air forces also operating MiG-23/27.  Su-22M-4K is only fitted with the AL-21 engine. There is yet another derivative (not shown)  - the Su-22M-4. The quickest recognition feature on M-4 variant is the ram air inlet at the base of the vertical tail fin [see above photo]. We welcome any additional input on Fitters operated by the SyAAF.

[Below] 02-Nov 2012: First photographic confirmation of SyAAF Su-24MK in action over Idleb - Ma'sara.

The astute, as well as the relative amateur observer - by now, must surely have noted the markedly higher proficiency of the SyAAF pilots employing similar aircraft types that were used over Libya - namely Su-22 and Su-24. Intervention by the west in Syria versus in Libya is the proverbial 'apples to oranges.' 

[Below] SyAAF MiG-21 using its frightening twin Ghs-23 cannon, the same weapon that claimed so many Israeli aircraft over the Golan in 1973 – now turned on its own populous.

[Below] 25-Nov 2012: Mi-8 takes a direct hit from a MANPAD weapon. That the aircraft survives this hit and is then able to autorotate down to the ground is a complete miracle - a testimony to the pilots skill.
[Below] An aircraft hit by an anti-aircraft weapon. Weapon, aircraft type (possibly Su-24?) and pilot fate TBD.
[Above] 27-Nov 2012: Another government Mi-8 is brought down (making a very hard landing) possibly near the Sheikh Suleiyman Army Base. This one appears to be by rebel small-arms fire or AAA. [Account since terminated]

29-Nov 2012: Ominous large area power outage. Reason remains unclear/TBD.

In response to some western analysis that the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) attack missions have been highly inaccurate, poorly trained, have poor ground control, poor Forward Air Control (FAC), lack of PGMs (Precision Guided Munition), the need to avoid AAA fire:

"Many of air raids are actually very accurate, hitting precisely what the regime wants to hit - including: 
buildings used by the FSyA as field-HQs
bakeries and markets
makeshift hospitals
apartment buildings
rebel concentrations.

SyAAF airstrikes were one of the reasons why the Idlib Council proved unable to maintain control over the M5 or uphold the siege of Wadi ad-Dayf Army Base in Ma'arat an-Numaan area. Since the FSyA in Aleppo is deploying MBTs and artillery in Aleppo, the SyAAF is also the main force (in combination with snipers and remnants of one Rep. Guards Brigade) helping the regime to retain large parts of that city. 

Indeed the SyAAF is much more formidable than the LARAF (Libyan Air Force) was - last year. The SyAAF is definitely deploying FACs - and then with considerable success - even though these are using 'unconventional' methods of marking their targets; very often, FAC-officers are flying in helicopters; surely, there are relatively few 'SyAAF scouting parties' operating behind the rebel lines, but instead the regime is using combinations of SIGINT (tracking of cell/sat phones and radio stations) and HUMINT (informants on the ground), to deploy GPS-markers or gain GPS-coordinates of specific objects; GPS-coordinates are then provided - obviously, in very fast fashion, certainly several times a day from the same informant - to L-39, Su-22M-4K and Su-24MK-units.

So far, the SyAAF has been very effective in interdicting rebel supply chain(s). It might sound surprising, but L-39s armed with just UV-16-57 rocket pods and 23mm cannon have flown a number of extremely successful attacks on trucks carrying fuel and ammo to rebels in Aleppo and Idlib Provinces. This is the major reason why nearly all such traffic is now underway by night only. 

The SyAAF might lack GPS/GLONASS-supported PGMs, but it is and can use LGB (Laser Guided Bomb). Expect to see [their use ] more often now that the SyAAF began suffering serious losses; the reason they were not deployed until now was that the threat of ground fire was simply insufficient to warrant the employment of more expensive weapons" [However] the SyAAF is going to pay attention to the MANPAD threat [now] and not fly anything that must operate within range of the SA-7, SA-14 and SA-16."

[Above] Government MiG-23BN bombing a target in Der'a with parachute-retarded FAB-250 or 500.[As of 25-Nov 2012 'YouTube' is reporting account terminated associated with this video]

[Above] SyAAF Mi-25 Hind also in action over Der'a. [Below] The FSyA in Homs (Talbiseh) now operating a ZSU-23-4. These vehicles are very dangerous to all manner of low flying aircraft.[Account since terminated]

05-Dec 2012: NATO approves Patriot SAM batteries for Turkey to be deployed near the Syrian border. These batteries will not be operational for several weeks. [Below] Government Su-24MK in action over Aleppo. Again, heavy use of expendables is clearly observed.

