Syraq SITREP 36: Russian Foreign Ministry Admits Dozens of FSU Citizens Wounded in U.S. Air Strike, 100s of Syrian Shi'a Militia Join Kurds to Halt Turkish Aggression in Afrin

Syraq SITREP 36: Russian Foreign Ministry Admits Dozens of FSU Citizens Wounded in U.S. Air Strike, 100s of Syrian Shi'a Militia Join Kurds to Halt Turkish Aggression in Afrin

On Tuesday the Russian Foreign Ministry acknowledged what had been widely reported and rumored: dozens of former Soviet country citizens had been injured in a U.S. air strike on a large Syrian convoy in Deir Ez Zor province on February 7. The RuMFA denied that any active duty servicemen had been killed or wounded, and dismissed as 'disinformation' reports picked up by Reuters and Bloomberg that hundreds of 'Wagner' mercenaries had perished in the American air and artillery strikes. However, authentic looking footage of charred bodies and severely wounded being carried by Russian speaking men in uniforms was widely circulated online amidst numerous debunked fakes. Russian media outlets were able to identify at least eight combat deaths and an Associated Press reporter interviewed relatives of the deceased in a small town in the Urals, where several local men had gone to fight as paid volunteer combatants in Donbass or Syria.

While the skirmishing which led up to the major US attack on the local Syrian tribal 'ISIS hunters' and Russian PMCs remains murky, Russian sources suspect a set up by the Americans. That is, the Russian soldiers of fortune were attached to Syrian units which expected the local Kurds to easily hand over an oil and gas field, particularly with Kurdish fighters quitting the U.S. special forces-led positions around Deir Ez Zor province to go fight the Turks in Afrin. Instead, the Americans, after allegedly contacting the Russian military hotline at Kheimmim, and hearing that no Russian regulars were present with the Syrian tribal fighters battalion, dropped a hammer on it...which may have been the plan.

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Syraq SITREP 33: Russian SU25 Pilot Shot Down and Killed, Turks Take Casualties

Syraq SITREP 33: Russian SU25 Pilot Shot Down and Killed, Turks Take Casualties

A SU25 ground attack jet of the Russian Air Force was shot down near Saraqeb, Idlib province on Saturday, February 3. According to Russian Defense Ministry sources the ejecting pilot, Major Roman Filippov of Crimea, was killed by jihadists after he parachuted and tried to evade. The Al-Qaeda franchise Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) took credit for the shoot down, but the first group to post apparently authentic video of a SU25 getting hit by a man portable anti-aircraft missile (MANPAD) is Jaysh al-Nasr, aka the jihadist wing of the so-called 'Free Syrian Army' 'moderate rebels'. This led Russian Duma members and experts to point out that, in the most recent U.S. Defense Authorization Act, Congress officially permitted the supply of MANPADs to 'vetted' Syrian rebel groups. But in response to a question from TASS, a Pentagon spokesman denied that any MANPADs have been supplied to Syrian rebel groups

However, Syria watchers took note on January 31 when the so-called 'National Army', remnants of the FSA and various jihadi groups now fighting under the Turkish Army's banners in Afrin, posed with a Soviet designed MANPAD system they allegedly captured from the Kurds. In retrospect the prominence of the MANPAD posing on social media by the Turkish proxies could have been staging for a planned shoot down near the Saraqeb front, where Russian airpower has been supporting the Syrian Arab Army. The apparent propaganda motive being, with hardcore neocon 'journalists' like #JihadiJulian Roepcke of Bild and Michael D. Weiss of CNN chiming in on Twitter, to claim that Turks and Russians are killing each other via proxies in northern Syria. Yet there is little evidence to support the claim that Moscow is currently supplying anti-tank missiles to the Afrin Kurds, of the type that just killed several Turkish servicemen in their armored vehicle this weekend. Instead it appears that someone is trying to set the mistrustful frenemies up for a clash, which many pro-Damascus Syrians regard as inevitable, once the Turks are finished fighing the Kurds and the SAA liberates the jihadist-dominated Idlib province.

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