Alexander Portnoy
Alexander Portnoy

Myths and truth behind reports about the IDF airstrikes in Syria. Part 2.

The Syrian air-defense sites activated during the airstrike launched on November 8. Credit: liveuamap.com
The Syrian air-defense sites activated during the airstrike launched on November 8. Credit: liveuamap.com

“All warfare is based on deception…, – The Art of War by Sun Tzu, 6th century BC.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Sochi on October 22 for their first face-to-face talks since Bennett took office earlier this year.

The five-hour meeting came amid friction in the deconfliction mechanism between Israel and Russia in Syria, where the Russian Army maintains a presence. Israel attacks Iranian targets in Syria in order to stop Iran and its proxies from establishing bases on Israel’s northern border or transferring weapons to Hezbollah.

However, as the author suggested earlier, the IDF’s proven combat ability to suppress and destroy any modern complex air defense systems with surgical precision was obviously taken into account during this meeting as one of the decisive arguments given Russia’s geopolitical interests amid growing Iranian expansion.

An Israeli Air Force fighter jet attacked the positions of the Syrian army and pro-Iranian armed groups in Syria’s Quneitra province 40 kilometers south of Damascus on Monday, the Dubai-based Al-Hadath TV channel reported on October 25. According to the news outlet, the airstrike hit ground targets near the city of Al-Baath and the Al-Kurum settlement, causing property damage. No casualties have been reported. The Russian Defense Ministry kept silence concerning this strike.

“At around 11:17 this morning, the Israeli enemy launched a burst of surface-to-surface missiles from the direction of northern occupied Palestine, targeting some points in Damascus countryside. Our air defense media confronted the aggression’s missiles and shot down some of them.”, SANA said on October 30, quoting an unnamed military official. The source indicated that the aggression led to “the injury of two soldiers and the infliction of some material losses”.

“On October 30, from 12.25 to 12.28, four F-16 tactical fighter jets of the Israeli Air Force fired eight Delilah guided missiles from their territory near the Golan Heights, without entering Syrian airspace, at the Syrian air defense facilities located 20 kilometers west and 12 kilometers northwest of Damascus. The Syrian air defense forces on duty destroyed two missiles with the Buk-M2E surface-to-air missile system,” the Russian Defense Ministry said later in a statement quoting Rear-Admiral Vadim Kulit, deputy chief of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties in Syria. He also added that “the strike resulted in minor damage to infrastructure, and two servicemen of the Syrian Armed Forces were wounded.”

When the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said Saturday’s raid killed at least five pro-Iranian fighters and wounded others, strikes were reported in the areas of al-Dimas, Qudsaya and al-Mezzah military air base – all located west of Damascus. Although not unheard of, daytime strikes on Syrian targets on Saturdays are relatively rare.

Since the arrival and unloading of the Iranian Air Force transport Boeing 747-2J9F #IV7960 on October 27th, there has been unusual activity by Israeli combat and reconnaissance aircrafts.

PIC_IRIAF-Boeing_2.png
The Iranian Air Force transport Boeing 747-2J9F #IV7960 on route to Syria on October 27th. Credit: Flightradar24

In fact, and according to the Syrian sources, few air-defense positions and warehouse were targeted during the airstrike.

The 1st site: the air defense base eastern of al-Assad villages northern of Qudsaya. This facility was heavily attacked and caused a lot of damage.

Pic_AD-Qudsaya_1-.png
The air defense base east of al-Assad villages northern to Qudsaya. Credit: @SAM Syria

The 2nd site: an air defense facility located north of аl-Dimas, where a number of targets were attacked.