06-Dec 2012: The USN USS Eisenhower [above] and the USS Iwo Jima [below] are steaming off the coast of Syria. We would remind the reader that SyAAF assets are being held reserve in case of foreign intervention. This would include SyAAF MiG-29(M/SM/M2/"SMT"?) and MiG-23ML/S units. According to Russian sources, Syria could possess S-300PMU2 (SA-20B) air defense systems, the Buk-M2E air defense missile systems, and the Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft systems. All of these would present extremely dangerous adversaries for foreign aircraft.
Again expect SyAAF fighter and GCI capability-proficiency to be markedly superior than either in Libya or the Balkans.

[Above] Color plate of SyAAF MiG-23MF
[Above] Color plate of SyAAF MiG-23MS (Tom Cooper)

Breakdown of confirmed SyAAF civil war operational/combat losses as of 09-Dec 2012:
  • L-39 – five 
  • MiG-21 - six
  • MiG-23 - three
  • Mi-2/8/17 - nineteen
  • Mi-25 – zero (two possibly damaged)
  • UAVs - four
  • Il-76: one (damaged on the ground and rendered currently non-operational)
SyAAF aircrew civil war losses:
  • 37 KIA or POW (all confirmed), 1 defection.
  • 6 ejected but fate unknown, and an additional 29 fate unknown (mostly helicopter crews). Additionally, at least 12-14 SyAAF officers and Deputy Operations were assassinated or captured in 'non-flying' operations. Though losses are high the total size of SyAAF qualified pilot pool is around 400.
[Below] Something is happening in Homs?! Incredible and terrifying footage of government Su-22s and Su-24s pounding Baba Amro, Sultaniyeh, Joubar, Hai Al Arman in Homs.

[Above/Below] Su-24MKs of  the SyAAF No. 819 Squadron.  Sadly the 819 has been very active over the whole of Syria.
The Su-24 NATO codename "Fencer" is a powerful F-111/Panavia Tornado class aircraft.

[Below] Rebels firing ZU-23-2s at government warplanes at the deir Ez Zor airport reportedly on 12-Dec 2012

12-Dec 2012: American authorities are reporting that Syrian forces have launched ‘Scud’ missiles at targets in Syria. We are waiting for more concrete information on this as American reports (and public assertions on these types of matters) have had credibility problems in the past, going back to the pre-2003 invasion of Iraq. Syrian “Scuds” are more probably Iranian-made M-600 'Fateh-110','Zelzal-3','Fajr-MLRS' or Russian “Frog” series (battlefield support) artillery rockets. Frog has a range of ~ 70 km (about 40 mi).

[Below] Su-22M3/4 or MiG-23BN attacking Ma'arat an-Numaan with rockets.

[Below] This government T-72 MBT absorbs what appears to be a rebel RPG or recoilless rifle hit.[Account since terminated]

22-Dec 2012: It appears now the regime fired at least six Scuds on targets within Syria. We had been waiting for more concrete information on this. The best explanation for their use is due to weather. SyAAF attack jets and fighter-bombers can not operate safely below a cloud base of ~ 300-500m. The regime wants to attack bases recently captured by rebels. [Fortunately?] Scud carries a 1000 kg payload and are nowhere near as precise as aircraft.

[Below] Regime Su-22M-4 attacking rebel positions in Homs. Also note low cloud base.

[Below] 27-Dec 2012: The weather has cleared and the SyAAF is unfortunately aloft again. Here is yet another Su-22 attack.

[Below] 27-Dec 2012: New video has appeared here of a government Mi-8 being hit by rebel AAA. This ghastly footage might actually be from August or October over Damascus. Crew KIA. Again the horrific scenes coming out of this civil war almost defy comprehension.

[Below] ...and again here....[05-Jan 2013] somewhere near ‘Crac de Chevalliers’ the SyAAF first strafing then bombing a nearby town.

