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Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War

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Title: Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: In the news/Candidates/October 2015, Timeline of the Syrian Civil War (August–December 2015), Timeline of the Syrian Civil War (January–July 2014), Timeline of the Syrian Civil War (January–July 2015), Maan massacre
Collection: 2015 in Russia, 2015 in the Syrian Civil War, Battles Involving the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Syria, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and Russia, Military Operations Involving Iran, Military Operations Involving Iraq, Military Operations Involving Russia, Military Operations of the Syrian Civil War, Russia–syria Relations, Syrian Civil War
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War

Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War
Part of the military intervention against ISIL
and the Syrian Civil War

Two Sukhoi Su-25s at Bassel Al-Assad International Airport in Latakia during the intervention
Date 30 September 2015 – present (9 months and 5 days)
Location Syria
Status Ongoing
Belligerents

Aerial combat
 Russia
 Syria
Ground forces
 Iran

  • Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias[1]

 Syria
Hezbollah

Supported by:
 Iraq[2]
 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant[3]

Free Syrian Army[4]

Supported by:
 Saudi Arabia[6][7]
 United States[8][9]
 Turkey[10]


Army of Conquest:[11]

Supported by:
 Saudi Arabia[6][14]
 Turkey[15][16]
 Qatar[14]
Commanders and leaders
Vladimir Putin
Sergey Shoygu
Valery Gerasimov
Andrey Kartapolov[17]
Viktor Bondarev
Bashar al-Assad
Fahd Jassem al-Freij
Ali Abdullah Ayyoub
Issam Hallaq
Ali Khamenei[18]
Hassan Rouhani
Qasem Soleimani
Hassan Nasrallah
Haider Abadi
Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Abu Mohammad al-Adnani (Spokesperson)
Abu Suleiman al-Naser (Replacement Military Chief)[19]
Abu Ali al-Anbari (Deputy, Syria)
Abu Omar al-Shishani

(Field commander in Syria) [20][21]

Albay Ahmed Berri


Abu Mohammad al-Julani (Leader of the al-Nusra Front)

Abu Yahia al-Hamawi[22] (Leader of Ahrar ash-Sham)
Units involved

Russian Armed Forces:

Russian Foreign Intelligence Service:

Syrian Armed Forces:

Iranian Armed Forces:

[29]

Hezbollah
Military of ISIL

Falcons of Mount Zawiya Brigade[33]
Tajammu al-Izzah[34]
13th Division[35]


al-Nusra Front[13]
Ahrar ash-Sham[13]
Jaysh al-Islam[36]
Liwa al-Haqq

Ajnad al-Sham[37]
Strength

Coalition forces:

Russia:
3 Buyan-M class corvette[38]
1 Gepard-class frigate[38]
12 Su-24Ms
12 Su-25SMs[39]
6 Su-34s[40]

4 SU-30SMs[41]
15 Mi-24P and Mi-8AMTSh[42]
3 SA-22 SAMs[43]

Syria:
150,000 personnel[44]

Iran:
7,000-15,000[45][46] Shi'ite militias:

20,000[45]

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant:
From 30,000 to 100,000 fighters (according to the CIA and the Iraqi Kurdistan Chief of Staff)[47]

At least a few hundred tanks and assorted armored vehicles[48][49]

Free Syrian Army:
Between 45,000 and 60,000 fighters (disputed)[50]


Islamic Front :
40,000[51]–70,000[52]


al-Nusra Front:
10,000[53]
Ahrar ash-Sham:

10,000–20,000[54]
Casualties and losses

2 soldiers killed (non-combat),[55] 3 volunteers killed (not confirmed)[56]
30+ killed, mostly officers[57][58]


Ground Operations:

350 soldiers killed (per SOHR; by 29 Oct.)[59]

200 killed (per Russia; by 9 Oct.)
131 killed (per SOHR; by 29 Oct.)[60]


Ground Operations:

Unknown[61]

279 killed[60] (150 FSA, 31 al-Nusra)[62][63]


Ground Operations:

Unknown[64]
185 civilians killed (per SOHR; 29 Oct.)[60]

On 30 September 2015, Russia started military intervention in the Syrian Civil War,[65] consisting of air strikes primarily in north-western Syria by Russia against militant groups opposed to the Syrian government, including al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda in the Levant), the Islamic State and the Army of Conquest.[66][67][68] The Russian Air Force had significant ground support from the Syrian military, Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and allied militias.[69] Prior to this intervention, Russian involvement in the Syrian Civil War had mainly consisted of supplying the Syrian Army.[70] Russia intervened after a formal request from the Syrian government for military help against rebel and jihadist groups in Syria.[71] Russian officials have acknowledged their objective is to help the Syrian government retake territory from various opposition groups, including groups backed and armed by the United States.[72] The situation as it developed in October 2015 was widely assessed to be a proxy war between the United States and Russia.[73][74][75][76][77][78]