The-air-defense-facility-located-northern-of-аl-Dimas.png
The air defense facility located northern of аl-Dimas. Credit: @SAM Syria

The 3d site: the warehouse located southern of Al-Assad. According to the photographs, the warehouse was not destroyed, but it was damaged by the fire.

a-warehouse-located-southern-of-near-Al-Assad.png
The warehouse located southern of Al-Assad. Credit: @SAM Syria

On September 3, when Syrian SANA news agency reported that “At about 12:58 a.m. today, the Israeli enemy launched an aerial aggression with a number of missiles from the direction of northern occupied Palestine targeting one of the posts in Damascus Countryside in Zakyia area, and only material damage was reported,”, Rear-Admiral Vadim Kulit quoted the Russian Defense Ministry: “On November 3, at about 02:00, two F-16 tactical fighters of the Israeli Air Force from the Golan Heights, without entering Syrian airspace, launched a missile attack on the logistical support of the Syrian government forces in the area of al-Kiswah, Damascus province. The impact caused minor material damage. There are no casualties among the Syrian military personnel.

But the Russian TASS news agency converted these reports into the attached herein: “MOSCOW, September 3. /TASS/. Twenty-one out of twenty-four missiles fired by Israeli fighter jets at targets in Syria were downed by Syria’s air-defense forces, Vadim Kulit, deputy chief of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties in Syria, said on Friday…. “At about 01:30 on September 3, four Israeli F-15 tactical fighter jets fired 24 guided missiles at targets on Syrian territory from Lebanon’s airspace,” he said. “Russian-made Buk-M2E and Pantsyr-S systems on duty in the Syrian air defense units downed 21 missiles.””

On November 9, Rear-Admiral Vadim Kulit quoted the Russian Defense Ministry: “On November 8, from 20:16 to 20:23, six F-15 tactical fighters of the Israeli Air Force, violating the state border of the Syrian Arab Republic from the side of Northern Lebanon, struck with eight guided missiles on objects of logistics support of the SAR government forces in the province of Homs. The Syrian air defense on duty destroyed 6 missiles from the Russian-made Buk-M2 and Pantsir-S complexes in service with the armed forces of the SAR. As a result of Israeli airstrikes, minor material damage was caused, and two Syrian soldiers were injured.

Nevertheless, the image attached below shows the Syrian air-defense sites activated during the airstrike launched on November 8.

Pic_8-Nov-2021.png
Syrian air-defense sites activated during the airstrike launched on November 8. Credit: liveuamap.com

Southern of Tartus, a warehouse protected by several SHORAD air defense systems was completely destroyed.

Pic_8-Nov-2021_Tartus-2.jpg
Southern of Tartus, a warehouse protected by several SHORAD air defense systems. Credit: @AuroraIntel.
Pic_8-Nov-2021_Tartus-5.png
Before the airstrike, a warehouse protected by several SHORAD air defense systems. Credit: @AuroraIntel.
Pic_8-Nov-2021_Tartus-6.jpg
After the airstrike, a warehouse protected by several SHORAD air defense systems. Credit: @AuroraIntel.
Pic_8-Nov-2021_Tartus_1-.jpg
Southern of Tartus, the destroyed warehouse protected by several SHORAD air defense systems. Credit: @AuroraIntel.

Additionally, the positions of the Russian-made S-75 ”Dvina” located southern of Homs were struck while the SAM missile was launching.

Pic_8-Nov-2021_S75.png
The site of the Russian-made S-75 ”Dvina” suppressed while the SAM missile was launching. Credit: @SAM Syria

Supposedly, the SNR-75 Fan Song A target tracking radar was destroyed and 2 Syrian soldiers were wounded.

Be that as it may, and to summarize the above, it appears that the Russian Defense Ministry has failed to synchronize its statements with the Syrian and Russian government news agencies. It seems they exceed all permissible limits of decency trying to advertise the Russian-made air defense systems promoted by the Rosoboronexport on the eve of the upcoming Air Show in Dubai on November 14-18.

About the Author
Alexander Portnoy holds an MSc EE degree being an internationally experienced (40+) expert in Military and Mission Critical sectors as well as currently is an OSINT Analyst in Geopolitical and Military affairs focusing on Russia and China including their participation in the Great Power Competition in the Middle East as well as advising the Israeli Intelligence Community, Knesset Lawmakers and War Reporters.
Comments