[Below] An unusual interview with a regime Republican Guard T-72 tanker conducted by Abkhazian TV. It gives some insight into the fighting state of government forces. [Account since terminated]

Translation: 00:30 - Reporter: "Please tell us, what are the main problems that you have encountered with the tank in combat?"
Tanker: "Well the tank is exceptional, but we have a few issues with it. The air system is very inaccessible, the tubing is too long and requires half of the hull to be disassembled for replacement. A single air line runs all the way from the transmission to the control compartment, if the line was made up of multiple pieces instead of one whole, replacement would be far easier. The Explosive Reactive Armor skirts are mounted inadequately with only three bolts holding them in place, the skirts weigh a lot and the bolts are weak - it will fall off after almost any impact."

02:00 - Tanker walks over to the second tank: "This tank has taken part in several battles and the armor skirt has completely broken off - this is what I was talking about before. All three of the mounting brackets broke away *he points at them*."
Reporter: "Is this the result of enemy fire or collision?
Tanker: "Enemy fire, after the first impact and failure of the armor skirt the crew becomes very vulnerable."
Reporter: "How well do the ERA tiles work?"
Tanker: "Works very well, we are protected from enemy shells, that is why most of the damage comes from mines and IEDs. For example, one of the tanks just had two of it's wheels blown off by a mine. Overall, the protection is excellent, except for the armor skirts breaking off, so far only one tank was actually penetrated in the underbelly by IEDs."

03:14 - Reporter: "When the tanks are hit, how often are they still combat-capable?"
Tanker: "When the armor is penetrated - it gets pretty bad, often wounding and killing the crew. But rarely does anyone actually die inside the crew compartment, most of the time both the tank and crew are still combat-capable."
Reporter: "Have you encountered any problems with the auto-loader? Does it break down?"
Tanker: "Not really, any of the small jams can be fixed easily in the field."
Reporter: "Do you prefer the auto-loader to a crewman doing the job?
Tanker: "Most definitely, it's a huge difference, the system works well and the tank is exceptional overall."
Reporter: "Does the engine have enough horsepower?"
Tanker: "For me, this engine is perfect, although the electrical systems are a mess, nothing can be done about that now."
Reporter: "Thank you very much, our viewers will be most interested in the opinions of the actual crew about the tanks." - end -

[Below] Video of the Taftanaz airfield after being overrun by anti-Assad fighters. The SyAAF Mi-25 Hind gunship numbered "2802" is documented as wrecked starting at playback point 16:00. If the FSyA manages to find and recruit a few pilots and ground crews, we may (may) soon see something like a 'Free Syrian Arab Air Force' begin to operate?

[Below] New photo has appeared showing Hind "2802" captured intact. Admittedly there is now some confusion as to if the FSyA is planning to withdrawal from Taftanaz?
[Below] 19-Jan 2013: Sadly, Government combat aircraft have been very active as of late over the whole of Syria including Damascus, Idleb, Aleppo, and Hama. Here a SyAAF Su-24MK 'Fencer' streaks in low over Homs and releases a set of time-delayed drag-retarded FAB-500ShN munitions - with terrifying results:

To see Syria's military might needlessly be turned on its own populous - remains a horror beyond description.

[Below] Firefight with government armor in Yadooda, Daraa.

30-Jan 2013: Reports that IAF has carried out a strike over Syrian soil attacking targets at Jimraya. What the target was precisely remains unclear. It is not even known if the IAF sortie was successful (hit their target). However, our sources believe the (cover story?) transfer of Syrian SA-17 systems to Hizbollah is highly unlikely. This IAF mission should not be extrapolated as 'reduced risks' for enforcing a no-fly zone over Syria. A strike sortie and a No-Fly Zone - are two entirely different matters. SA-17 systems were delivered to Syria around 2010-2012. Video of the Israeli strike appears to show SA-8 'Gecko' systems hit - not SA-17s.

[Below] Video of high altitude contrails recorded over Douma (north of Damascus) on the 30-Jan 2013. These are not commercial aircraft contrails. National origin of the aircraft producing these contrails is as of yet - unclear. Whether they are Israeli aircraft or Syrian aircraft is also unclear. No further information is available.

[Below] 14-Feb 2013: Video of one of two government Su-22 warplanes lost on or near the same day reportedly hit by MANPAD(s). Pilot below stays in control of the aircraft for a period of time.

[Below] L-39 serial '2118' photographed in its hardened shelter at Kshesh AFB after the base fell to rebels. Canopy of the L-39 was improperly opened by rebel-fighters inspecting the jet (must be opened fully otherwise hinges come out of place) and canopy glass can fall out - as it has done.

[Below] These L-39 were reportedly bombed inside their hardened shelters by other SyAAF aircraft as the base fell.

