In Syria, Two Isolated Villages Witnessed Hezbollah’s Rise
Heroic portraits of Syrian president Bashar Al Assad gradually disappear the farther north you drive from Aleppo. The red, white and black colors of the Syrian flag give way to the yellow and green banners of Hezbollah. For three and a half years, the rural towns of Nubul and... Read more
Russia’s Air Defenses In Syria Have Some Big Problems
In late September 2017, satellite photographs indicated that Russia had deployed a second Russian SA-21 surface-to-air missile system in Syria. Purportedly, the system in question is deployed high in the mountains near Masyaf, fewer than 40 kilometers southeast of Lattakia, and right next to a battery of Bastion-P systems... Read more
F-22s Act as Flying Scouts Over Syria
Three years ago, four F-22 Raptors taking part in the second-wave of the U.S.-led coalition’s opening air strikes on Islamic State in Syria dropped their bombs. It was the first time the stealthy fifth-generation fighters had ever engaged in combat. The coalition’s war planners also used the F-22s to... Read more
Itchy Militia Wrecks Syrian Ceasefire
Hard on the heels of the sixth round of diplomatic talks in Astana – facilitated by Russia and Turkey – Hayat Tahrir Ash-Sham, an Al Qaeda-linked jihadist group in Syria, announced that it launched a “major offensive” against parts of northern Hama nominally controlled by the regime of Syrian... Read more
The Wrath of U.S. Air Strikes Along the Euphrates River Falls on Civilians
It was midday on Sunday, May 7, when the U.S.-led coalition warplanes again began bombing the neighborhood of Wassim Abdo’s family. They lived in Tabqa, a small city on the banks of the Euphrates River in northern Syria. Then occupied by Islamic State, Tabqa was also under siege by... Read more
Russian Bombers Just Blasted Islamic State Again
On July 5, 2017, Russian Tu-95MS Bear strategic bombers launched Kh-101 radar-evading cruise missiles against Islamic States targets in Syria 600 miles away, according to the Russian defense ministry. The Russian bombers took off at Engels, near Saratov in southwestern Russia. Supported by Il-76/78 tankers and Su-30SM fighters, the... Read more
The Race for the Fertile Crescent
Events of historic consequence are occurring in Syria’s eastern desert and the Euphrates valley. Out of the countless events of the Syrian war so far, the present moment may be the most important one in deciding the near geopolitical future of the Fertile Crescent. Daesh—the so-called Islamic State—is falling. Chances are, it... Read more
As Chemical Accusations Flew, U.S. Spy Planes Gathered Off of Syria
Around the same time that the White House was warning that the regime of Syrian president Bashar Al Assad was planning a chemical attack — and Al Assad himself was visiting Russia’s Hmeymim air base in Syria — an unusual number of U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy spy... Read more
Drones Are Dropping Like Flies From the Sky Over Syria
Syria is buzzing with drones. There are days when the people of Idlib governorate can simultaneously see Russian Orlan tactical UAVs, Iranian Ababil, Mohajeer and Shahed-129s and CIA or U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reapers circling the same air space. It’s not much different over southern Syria. There it’s Hezbollah... Read more
Confusion in the Air and on the Ground as U.S. and Syrian Planes Clashed
On June 18, 2017, a U.S. Navy fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane over southern Syria. The incident was a direct result of the often-murky relations between the different parties fighting in Syria. From the American standpoint, the crucial reason for an American fighter to open fire at... Read more
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