Contents

  • Background and preparation phase 1
  • Operations by Russian military 2
  • Weapons and munitions employed 3
  • Cooperation with Iran 4
  • Cooperation with Iraq 5
  • Reactions 6
    • Syria 6.1
    • International 6.2
      • Supranational 6.2.1
      • States 6.2.2
    • Militias and religious agents 6.3
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Background and preparation phase

The Syrian Civil War has been waged since 2011 between multiple opposition (anti-government) groupings and the government as well as their local and foreign support bases. Since 2014, a significant part of Syria′s territory had been claimed by the Islamic State, an entity internationally recognised as terrorist. In the north-west of the country, the main opposition faction is the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front allied with numerous other smaller Islamist groups, some of which operate under the umbrella of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) supported and armed by the U.S. and its regional allies. Since September 2014, the U.S.-led coalition had conducted air strikes in Syria against ISIL, which was widely seen as unsuccessful in achieving their ostensible goals.[79][80]

According to Russian and Syrian officials, in July 2015 the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made a formal request to Russia for airstrikes combatting international terrorism, while laying out Syria’s military problems.[81][82] According to media reports with reference to anonymous sources,[81] after a series of major setbacks suffered by the Syrian government forces in the first half of 2015, a political agreement was reached between Russia and Syria to intensify the Russian involvement; Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Iran′s Quds Force visited Moscow in July to work out the details of the joint campaign (Soleimani′s visit was denied by Russian officils[83][84]).

In August 2015 Russia began to send Russian-operated warplanes and other military hardware as well as combat troops to an airbase near the port city of Latakia in Syria.[85][86]

At the end of September, a joint information centre in Baghdad was set up by Iran, Iraq, Russia and Syria to coordinate their operations against ISIL[87] (in the newsmedia the centre is also referred to as "Joint Operations Room in Baghdad known as the 4 + 1" implying the Lebanese Shia militia Hezbollah, in addition to the 4 states[88]). According to Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov′s statement made in mid-October 2015, prior to the start of its operations in Syria, Russia invited the U.S. to join the Baghdad-based information center but received what he called an "unconstructive" response.[89][90][91] According to Alexander Yakovenko, Ambassador of Russia to the United Kingdom, the Russian government received a similar rebuttal from the UK government.[92]

On 30 September 2015, the upper house of the Russian Federal Assembly, the Federation Council, granted the request by Russian President Vladimir Putin to deploy the Russian Air Force in Syria.[93] On the same day, the Russian representative to the joint information centre arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and requested that any U.S. forces in the targeted area in Syria leave immediately.[94] An hour later, the Russian aircraft based in the government-held territory began conducting airstrikes ostensibly against ISIL and other rebel targets.[95]

The Russia-Syria-Iran-Iraq Coalition was formed after the Iraqi Joint Operations Command announced that Russia, Iran, Iraq and Syria would "help and cooperate in collecting information about the terrorist Daesh (ISIS)", In order to help combat the advances of the group.[96][97][98] The announcement also cited "the increasing concern from Russia about thousands of Russian terrorists committing criminal acts within ISIS."[96]

In October 2015, it was revealed that the Russia-Syria-Iran-Iraq coalition may have been devised during the visit by Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Quds Force, to Moscow in July 2015.[99][81][100][101] In the early days of the campaign, the Russian Air Force had significant ground support from the Syrian military, Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and allied militias.[102][103] The United States, along with its Western and Arab allies, have criticized this coalition; most airstrikes during the first week of the campaign, they allege, struck areas held by rebel groups opposed to both the Syrian government and ISIS. Several months of air strikes conducted by the US-led coalition, ostensibly against ISIL targets, however, failed to prevent the expansion of ISIS.[104]

Operations by Russian military

Russian Su-24 jet aircraft at an air base in Latakia, Syria

The first series of air strikes took place on 30 September 2015 in areas around the cities of Homs and Hama, targeting the mainstream opposition.[65] Russian warplanes attacked rebel positions "in al-Rastan, Talbiseh and Zafaraniya in Homs province; Al-Tilol al-Hmer in Quneitra province; Aydoun, a village on the outskirts of the town of Salamiya; Deer Foul, between Hama and Homs; and the outskirts of Salmiya".[105] In total, 20 flights were made.[106] Most of the initial airstrikes targeted positions of the Chechen fighters, Islamic Front's Jaysh al-Islam (Army of Islam),[36] and Free Syrian Army.[107][108][109]

