And then the observers in chorus denied the possibility of such a delivery.
First, with references to Russian officials. For example, the head of the RSK MiG Sergey Korotkov said that Russia did not supply anyone with the MiG-31 and plans to use them only independently.
Secondly, appealing to simple logic: in today's Syria there are hardly any pilots and specialists in technical and operational units who are sufficiently prepared to maintain and use such complex combat vehicles. And besides, the MiG-31 is a high-altitude interceptor, not intended for striking the ground. It is capable at long distances (up to 320 km) to detect and intercept (at distances over 120 km) a wide range of air targets (including cruise missiles), either alone or as part of a link (4 machines), and as part of large air defense systems. According to Western media, such aircraft simply do not need Bashar Assad.
And only Jane's Defense Weekly, expressing skepticism about the fact of finding the MiG-31 in Damascus, nevertheless found the logic in this step of Moscow - strengthening the Syrian air defense with such machines, would help the planners of NATO in their thinking about all sorts of "no-fly zones" over Syria . And this logic is very interesting. And the “rumors” about the appearance of the MiG-31 in Syria should be viewed in the context of steps to counter American plans in the Middle East.
So, quite recently, we almost panicked when we learned that the US cautiously hinted at the hypothetical possibility of air strikes not only against Islamic State (IG) militants, but also against the government forces and militias of Syria opposing them. Two years ago, Americans also almost convinced the whole world that they were about to start bombing the "bloody Assad." Moreover, without even bothering with the preparation for such an operation, and without carrying out the necessary regrouping of forces and means in such cases, simply making several official statements to the press.
Today the situation, at first glance, is more serious. Turkey officially embroiled in the war, including its ground forces. The United States has achieved the right to combat sorties from the Ingerlik base and even deliver air strikes with the Turks. True, in a very limited area - trying not to enter the zones that official Damascus confidently controls. But, nevertheless, the restoration of the territorial integrity of Syria looks almost unreal - part of the Syrian territory is steadily controlled by the self-proclaimed IG, part by the Kurdish troops, part (very insignificant) by gangs officially supported by Washington and Ankara.
It would seem that the Americans and their allies no one bothers to establish dominance in the air, and like in Libya, by air strikes to contribute to the fall of Syrian statehood under the onslaught of gangs.
But in fact - everything is a little different. Syrian combat aviation daily departures, and sometimes very successfully strikes at strategic targets and positions of militants. Including in the area of the Syrian-Turkish border. Nobody knocks her down or tries to establish a “no-fly zone”. Spare parts and equipment for repair and maintenance of the Syrian Air Force fleet, as well as aviation weapons, regularly fall into Syria, because the “Syrian Express” (Russian BDK shuttle flights from Sevastopol and Novorossiysk to Tartus) has not been canceled.
The Syrian air defense, despite rumors of its absence, periodically presents the enemy with interesting surprises. So in March of this year, the American drone drone MQ-1 Predator, which took off, by the way, from Ingerlik base, and mistakenly flown in the wrong place - was unexpectedly hit by a Pechora-125 C-2 missile. And in December, the Syrian air defense intercepted the Israeli AGM-142 rocket like this. It is interesting here that the interception was carried out from the Syrian territory, by all appearances, by a complex not at all of a short or medium range. Approximately in the same way, the doublet works by means of destruction of the C-300P (AVO) complexes of various modifications. True, the contract for the supply of C-300 to Syria did not seem to have been implemented (and according to some official reports, the complexes intended to be sent to Syria were even dismantled). Nevertheless, the Israeli rocket was intercepted by something similar to the C-300 complex, which, as we know, cannot be in Syria. Of course, just as there can be no MiG-31 fighter jets.
Today we have an interesting situation. On the one hand, Turkish, Israeli and American aircraft have the ability to act limited over a certain territory. In the southwestern regions of Syria, she prefers not to appear. Syrian aviation has the ability to act with impunity over the entire territory of Syria, and according to some information, in part even over the territory of Iraq. This is more like not the American "no-fly zone", but on someone else's.
However, this position should not be called optimistic. In fact, the partition of Syria took place. In this section, of course, the United States and its allies have some “forbidden zones”. But a significant part of the territory of Syria is, as it were, in the “competition zone”. That is, the IG, the USA, Turkey and the Kurds have the right to fight for the future state of affairs in these territories. This struggle does not preclude in the future the restoration of the fullness of Syrian statehood. But it’s almost impossible to hope for the territorial integrity of Syria.
The war will end sooner or later - this must be remembered in order to understand what the struggle is for today. It is for the future - for a new political map of the region, and a new balance of power in the world. Today it is already clear that in the southwestern provinces of Syria it will be possible to restore order and statehood. But in the territories that previously belonged to Syria, Turkey and Iraq, in a bloody struggle (as always in stories humanity, as a biological species) - two new subjects - the IG and Kurdistan have to define their future borders.
It is extremely interesting to note that the United States supports absolutely all parties involved in the conflict (perhaps, except for Bashar Assad, since the remaining Syrian statehood is not included in the American plans to redraw the political map of the world).
The Americans are arming and supplying Kurds against the IG, knowing full well that in the future (and even now) this support will be turned against Turkey. Turkish “partners” in NATO were dragged into a war, from which this contender for the role of regional leader would not emerge from the former territory, economic growth and relative political stability. The IG, which generally should be viewed as an American project, is reinforced through the support system of the so-called “legal Syrian opposition” - with it the IG is a communicating vessel, both in terms of personnel and in terms of material support. The support of the official Iraq against the IS - also partly strengthens the IS, since most of the heavy weapons of the IS are captured from the Iraqi army. Saudi Arabia, which actively promoted, and even to a large extent paid for, American projects in the region, faced the real prospect of an IG offensive. This perspective will be more urgent, the sooner the response will block the IS of other expansion directions. And even Iran, informally involved in conflicts in Syria and Iraq, and in Yemen - the United States makes life easier by lifting sanctions.
In other words - the United States plays on all boards. And everywhere the interest of the United States is the escalation of the conflict, the expansion of its geography and the involvement of all the new participants. Today, the United States is the main destabilizing factor in the world.
In the coming years, Russia will have to play the opposite role: gradually reduce the combat zones, increase the islands of stability in the flaming region, unite the efforts of all government entities interested in peace and stable development. Well, yes - over time, it will be necessary to introduce no-fly zones for US aviation and its allies. Otherwise, to force the United States to the world will not succeed.