[Below] A treasure trove of mothballed MiG-15, MiG-17 aircraft. They are of historical significance to military and aviation historians and to academics who study the Arab-Israeli Wars.

 [Below] Here, a very rare SyAAF Ilyushin Il-28 'Beagle.'

18-Mar 2013: (Reuters) - "Syrian air force jets fired four rockets at a remote section of the border with Lebanon on Monday, security sources said, four days after Damascus warned it may strike at Syrian rebels taking refuge across the frontier."  The strikes reportedly occurred near the Bekaa Valley town of Arsal. No further details available as of yet.

[Below] 19-Mar 2013: In this clip, a regime ammunition truck is hit while the intended target (a government T-62) escapes. Something is seen burning at the back of the tank – however, is simply normal smoke screen operation (diesel fuel is sprayed directly on the hot exhaust manifold at the back of the tank) – and in this case, the fuel has simply caught fire for a short period. [Account since terminated]

20-Mar 2013: Reported chemical weapon use in the town of Khan al-Asal (Aleppo) by government aircraft firing rockets. Reports say there was a chlorine smell. Neither Mustard, Sarin, or VX nerve agents smell like chlorine – so we are dubious of this report.

Chemical agent smell(s):
Sulfur Mustard - includes mustard gas, usually odorless and colorless in pure form but yellowish-brown with an odor reminiscent of the mustard plant, garlic, or horseradish.
Chlorine Gas - pale greenish gas with a suffocating, unpleasant odor, similar to chlorine bleach.
3-quinuclidinyl benzilate - (QNB or NATO BZ or Iraqi Agent 15) - odorless incapacitating agent.
Lewisite - WWI blister agent that smells strongly of geraniums.
Phosgene Oxime - blister agent with an irritating smell, though somewhat of mown hay or cut green corn.
Sarin - extremely toxic odorless nerve agent.
VX - the most toxic nerve agent, odorless.
Soman - nerve gas that smells like Vicks VapoRub or rotting fruit.
Tabun - highly toxic nerve agent with a faint fruity smell, odorless when pure.
Zyklon B - hydrogen cyanide-containing blood agent. Bitter almond odor.
Hydrogen Sulfide - blood agent that smells of rotten eggs.
Adamsite or DM - odorless riot control agent that causes vomiting and sneezing.
CS Gas - tear gas, odorless.

22-Mar 2013: The 38th Brigade base in Dera'a has been captured and over 30 MANPADs were recovered by FSyA rebels.

[Below] 22-Mar 2013: A remarkable sequence showing counterattacks by regime tanks (without infantry support) inside Dera'a. The lead tank is hit repeatedly by some type of direct-fire weapon - but is unphased and continues to operate. It then develops an engine or transmission problem and is placed under tow by the tank behind.

24-Mar 2013: Current appraisal of SyAAF losses to date [ACIG]:
  • Fixed-wing combat aircraft (all types): 47 confirmed shot down, written-off, captured, 1 defection (MiG-21 flown to Jordan). Losses include three Su-22s and one Su-24.
  • Rotary-wing Helicopters (all types): 56 confirmed shot down, written-off, captured, or forced-landing.
SyAAF has suffered heavy losses in personnel including more than 60, perhaps as many as 76 KIA (most of these helicopter crews; there are only some 20 confirmed pilots known as KIA); 9 POWs (4 of these reportedly released); 43 'unknown' (we don't know what happened to them), and 3 defections. 

…the SyAAF is sticking with the regime and is going to keep fighting - to the last man.

The SyAAF has meanwhile lost literally 'squadrons' of equipment. For example:
  • 678 Sqn from Abu ad-Duhor and 680 Sqn from Nassiriya (MiG-23s) have been disbanded; fate of the 679 Sqn (flew MiG-21s from Abu ad-Duhor) is unknown (probably re-assigned to other units)
  • At least two of 525, 532, and 537 Sqns - all previously stationed at Marj as-Sultan (flew Mi-2s and Mi-8s) - have been disbanded. 
  • Both squadrons (designations unknown but under the command of the 77th Brigade) that used to be stationed at Minakh were disbanded; nearly 80% of their helicopters were evacuated to other air bases in central Syria.
Together with the above-mentioned helicopter losses, means that 60% of the Mi-8/17 fleet simply does not exist any longer. The rest of the fleet has been 'pooled' in just three remaining squadrons. The helicopter losses to date, are understood as ‘significant’ for the regime. Rumor is that the 677 OCU (Su-22s from Shayrat) has also been disbanded. 

