Update: Russian Pantsyr-1 air defense missile in Syria
To ambush the Turkish Air Force F-4 Super Phantom Friday, June 22, over Latakia Syria used Russian-made self-propelled medium range anti-air Pantsyr-1 missiles recently supplied by Moscow (not as first reported anti-air Buk-M2 missiles). This weapon can down aircraft flying at altitudes up to 12 kilometers and cruise missiles. The unit responsible for the ambush was the 73rd brigade of the Syrian army’s 26th Air Defense Division.
The facts surrounding the Turkish F-4 Super Phantom shot down by Syria changed very quickly on Friday, June 22, 2012. The Syrian apology that was widely reported was false. The incursion of the Turkish jet into Syrian airspace was not immediately reported and the fate of the two pilots is not known although initial reports stated that both were alive.
The following information has not put this incident in an entirely new light. Previous articles have outlined the Russian strategy at the Syrian port of Tartus. This attack was at Latakia where Russia is constructing another military port as detailed on March 10, 2012:
Since 2009 Russian workers have been constructing a dock at Latakia where only a mooring facility previously existed. It seems the port is being enlarged to take heavy surface units as well. Both ports could presumably service submarines. If Russia installed coastal, anti-ship, and state-of-the-art S-300 anti-aircraft missiles at the two ports, they could prove well nigh impregnable.
But if the Assad regime collapses, a new, vengeful Syrian government would likely kick the Russian navy out of Tartus and Latakia. To avoid such a humiliation, Putin seems prepared to connive at the continuing mass murder of the Syrian people. For Russia warm water ports are apparently everything.”
Three months later, Putin has drawn the line clearly in the sand: Russian technology and advisers are firmly in place in both Tartus and Latakia. Their Buk-M2 anti-air missiles under the operation of Russian instructors made a point yesterday that this advanced technology is in place and will be used. Why was the Turkish plane in Syrian airspace? Their mission was to do reconnaissance for NATO to evaluate the Russian progress at Latakia. Mission accomplished. Putin used Syria to put Obama in check and the West will see the consequences of a failed US foreign policy under the auspices of Obama and Hillary Clinton. Here is the assessment by CBS News on Obama’s reaction to this event as listed on top by a Google search:
A Black Swan event can never be predicted beforehand. Another tenet concerning a Black Swan is that after it has occurred, everyone says that they knew it was coming (disregarding natural catastrophes). Will this be the event that triggers a world war? The odds are increasing as more “facts” are released and the president is more concerned with cleansing the news rather than addressing reality.
To ambush the Turkish Air Force F-4 Super Phantom Friday June 22, over Latakia, Syria used Russian-made self-propelled medium range anti-air Buk-M2 missiles (NATO codenamed SA-11) recently supplied by Moscow. The SA-11 can down aircraft flying at altitudes up to 14 kilometers and Mach 3 speed.
Since the sophisticated weapons were delivered to the Assad regime in recent weeks, it must be assumed that local missile crews had not finished training in their use and would have had to rely on help from their Russian instructors to fire one.
This would be the first instance in the 15-month Syrian uprising of an advanced Russian-supplied weapon hitting the military target of a NATO member. Hence the comment from Washington by US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland who said: “We’ve seen the reports… We have obviously been in contact with our Turkish ally…. To my knowledge, they haven’t raised this at NATO at this point.”
Ankara has repeatedly threatened to ask NATO to invoke the pact’s article 5 obligating members to come to the aid of a fellow member coming under attack. In this case, however, the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s rhetoric was relatively restrained. He vowed to “determinedly take necessary steps” in response “once the incident is fully clarified,” leaving Ankara’s response deliberately vague.
President Abdullah Gul spoke out more strongly: “It is impossible to ignore our fighter jet being shot down by Syria,” he said after Damascus admitted to shooting down the plane, claiming its air defenses acted according to standard procedure before realizing it was a Turkish air force jet. Both are searching for the two missing pilots.
Turkey promised on Saturday to do “whatever necessary” in response to Syria’s shooting-down of a Turkish fighter, but did not immediately contest an assertion by Damascus that the jet had been in its airspace at the time.
The downing of the aircraft, at a point close to the sea borders of both countries, provided a demonstration of Syria’s formidable Russian-supplied air defenses; one of the many reasons for Western qualms about any military intervention to halt bloodshed in the country.