According to Hezbollah media outlet Al Mayadeen, the Saudi/Turkish-backed Army of Conquest[14] around Jisr ash-Shugour was bombed on 1 October by Russian planes; at least 30 air strikes were carried out.[110] Another series of Russian airstrikes carried out that same day hit ISIL positions in Raqqa governorate.[3]

On 2 October, head of the foreign-affairs committee in the Russian parliament, Aleksey Pushkov, said that the Russian airstrikes could go on for three to four months and would intensify;[111] he later said that this was a mere surmise of his and he was not privy to any knowledge on the issue.[112] In the morning, the Russian Air Force launched four airstrikes on ISIL in the ancient Syriac city of Al-Qaryatayn, and the T4-Palmyra highway, Homs province.[27] An ISIL command and control center was destroyed in a single airstrike in Al-Qaryatayn, while an ISIL convoy on their way to the Teefor-Palmyra highway was attacked.[27] Following the airstrikes, the Syrian Army and National Defence Forces pushed ISIL out of the town of Mheen towards Al-Qaryatayn after a two-hour engagement that killed 18 militants and destroyed two technicals mounted with ZU-23-2s.[27] Syrian forces then launched a counter-attack south-west of Al-Qaryatayn to recover the main road.[27]

In the same day, the Russian Air Force began bombing Al-Nusra Front[113] positions in al-Rastan and Talbiseh in the Homs province.[26] Later, they proceeded with bombing Al-Nusra in Kafr Zita, Al-Ghaab Plains, Kafr Nabl, Kafr Sijnah, and Al-Rakaya in the Hama province.[26] The Syrian Air Force and the Russian Air Force jointly bombed Al-Nusra in Jisr al-Shughur.[26] At night, the Russian Air Force targeted ISIL with 11 airstrikes over Al-Raqqah while targeting electrical grids outside it, two airstrikes over Shadadi-Hasakah highway, and three airstrikes in Al-Mayadeen, Deir ez-Zor province.[26] The primary ISIL military base in Tabaqa Military Airport was also attacked, with the barracks being destroyed in two airstrikes. Near the Military Airport, an ISIL weapons supply depot in Al-'Ajrawi Farms was also bombed. At the same time, the ISIL primary headquarters in Tabaqa National Hospital was heavily damaged in a Russian airstrike.[26][114] In Al-Hasakah province, the Russian Air Force targeted ISIL in Al-Shadadi and Al-Houl, while the Syrian Air Force attacked an ISIL convoy along the Deir ez-Zor-Hasakah highway.[114]

On 3 October, reports indicated that Hezbollah and Iranian fighters were preparing major ground offensives to be coordinated with Russian airstrikes.[115] According to CNN, the Russian defense ministry said its soldiers bombed nine ISIL positions near the group's de facto capital in Raqqa. At least 11 were killed in an alleged double strike by Russia in Syria's Idlib province, according to opposition groups.[116] During the day, the Russian Air Force made four airstrikes over Al-Nusra controlled Jisr al-Shughur, and additional ones in Jabal Al-Zawiya, and Jabal al-Akrad.[117] One of the targets was an Al-Nusra reinforcement convoy heading from Jisr al-Shughur to the northeast countryside of Latakia province.[117]

Aircraft preparation of Russian air grouping for combat sorties in Syria

On the morning of 7 October 2015, according to the Russian officials, four warships from the Russian Navy's Caspian Flotilla launched 26 3M-14T Kalibr NK[118] cruise missiles that hit 11 targets within Syrian territory. The missiles passed through Iranian and Iraqi airspace in order to reach their targets at a distance of well over about 1,500 kilometers (930 miles).[119] The same day, Syrian ground forces were reported to carry out an offensive under Russian air cover.[120][121] According to CNN citing unnamed U.S. military and intelligence officials, 4 of 26 cruise missiles on 8 October crashed in Iran, well before reaching their targets in Syria.[122] Russia claimed all of its missiles hit their targets.[123][124] Iran also denied any missile crash on its territory.[125][126] Iranian defence ministry rejected any reports alleging that four of the 26 cruise missiles crashed in Iran saying the CNN reports are part of the West's "psychological warfare".[125]

On 8 October 2015, the number of air raids increased significantly up to over 60 sorties a day, a tempo maintained for the next 2 days.[127] The Russian defense ministry announced on 9 October that up to sixty ISIL targets were hit in the past 24 hours, supposedly killing 300 militants in the most intense strikes so far. One of the raids targeted a Liwa al-Haqq base in the Al-Raqqah Governorate using KAB-500KR precision-guided bombs, in which two senior ISIL commanders and up to 200 militants were killed, despite the lack of connection between Liwa al-Haqq and ISIL. Another assault destroyed a former prison near Aleppo that was used by ISIL as a base and munitions depot, also killing scores of militants. Rebel training sites in the Latakia and Idlib provinces were allegedly hit as well.[128] Meanwhile, ISIL militants made advances in the Aleppo area on 9 October, seizing several villages, including Tal Qrah, Tal Sousin, and Kfar Qares, in what the Associated Press called a "lightning attack". The attacks were unencumbered by either Russian or U.S.-led coalition airstrikes. The ISIL advance came at the expense of rebel groups also targeted by Russian and Syrian forces.[129]