In total, the SyAAF still possesses a potent fixed-wing fighter-bomber force, interceptor-squadrons, and rotary-wing Mi-25s and Gazelles helicopters. However, the loss of maintenance facilities at Aleppo IAP and in Taftanaz means that much of the remaining MiG-21s, MiG-23s, and Mi-8/17s cannot be regularly overhauled nor completely repaired when damaged in action.

29-Mar 2013: ATGM (Kornet or Metis) team taking out a regime tank and a ‘Shilka’ AAA vehical. These anti-tank weapons can knock out any known tank in the world and proved a nightmare for IDF 'Merkava' tanks in 2006. [Account since terminated]

[Below] 31-Mar 2013: Leaked footage of a Fateh 110 "M-600" missile launch by Syrian government forces.

02-Apr 2013: Incredible footage of a young fighter destroying a T-72 by throwing grenades into the muzzle. See playback point starting at 1:14. [Account since terminated]

[Below] Government T-72 firing tank shell. How the camera or anyone else survived this - is a miracle.  

[Below] 15-May 2013: During the shelling of Abu Duhour Airbase (Idlib) this rebel T-55 has a government ATGM whiz right over the top of it . Rebels fighters understandably motion the tank to get the hell’ off that rise!  The T-55 crew is lucky to be alive.

Iranian posturing and behavior should not come as a complete surprise. Both countries signed a mutual defense agreement in 2006.

The Obama administration has warned Assad not to use (or move) Syria's chemical weapons. How Washington intends to (actually) make good on this threat - remain unclear.

According to Interfax, Russian support for Assad may finally be starting to waver. However with the brutal crackdown in Bahrain (host to the USN 5th Fleet) this year, which included direct Saudi military intervention there, authentic calls from the United States for Russia to halt whatever support for Assad – seems somewhat disingenuous. That said - Moscow must do much (much) more to stop the Assad family. We would remind those who insist this civil war is "an internal matter" to recognize the masses of Syrian refugees (and Syrian children) that have flooded into all nations bordering Syria as an international humanitarian disaster - and act accordingly. 

Note 05-Sept 2013: Now with CW use in Syria - Russia needs to come up with better evidence it was not Assad government forces that used CW or stop its intransigence (along with China) in the UN security council.  

Your thoughts?

SyAAF combat aircraft being photographed in action [ACIG]:
Damascus Darayyah 18-Jan 2013, Su-22
Damascus Erbeen 18-Jan 2013, MiG-23BN
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 18-Jan 2013, MiG-23BN
Idleb Kafar Takhareem 18-Jan 2013, Su-22
Idleb Ma'arret Annu'man 18-Jan 2013 Su-22
Aleppo Anadan 18-Jan 2013 L-39:
Aleppo Qweres AFB 18-Jan 2013, L-39
Hama Hyaleen 19-Jan 2013, Su-24MK
Idleb Al Hebbeit 19-Jan 2013 Su-22
Damascus Erbeen 19-Jan 2013 MiG-23BN
Damascus Erbeen 19-Jan 2013 MiG-23BN
Damascus M'addamiyet AlSham 19-Jan 2013 Unknown
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 19-Jan 2013 Su-22
Damascus Darayyah 19-Jan 2013 MiG-21
Damascus Darayyah 19-Jan 2013 MiG-23BN
Deir Ezzour Deir Ezzour 19-Jan 2013 MiG-21
Homs Homs 20-Jan 2013 Unknown
Homs Homs 20-Jan 2013 Su-22
Aleppo Qweres AFB 20-Jan 2013 L-39
Aleppo Qweres AFB 20-Jan 2013 L-39
Deir Ezzour Mayadeen 20-Jan 2013 Unknown
Damascus Douma 20-Jan 2013 MiG-23BN
Hama Khan Sheikhoun 20-Jan 2013 Su-24MK
Idleb Wadi Eldheif 21-Jan 2013 Su-22 or L-39
Aleppo Qweres AFB 21-Jan 2013 L-39
Hama Latamneh 21-Jan 2013 MiG-21
Homs Bwedha AsSharqyieh 21-Jan 2013 Su-22
Damascus Erbeen 21-Jan 2013 MiG-23BN
Damascus Erbeen 21-Jan 2013 UAV
Damascus Darayyah 21-Jan 2013 UAV
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 21-Jan 2013 Su-22
Damascus Douma 21-Jan 2013 MiG-21
Damascus Douma 21-Jan 2013 MiG-21
Damascus Aqraba 22-Jan 2013 MiG-21
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 22-Jan 2013 MiG-23BN
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 22-Jan 2013 MiG-23BN
Damascus Erbeen 22-Jan 2013 MiG-23BN

