Russia may dramatically increase fire support to the Assad’s Armed Forces, as well as to take additional measures to protect military bases and personnel in Syria.
Russia may seriously increase fire support to the Syrian Armed Forces in response to possible US military actions after termination of talks on Syria, the Izvestiya newspaper reported, citing First Deputy Chairman of the Council of the Federation Committee on Defense and Security, Franz Klintsevich. He explained that the Russian Defense Ministry has prepared a package plan, which also includes military and political measures both in Syria and abroad. According to experts, the US is primarily preparing to increase the supply of weapons to the ‘opposition’ groups.
“We will contrapose our diplomacy to the American ‘Plan B’, and, if necessary, we can increase the fire support to the Syrian Armed Forces,” Klintsevich said. “The General Staff also has special plans to combat terrorists because they will pay more attention to our units and bases in Syria than to the National Armed Forces.”
The high-ranking source in the military-diplomatic circles also pointed out that statements of US officials about determination of Moscow and Damascus ‘to go to the military course’ is a signal for terrorists that they can activate and count on the support.
However, all appearances, Russian military is ready for such a development.
According to Klintsevich, the Plan B may include an increase in support for anti-government forces in Syria. He noted that in addition to increasing grouping of the Russian Forces, Moscow is considering a complex of military-political decisions both in Syria and abroad. However, the First Deputy Chairman stressed that it is too early to disclose the content of the Russian moves.
According to experts, the main idea of the Plan B is to increase the supply of weapons to the so-called ‘moderate’ opposition. As an expert of the Valdai club and Head of the Research Group of the Executive Board of the Frankfurt’s Peace Research Institute, Hans-Joachim Spanger, noted, the US will not inflict airstrikes on government troops, but it is very likely that Washington will increase the supply of weapons to the ‘opposition’. He suggested that the US may “hand surface-to-air missile systems over to some of the opposition groups.”
As an expert of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, Maxim Shepovalenko, noted, Russia may take additional measures to strengthen the air defense and capacity of electronic warfare in Syria. According to the expert, the S-400 and the S-300V4 systems, placed in Syria, are enough capable to reliably cover the Syrian Armed Forces. In addition, Russia has enough military equipment, which can be supplied to Syrian troops.
At the same time, Shepovalenko pointed out that in the medium term, it will be necessary to pay attention to revival of the Syrian Army.
“Now, ability to conduct combat operations is even more important than [military] hardware in Syria,” Shepovalenko told the newspaper in an interview. “Assad’s army has reduced by almost half, but the officers’ shortage is an especially important. For this reason there is a lack of progress on the ground, despite the intensive support from the Russian Aerospace Forces.”
The military expert noted that it makes sense to create a visiting military academy in Syria in order to prepare junior officers and to improve the ‘tactical literacy’ of mid-level officers.
“Only a professional army can really change the course of the fighting. And it [the army] will also be a backbone of the new Syrian state,” Shepovalenko concluded.