by Israel Shamir
Despite doubts and denials, Russia is about to embark on an ambitious expansion of its
Syrian presence, likely to change the game in the war-torn country. Russia's small and
dated naval repair facility in Tartous will be enlarged, while Jableh near Latakia
(Laodicea of old) will become the Russian Air Force base and a full-blown Russian Navy
base in the Eastern Mediterranean, beyond the narrow Bosphorus straits. The jihadi
multitudes besetting Damascus are likely to be beaten into obedience and compliance, and
the government of President Assad relieved from danger and siege. The war with Da'esh
(ISIS) is to provide the cover for this operation. This is the first report of this
fateful development, based on confidential and usually reliable Russian sources in
The knowledgeable and Damascus-based French investigative journalist and dissident
Thierry Meyssan noted the arrival of many Russian advisers. Russians began to share
satellite imagery in real time with their Syrian allies, he added. An Israeli news site
said "Russia has begun its military intervention in Syria" and predicted that "in the
coming weeks thousands of Russian military personnel are set to touch down in Syria".
Russians promptly denied that.
President Bashar al Assad hinted at that a few days ago expressing his full confidence
of Russian support for Damascus. First six MiG-31 fighter jets landed in Damascus a
couple of weeks ago, as reported in the official RG newspaper. Michael Weiss in the
far-right Daily Beast presented a flesh-creeping picture of a Russian penetration of
Syria. Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper referred to Jableh as the second-base location.
Now we can confirm that to the best of our knowledge, despite denials (remember Crimea?)
Russia has cast its lot and made a very important decision to enter the Syrian war. This
decision may yet save Syria from total collapse and incidentally save Europe, too, from
being swept by refugee waves. The Russian air force will ostensibly fight Da'esh, but
probably (as Michael Weiss guessed) they will also bomb not just Da'esh but the
US-allied opposition of al-Nusra (formerly al-Qaeda) and other non-Da'esh Islamic
extremists for the simple reason that they can't be distinguished from Da'esh. . . .
For the Europeans, this is the chance to wean themselves from blind support of the US
policies, to return millions of refugees home from European railway stations and
If it will work, this Putin's initiative in Syria will count with his greatest
achievements. He is playing his hand keeping cards very close to his chest, and this
report is the first emanating from his vicinity.
Paul Craig Roberts, "Obama's Syria Moment:
Another Western War Crime In The Making," Counterpunch, August 27, 2013
"NATO vs ISIS? Insulting Our Intelligence,"
The Wisdom Fund, September 24, 2014
Tyler Durden, "Flashpoint: White House Confirms Russian
Presence In Syria, Warns It Is 'Destabilizing'," zerohedge.com, September 3,
[Elvira Nabiulina, Washington's choice to head the Russian central bank . . . is essentially a
servant of Washington--Paul Craig Roberts and Michael Hudson, "Can
Russia Learn From Brazil's Fate?," counterpunch.org, September 30, 2016]