Updated list of Aircraft and Air Vehicles Spotted over Syria from 12 Jan. till 17 Jan. 2013 [ACIG]:

Deir Ezzour Deir Ezzour 12-Jan 2013 MiG-21
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 12-Jan 2013 MiG-23BN
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 12-Jan 2013 MiG-23BN
Damascus Aqraba 12-Jan 2013 MiG-23BN
Damascus Hammouriyeh 12-Jan 2013 MiG-23BN
Damascus Douma 12-Jan 2013 Su-22
Hama Hama 12-Jan 2013 MiG-21
Aleppo Sleib 13-Jan 2013 L-39
Idleb Ma'arret Annu'man 13-Jan 2013 MiG-21
Idleb Deir Sunbul 13-Jan 2013 MiG-21
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 13-Jan 2013 Su-22
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 13-Jan 2013 Su-22
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 13-Jan 2013 MiG-21
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 13-Jan 2013 MiG-23BN
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 13-Jan 2013 MiG-23BN
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 13-Jan 2013 MiG-23BN
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 13-Jan 2013 MiG-23BN
Hama Tayyibat al Imam 13-Jan 2013 Su-22
Hama Tayyibat al Imam 13-Jan 2013 Su-22
Hama Ltamneh 13-Jan 2013 Su-22
Aleppo Mennekh 14-Jan 2013 L-39
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 14-Jan 2013 MiG-23BN
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 14-Jan 2013 MiG-21
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 14-Jan 2013 Su-22
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 14-Jan 2013 Su-22
Deir Ezzour Deir Ezzour 14-Jan 2013 MiG-21
Deir Ezzour Deir Ezzour 14-Jan 2013 MiG-21
Deir Ezzour Deir Ezzour 14-Jan 2013 MiG-21
Aleppo Mennekh 15-Jan 2013 L-39
Homs Homs 15-Jan 2013 Unknown
Damascus Saqba 15-Jan 2013 Su-22
Damascus Zamalka 15-Jan 2013 Unknown
Idleb Taftanaz 15-Jan 2013 Unknown
Hama Latamneh 15-Jan 2013 Unknown
Homs Talbeeseh 16-Jan 2013 Unknown
Damascus M'addamiyet AlSham 16-Jan 2013 Unknown
Damascus Harasta 16-Jan 2013 MiG-21
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 16-Jan 2013 MiG-23BN
Damascus Hammouriyeh 16-Jan 2013 MiG-23BN
Damascus Hammouriyeh 16-Jan 2013 MiG-23BN
Damascus Erbeen 16-Jan 2013 MiG-23BN
Dara'a Busra Harir 16-Jan 2013 Su-22
Idleb Jabal Azzawiyah 17-Jan 2013 Su-24MK
Idleb Jabal Azzawiyah 17-Jan 2013 Su-24MK
Damascus Babbila 17-Jan 2013 MiG-21
Damascus Darayyah 17-Jan 2013 MiG-23BN
Damascus Darayyah 17-Jan 2013 MiG-23BN
Damascus Saqba 17-Jan 2013 MiG-21
Dara'a Busra Harir 17-Jan 2013 Su-22
Aleppo Aleppo 17-Jan 2013 Su-22
Homs Talbeeseh 17-Jan 2013 Su-22
Homs Rastan 17-Jan 2013 Unknown
Homs Homs 17-Jan 2013 Su-22M-4
Deir Ezzour Albukamal 17-Jan 2013 Unknown

