Who Will Control Raqqa After the Islamic State?
The Syrian Democratic Forces, a U.S.-backed coalition of Arab and Kurdish paramilitary fighters, are tightening the siege on Raqqa, the Islamic State’s main city in Syria. The city is isolated and SDF forces are also on the offensive against the Islamic State in the nearby town of Tabqa—where U.S.... Read more
Iraq and Syria Team Up to Take on Islamic State
Syrian warplanes carried out a series of strikes on Islamic State targets in Raqqa and along the Syrian-Iraqi frontier earlier in April 2017. Intelligence gathering from a Russian-Iranian-Iraqi and Syrian coalition enabled the aircraft to locate their targets. Formed in September 2015, this coalition has command centers in both... Read more
The U.S. Military Expands Its Network of Syrian Airfields
A recent article in the Russian state-owned Sputnik Turkey outlet speculated that the airfield the United States built from scratch in the Syrian-Kurdish Kobani region could become a substitute for Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base. The assertion is likely correct—but only to an extent. The United States has never been able to... Read more
Flights From Syrian Base Fell Sharply After U.S. Strike
Ever since U.S. President Donald Trump ordered two Navy warships to launch 59 BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles at the Shayrat Air Base in Syria in the pre-dawn hours of April 7, 2017, there is no end to the controversy over the background and outcome of the operation. Misinformation abounds, for... Read more
How F-22 Raptors Match Up to Russian Air Defenses in Syria
The United States is reportedly patrolling the skies above Syria using stealthy F-22 Raptors. The supersonically cruising air superiority jets are the only fighters in the U.S. inventory that can safely fly within the engagement envelope of Russian S-400 and S300V4 surface-to-air missiles defense while the Pentagon ascertains how the... Read more
Trump’s Cruise Missile Strike Could Be a Sign of Weakness
The Trump administration’s bombing of Syria’s Shayrat airbase with 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles, in response to a Syrian chemical attack less than 72 hours before, is comparable to the Clinton administration’s heavy reliance on such weapons. Clinton used the Tomahawks, along with air strikes, to reprimand Saddam for his... Read more
How Will Russia Respond to Trump’s Tomahawk Strike?
The Pentagon released a statement that the United States notified Russian forces in Syria in advance of the 59 Tomahawk-cruise-missile barrage against Shayrat Airfield on Thursday night. Likewise, National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster said at a press conference: “here was an effort to minimize … risk to third-country... Read more
U.S. Cruise Missiles Struck Syrian Base With Impressive Precision
Syria built Shayrat air base in the mid-1970s, applying lessons from the October 1973 Arab-Israeli War. Its purpose was to bolster air defenses against Israeli air strikes targeting the towns along the Syrian coast of the Mediterranean Sea. In 1983 and 1984, locally-based units of the 50th Brigade received... Read more
Trump Pummels Syrian Air Base With Missiles—Which Is Very Clinton-esque
On April 7 at 4:40 a.m., Syria time, 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from U.S. Navy destroyers slammed into Shayrat Airfield, an important Syrian military base and the source of the nerve gas attack which killed dozens of civilians days before at Khan Sheikhoun, according to U.S. Pres. Donald... Read more
U.S. and Syrian Allies Stormed Across a Lake, Then Overran This Key Air Base
In late March 2017, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces captured Al Tabqa air base from Islamic State militants in northeast Syria with U.S. air and artillery support. The operation followed an airborne assault across Lake Assad by 500 SDF fighters and U.S. troops— a bold maneuver and the first of its kind by... Read more

Paul Iddon

Contributing writer

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