The tension in the air spheres over the border regions of Syria and Turkey is becoming increasingly acute. Moscow was again accused of having its Su-34 military plane allegedly violated Turkish airspace from Syria, where it is located at the Khmeimim airport aviation a group of Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS). The Turkish Foreign Ministry said last Saturday: a fighter-bomber belonging to Russia, treacherously invaded the sovereign Ottoman sky on January 29 and soared for about 20-25 seconds over the province of Gaziantep. The Pentagon, like Ankara, hastened to confirm this statement in an allied outburst, without confirming it with any objective control data.
The Russian defense ministry immediately rejected the Turkish accusations. “There were no violations of the Turkish airspace by the aircraft of the Russian air group in the Syrian Arab Republic. Statements by the Turkish side about the alleged violation of the airspace by the Russian Su-34 aircraft are unfounded propaganda, ”said Major General Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry on Saturday. And last Monday he also presented confirmation of the fact that Russian planes in Syria did not violate the airspace of Turkey.
“We have analyzed the data of objective flight control in the north of Syria in the most attentive manner over the past 24 hours. And, I note, - not only our aviation. There were no violations of the Syrian-Turkish border by the aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces, there are comprehensive data, note that there is no objective control. And this is a fact, ”Konashenkov told reporters.
And the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federation Council, Konstantin Kosachev, commented on the acute situation that arose: “In fact, the alliance between Russia, the United States and Turkey should consist in a common fight against terrorism. And within the framework of such an alliance, Turkey could well allow, if necessary, short-term entry into its airspace of the states fighting the terrorism. Then there would be no subject for concern, by definition. But the opposite is happening. Turkey, on the contrary, is looking for any reasons to find fault with the course of the antiterrorist operation in which Russia participates, and in no way helps this operation. Which once again confirms the double game that Ankara is playing in the Syrian situation. ” In short, the Turkish authorities are very annoyed by the effective actions of Russian aviation, which greatly complicates the distillation of oil extracted on Syrian territory, which is banned in the Russian Federation by the Islamic State (IG) in Turkish ports.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that "Russia will face consequences if it continues to violate Turkish airspace." Ankara declared an “orange” threat level at its airbases, that is, it brought its Air Force into full combat readiness, allowing the pilots to open fire at any aircraft at its own discretion, without coordination with the command. What does this mean? The unequivocal warning of the readiness of Turkish aviation to conduct air battles and shoot down all the aircraft that seem to its pilots suspicious, carrying a threat to Turkey. For Moscow, this is the worst this year. news. With this attitude Erdogan can not exclude the worst scenarios. That is, Russia's participation in a military conflict in Syria could escalate into direct clashes with Turkey. And that means with other NATO countries.
THE ESSENTIAL PROBLEM OF Kurds
Some Russian politicians were quick to conclude that the “imaginary” conflict associated with the Su-34 aircraft, the Turkish leadership intends to use as an excuse to finally “meet the Russian and Turkish leaders.” We think this is only partly true. An analysis of the situation in Syria suggests that Turkey’s direct threats against Russia and its support from the United States and NATO in general are linked to the successes of President Bashar Assad’s army and the Kurdish militia in the fight against IG militants. The increased activity of the Syrian army does not allow the coalition countries led by Washington to begin their “liberation campaign” in Eastern Syria. And the concentration and successes of the Kurdish militia in the north along the Turkish border create the risk that Ankara will soon lose the opportunity to feed militant troops fighting in Syria, since very soon, in such a situation, Kurdish enclaves may be connected with their secret capitals in Afrin and Hasek.
In the meantime, this is hampered by the presence of large "enemy" fortifications on the northern Syrian border. They were built by militants of the IG, other terrorist groups, as well as regular government forces in Turkey. This was announced by Charge d'Affaires of the Syrian Arab Republic to the UN Munzer Munzer in a letter addressed to the Secretary-General of the organization Ban Ki-moon. The Syrian diplomat draws attention to the fact that Turkey does not allow the Kurds to move to the west bank of the Euphrates. Munzer also wrote that in December 2015, the mechanized units of the Turkish army penetrated into Syria, “following in the direction of the village of Dayr-Gousn (Javadiya district), the village of Bustan (Maliki region), areas of Abu-Rasin district (Ras-el -Ain) and the territories north of the villages of Aman and Sheikh-Mansur (Dirbasiyah district) ”.
The long-term goals of the Turkish troops on the territory of Syria are shown by Munser’s data that they are building fortifications there. “In particular,” the representative of Damascus said, “in the area of the city of Harim in the north of the province of Idlib, the Turkish military“ dug trenches with a width of 4 and depth of 8 in m. ” And in the city of Ras al-Ain and its environs (Al-Haseke province) "walls were erected up to 6 m."
However, such messages are unlikely to frighten the leadership of Syria and the Kurdish militia. According to the representative of the command of the people's self-defense detachments, the commanders of the Kurdish detachments have developed plans to connect the territories around the Kurdish-controlled cities of Hasak and Kobani with an enclave in the city of Afrin in northwestern Syria. Between the Kurdish enclaves, the distance is about 100 km. In this zone, militants of the Dzhebkhat al-Nusra group (a banned organization in the Russian Federation) are operating on a small patch, which Turkey secretly supports, as well as the IS, with whom the An-Nusravians are fighting. With the help of Turkomans and loyal jihadists through the corridor on the border with Turkey and then through the city of Azaz, the Mujahideen are supplied. Gradually, the Kurds surround Azaz, which means that they are depriving Turkey of the ability to influence the situation.