Aircraft and Air Vehicles over Syria (03-Nov to 09-Nov  2012) [ACIG] :
Aleppo Aleppo 03-11-2012 L-39
Damascus Saqba 03-11-2012 Su-22
Damascus Saqba 03-11-2012 MiG-23BN ... N3G-S2hBvA
Damascus Douma 03-11-2012 Su-22 ... Z-knEg0CdQ
Damascus Kafar Batna 03-11-2012 MiG-21 ... b3X5fBdrFM
Damascus Kafar Batna 03-11-2012 Su-24MK
Damascus Kafar Batna 03-11-2012 Su-22
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 03-11-2012 MiG-21
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 03-11-2012 Su-24MK
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 03-11-2012 Su-22
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 03-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Erbeen 03-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Qaboon 03-11-2012 MiG-23BN ... ture=share
Idleb Bennesh 03-11-2012 MiG-21
Idleb Unknown 03-11-2012 MiG-21
Idleb Armanaz 03-11-2012 Su-22 ... fWv_PKPzI#!
Idleb Taftanaz 03-11-2012 Su-24MK
Idleb Taftanaz 03-11-2012 MiG-21 ... v1O6Y1-oPk
Idleb Taftanaz 03-11-2012 MiG-21 ... A-WEL1lJxI
Idleb Taftanaz 03-11-2012 MiG-21 ... 5RQZX_2Ex4
Aleppo Aleppo 04-11-2012 L-39 ... r_embedded
Idleb Saraqeb 04-11-2012 Su-22
Deir Ezzour Deir Ezzour 04-11-2012 MiG-21
Damascus Douma 04-11-2012 Su-22
Damascus Kafar Batna 04-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Jisreen 04-11-2012 Su-22
Damascus Jisreen 04-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Saqba 04-11-2012 MiG-21
Damascus Saqba 04-11-2012 Unknown
Damascus Saqba 04-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Saqba 04-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Saqba 04-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 04-11-2012 Su-24MK
Damascus Harasta 04-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Hammouriyeh 04-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Aleppo Aleppo 05-11-2012 L-39
Aleppo Aleppo 05-11-2012 L-39 ... 8dEV4K1E0A
Hama Kafar Zeita 05-11-2012 MiG-21
Damascus Saqba 05-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Saqba 05-11-2012 Su-22
Damascus Harasta 05-11-2012 Unknown
Damascus Douma 05-11-2012 Su-22
Damascus Douma 05-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Babbila 05-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Qaboon 05-11-2012 MiG-21
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 06-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 06-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 06-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 06-11-2012 MiG-21
Damascus Saqba 06-11-2012 MiG-21
Damascus Saqba 06-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Idleb Jabal Wastani 06-11-2012 MiG-21
Idleb Saraqeb 06-11-2012 Unknown
Hama Hama 06-11-2012 MiG-21
Homs Houle 06-11-2012 Su-22
Homs Houle 06-11-2012 Unknown
Homs Houle 06-11-2012 Unknown
Deir Ezzour Deir Ezzour 06-11-2012 MiG-21
Deir Ezzour Deir Ezzour 06-11-2012 MiG-21
Idleb M'arShemsheh 07-11-2012 Su-22
Idleb Saraqeb 07-11-2012 Su-22 ... zs6AkJMRgA
Aleppo Hreytan 07-11-2012 Su-22 ... ure=relmfu
Aleppo Anadan 07-11-2012 Su-22
Damascus Qaboon 07-11-2012 Unknown
Damascus Saqba 07-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Douma 07-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Hammouriyeh 07-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 07-11-2012 MiG-21
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 07-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 07-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 07-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 07-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 07-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 07-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Aleppo Aleppo 08-11-2012 Su-22
Aleppo Aleppo 08-11-2012 L-39
Aleppo Aleppo 08-11-2012 L-39
Aleppo Kafar Hamra 08-11-2012 Su-22
Aleppo Anadan 08-11-2012 Unknown
Idleb Hantouteen 08-11-2012 Unknown
Damascus Jisreen 08-11-2012 Unknown
Damascus Saqba 08-11-2012 MiG-21
Damascus Saqba 08-11-2012 MiG-21
Damascus Saqba 08-11-2012 MiG-21
Damascus Saqba 08-11-2012 Su-22
Damascus Saqba 08-11-2012 Su-22
Damascus Saqba 08-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Douma 08-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Hammouriyeh 08-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Hammouriyeh 08-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Hammouriyeh 08-11-2012 Su-22
Damascus Harasta 09-11-2012 Su-22
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 09-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 09-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Eastern Ghouta 09-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Ein Mneen 09-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Hammouriyeh 09-11-2012 MiG-23BN
Damascus Hammouriyeh 09-11-2012 UAV
Hama Hama 09-11-2012 MiG-21
Homs Houle 09-11-2012 Su-22
Homs Houle 09-11-2012 Unknown


