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Syrian militants began using drones in Syria; following repeated attacks against Russian ground forces operating in the country, Russian and Syrian forces repelled a massive drone attack on Saturday night, downing or capturing 13 improvised, armed drones. The rapid growth in the use of drones and number of simultaneous missions used on each strike indicate the level of maturity and know-how acquired by the perpetrators, although the identity of faction using those drones has yet to be disclosed.
Satellite imagery analysis by Imagesat International (ISI) intelligence experts revealed deployment of Iskandar (SS-26 “Stone”) advanced missile system vehicles as part of the Russian deployment. Iskander units were first spotted at Hmeimim airbase in Latakia, Syria in March 2016.
Syria claimed yesterday that two surface-to-surface missiles launched from Israel struck the military airbase of Al Mezzeh, in a suburb of the capital Damascus, about 56 km from the Golan border. While Israel did not respond to this allegation, the Syrian claim may indicate Israel is maintaining a new precision strike capability, by tactical surface launched rockets, extending its deterrence capability throughout the region – both against adversaries in the close range, as well as the long range.
Recent reports from Iraq and Syria indicate that Jihadis are increasing the use of drone attacks after exploring the use of drone weapons for several years. A recent attack employed a small surveillance drone, rigged with a bomb to become a booby trap. The attack killed two Kurdish fighters and badly wounded two French special forces.
A Russian Su-24 strike aircraft was shot down today by Turkish Air Force F-16s. The Turks claim the Russian plane was intercepted on the Turkish side of the Turkish-Syrian border.
Despite the Russian declared intention to assist fighting ISIS in Syria, NATO defense officials are concerned of the Russian military buildup in the country
The upper chamber of the Russian parliament has unanimously given a formal consent to President Putin to use the nation’s military in Syria to fight terrorism at a request from the Syrian President Bashar Assad. Consent was necessary for deployment of troops for foreign combat missions under the Russian constitution.
Turkish fighter jets have struck Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Islamic State (ISIS) targets in Syria and Iraq yesterday. This action was followed by the detention of hundreds of suspected Kurdish militants, in a coordinated crackdown, as Ankara deployed military force for the first time against the terrorist group, in retaliation to ISIS suicide attacks and assassination of Turkish policemen, attributed to the PKK.
With the momentum established by extremist groups in Syria continues, the course of the Syrian war is expected to change in upcoming months. Following the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) seize of Palmyra in the central Syrian desert on May 20, 2015, ISIS is positioned at the entrance to Syria’s central corridor.
After four years of keeping to the sidelines, Israel's position is becoming more precarious, particularly as it relates to the Druze community, a threatened people inside Syria and a vocal one across Israel's northern border on the Golan Heights.
Syrian government forces carried out heavy airstrikes on rebel positions in and around the northern city of Aleppo on Friday, aiming to repel a major Islamist-led offensive on areas controlled by President Bashar al-Assad.
Despite the Kurdish cheer, senior US State Department official told Reuters the setback for Islamic State in Kobani did not mean "anyone is declaring mission accomplished or this is a significant turning point."
A Jordanian pilot was captured yesterday by Islamic State gunmen after his F-16 jet fighter crashed during an air strike over the town of Raqqa in the ISIS ruled Dir E’Zor region in South Eastern Syria.
With the situation in Iraq and Syria changed, energy become key to the improving relationship between Ankara and the semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan. Working together, they could also halt, or even defeat their common enemy - ISIS - from becoming a regional power.