THE TURKES CAPTURERS'S PADS
Judging by the data of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, Russian aircraft are trying not to bomb objects near the border with Turkey as far as possible. However, in the territories where Turkish government troops “entrenched themselves”, the strikes apparently still are inflicted. And it is precisely this that angers Ankara and its NATO allies most of all. According to Western media, last Friday, Russian Aerospace Forces aircraft bombed militant positions near the Turkish border near the city of Harim (it is literally from the border in 300 m) in the province of Idlib.
Well, here the Russian Defense Ministry presented video evidence of the shelling of the Syrian settlements in the border area with the Turkish frontier. General Konashenkov, speaking last Monday at a briefing about the charges of Ankara about the violation of the Turkish-Syrian border by the Su-34 Russian plane, said: “Those who warn us about some consequences should not think about what they did, what kind of trap are their Turkish partners being drawn into? ”
The general showed a video showing a part of the Syrian-Turkish border. According to him, the object shown “is the Turkish frontier post, which several months ago there were no firing points”. The Russian Defense Ministry recently received video footage from the Syrian general staff, which shows that "the artillery positions of large-caliber self-propelled artillery installations are deployed at this Turkish outpost."
Konashenkov stressed that the military department received video footage from one of the units of the patriotic opposition, where it is also clear that these self-propelled artillery shells carry out shelling of the SAR territory and, in particular, border settlements. “This is called a fact. This is irrefutable evidence that the Turkish armed forces are shelling the border Syrian settlements from large-caliber artillery systems, ”the general emphasized. According to him, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation is waiting for the same quick reaction and explanation of these actions of the Turkish armed forces from representatives of NATO and the Pentagon.
POSSIBLE UNWEARING EVENTS TURN
Well, how did the aviation group of the Russian Aerospace Forces take up the openly provocative actions of the Turkish side?
At the beginning of the week, many Russian media spread information about the transfer of four newest Su-35С multi-purpose fighters to the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Lattakia. They were released only last fall from an aircraft manufacturing company and transferred to the VKS. These aircraft were originally part of the 23 th Fighter Aviation Regiment of the 303 th Guards Mixed Air Division of the 11 Th Army of the Air Force and Air Defense of the Eastern Military District (Dzemgi airfield). And then they were redeployed to Astrakhan (Privolzhsky airfield). And it became known that Su-35С flew from Astrakhan along an already repeatedly proven route: through the airspace over the Caspian Sea, Iran and Iraq to the Khmeimim airbase. As Major General Igor Konashenkov confirmed on Monday, the super-maneuverable Su-35С aircraft began to perform combat missions at Hmeimim airbase. The decision of the Russian military leadership is being implemented to test the latest fighters in combat conditions.
Recall, Su-35С is a deeply modernized super-maneuverable multi-generation fighter "4 ++". By the way, it used technologies that were later used to create the fifth-generation Russian fighter T-50. Therefore, it is argued that the Su-35C has a significant superiority over fighters of a similar class. It is distinguished by a new avionics complex based on a digital information and control system, a new radar with a phased antenna array with a large range of detection of air targets with an increased number of simultaneously followed and fired targets, new engines with increased thrust and swivel thrust vector. Inherent in this plane potential technical and combat capabilities will exceed all tactical fighters generation 4 and 4 + type Rafale and EF 2000, modernized fighters such as F-15, F-16, F-18, F-35 and equally oppose the aircraft F-22A .
The main thing for which the Su-35С is intended is first of all air combat and the conquest of superiority in the sky over the enemy. Now we will think about the essence of the decision of the military leadership to test the newest multi-role fighter in real combat conditions. Moscow took the threats of Ankara seriously and are seriously preparing to respond to them. Together with the C-400 anti-aircraft missile system, located near the Khmeimim airfield, and the Fort air defense system aboard the Varyag cruiser off the Syrian coast in the Mediterranean Sea, this all represents a powerful barrier to attempts by Turkish aircraft to show any aggression against the air base in Latakia and planes taking off from it.
Well, another important event scheduled to hold in the period from 1 to 5 in February. During these days, within the framework of the implementation of the International Treaty on the "open sky", a group of military inspectors from Russia planned to conduct an observation flight on the Russian An-30B aircraft over the territory of Turkey. According to Sergey Ryzhkov, the head of the National Center for the Reduction of Nuclear Danger, this flight, with a maximum range of 1900 km, was to be performed from the “open sky” airfield at Eskisehir. Our plane was supposed to fly according to the route agreed with the observed party, and the Turkish specialists on board were obliged to monitor the procedure for using the surveillance equipment and compliance with the provisions stipulated by the Treaty.
Guess two times which military objects were primarily interested in Russian inspectors in the current situation? And let us recall the cruise missiles “Caliber” capable of from the Caspian Sea, and now also from the Black Sea to achieve targets at ranges over 2 thousand km. It seems that the Turks, barely try to show a clear aggression towards the Russian air group, as the strikes will be inflicted on the aircraft flying from their side, and on those machines that have not yet had time to rise from air bases. In this case, the existence of the entire Turkish aviation is unlikely to last more than an hour. For a similar outcome, everything is prepared. For this there are forces and means. Although in Russia they consider such a turn of events to be extremely undesirable.
And the Turks, it seems, very clearly realized the alignment of forces in the region and the reality of the prospects to lose their combat aircraft overnight. As a result of February 3, the Turkish authorities officially refused to allow Russian military inspectors to fly to the country on the basis of the “Open Skies Treaty”. So they responded to the application of the Russians to view the border with Syria areas from the air. The Turks are seriously scared. We went to an unprecedented violation of the international Treaty, putting at risk the further operation of the “open skies” regime, the observance of control measures to prevent dangerous military preparations.