- All media found here is for scholarship and research purposes and protected under U.S. Internet ‘Fair Use’ Law - 


  1. Why is assad a "monster" for defending his government and nation from a group of foreign backed,in some cases actual foreign,terrorists,its funny that the countries that are supporting these people like saudi arabia not so long ago invaded and crushed the peaceful protests in bahrain,they don`t give a damn about democracy in syria this is about striking back at iran.Show me one government that wouldn`t do what the syrian one is doing if it was under threat by a rebellion composed of ethnic separatists and religious nutcases[wahabists].The people of syria saw what happened in lebanon in the 70s and what almost happened in iraq in the 2000`s and they don`t want a bar of it.Assad is no angel thats for sure but unless he can be peacefully replaced by a genuine democracy and not simply a pro western dictator brought in at gunpoint and kept there at gunpoint then the real losers will be the people of syria

  2. Are you kidding me the FSA & Al Nostru Front are a bunch of Terrorists"

    Since 2007, the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel have been documented as conspiring to overthrow the Syrian government by way of sectarian extremists, including groups "sympathetic to al-Qaeda."

    While the West has attempted to portray the full-scale conflict beginning in Syria in 2011 as first, a "pro-democracy uprising," to now a "sectarian conflict," recent atrocities carried out by US-Saudi-Israeli proxies have shifted the assault to include Sunni Muslims unable or unwilling to participate in the destruction of the Syrian state.

  3. Hi.

    We think our reporting has been very accurate and objective.

    I quote from this post:

    “However with the brutal crackdown in Bahrain (host to the USN 5th Fleet) this year, which included direct Saudi military intervention there, authentic calls from the United States for Russia to halt whatever support for Assad – seems somewhat disingenuous.”

    “In January 2013 Jihadists reportedly gunned down a top Syrian rebel commander near the Turkish border. This indicates (strongly suggests) that the FSyA are not (are not) 'Islamists' or 'Jihadists.'”

    Also there are powers that be in the Middle East that have strong US backing - that would frankly prefer the status-quo (of dictatorships) in Egypt, Libya and Syria. These dictatorships have a history of looking the other way regarding what has been happening to the Palestinians for some 50 odd years.

    - The Boresight

  4. I want to second the sentiments against the so-called FSA, and the elements which support it. It may very well be true that the Syrian leadership is corrupt and is not a commendable entity that deserves to endure (most or all governments fit that mold at some point or other), but I assure you that should the FSA succeed in ousting the government, Syria will be far worse off than it has been with Assad.

    Do not forget that much of the drive behind the FSA seems to be the overly-violent, radicalized brand of Islam that Western media would normally demonize as evil, which is by no means an injust response to their actions. However, that sentiment seems to be lacking in the case of Syria. Elements of the FSA are guilty of the murder and persecution of "undesireable" religious and political groups within the nation, including branches of Islam itself, and other groups such as Christians and Jews.

    Therefore, I think one must be immensely careful when picking sides in this conflict, as details are often very far from transparent. It would be foolish to side with the "rebel elements," which in so many cases are foreign fighters brought into the region to fight the Syrian government, or to dismiss the government of any potential wrongdoing when fighting the FSA. Without an immense degree of scrutiny, the outside observer may either blindly cheer for "freedom fighters" or a government which seeks to combat a "terrorist insurgency." Without a clear view onto the conflict (which is in itself an impossiblity, given the nature of conflict), the individual reader has a very hard time seeing what is actually going on.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Hi Anonymous,

    The anti-Assad elements fighting against the government is indeed fragmented. By definition authoritarian regimes (sometime even democratic governments) often fail to recognize when to ‘ease in’ political reforms to avoid a worse problem, like what the Assad family has done to Syria now (with too many entrenched Alawite interests supporting the status quo).

    Now Syria faces a bloody and uncertain future – that could include external military intervention.

    Even when Assad falls, anti-government elements will almost certainly begin fighting one another.

    Some say Assads response to the peaceful protests nearly 2 years ago was throttled by Assads mother – Anisa Makhlouf (wife of Hafez al-Assad) - who urged her son to crush descent - like his father did in 1982 against the Sunni in Hama.

    Very bad advice indeed. You must ‘ease in’ political reform(s). Old fool.

    - Boresight


Post a Comment