In mid-October 2015, a joint Russian-Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah offensive targeting rebels in Aleppo went ahead.[130][131][132]

According to the data released by the Russian Defence Ministry,[85] within the period from 30 September till 22 October 2015, the Russian aircraft carried out 934 sorties from the Hmeymim air base and destroyed 819 targets.

Weapons and munitions employed

Russian forces in Syria were reported to have used a mix of precision-guided munitions and unguided weapons.[133] The October airstrikes were Russia's first operational use of precision-guided munitions, whose development in Russia lagged behind other nations due to economic instability in the 1990s. The majority of weapons employed, however, were unguided.[134] Russia also utilized cruise missiles launched from corvettes and a frigate.[135]

Exploding suicide drones have been deployed by Iran and Russia.[136] Overall, the air campaign is estimated to cost between $2.3 and $4 million a day.[137] Additionally, the 3M-54 Klub cruise missiles that Russia has used by the dozen cost roughly $1.2 million per unit.[138]

Cooperation with Iran

Vladimir Putin meets with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in New York, 29 September 2015

Iran continues to officially deny the presence of its combat troops in Syria, maintaining that it provides military advice to Assad's forces in their fight against terrorist groups.[139] However, it is believed that the Syrian army receives substantial support from the Quds force; in June 2015, some reports suggested that the Iranian military were effectively in charge of the Syrian government troops on the battlefield.[140]

After the loss of Idlib province to a rebel offensive in the first half of 2015, the situation was judged to have become critical for Assad's survival. High level talks were held between Moscow and Tehran in the first half of 2015 and a political agreement was achieved;[81] on 24 July, ten days after the signing of the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 countries, general Qasem Soleimani visited Moscow[141] to devise the details of the plan for coordinated military action in Syria.[81][142]

In mid-September 2015, the first reports of new detachments from the Iranian revolutionary guards arriving in Tartus and Latakia in west Syria were made. With much of the Syrian Arab Army and National Defence Force units deployed to more volatile fronts, the Russian Marines and Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRG) have relieved their positions by installing military checkpoints inside the cities of Slunfeh (east Latakia Governorate), Masyaf (East Tartus Governorate) and Ras al-Bassit (Latakia coastal city).[143] There were also further reports of new Iranian contingents being deployed to Syria in early October 2015.[144] It is generally thought that Iran will be playing a leading role in the ground operations of Syria's army and allies, whilst Russia will be leading in the air in conjunction with the Syrian air force, thereby establishing a complementary role.[18]

Cooperation with Iraq

At the end of September 2015, a joint information centre in Baghdad was set up by Iran, Iraq, Russia and Syria to coordinate their operations against ISIL[145] According to Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov′s statement made in mid-October 2015, prior to the start of its operations in Syria, Russia invited the U.S. to join the Baghdad-based information center but received what he called an "unconstructive" response. Putin′s proposal that the U.S. receive a high-level Russian delegation and that a U.S. delegation arrive in Moscow to discuss co-operation in Syria was likewise declined by the U.S.[146][147][148] After a formal request from the Syrian government for military help against rebel and jihadist groups in Syria, the coalition started its work.[149] It is generally thought that Iran will play a leading role in the ground operations of Syria's army and allies, whilst Russia will be leading in the air in conjunction with the Syrian air force, thereby establishing a complementary role.[18] For Western countries and the Russia-Syria-Iran-Iraq coalition ISIS has been a common enemy, although each country has very different friends and opposing views of how to solve the crisis.[103]

In an interview with Iranian TV, Assad said that the success of this military agreement was vital to save the Middle East from destruction. He said that the year-long air campaign by US-led coalition had been counterproductive and had helped terrorism to spread and win new recruits, but that the new coalition of Russia, Syria, Iran, and Iraq, could achieve real results.[103]

Reactions

For further Russian comments on Syria and Russian initiatives since 30 September not part of this military operation, see: Russian involvement in the Syrian Civil War

Syria

 Syria:

  • On 1 October, the Syrian Ambassador to Russia, Riyad Haddad, stated that the Russian air force is acting in full coordination with the Syrian army. He added that Syria's position is that the Russian intervention is the only legitimate intervention under international law and called for other countries to join the "non-criminal" Russian intervention in Syria.[82]
  • Hezbollah linked Al Manar late October reported President Assad as saying the "Syria-Russia-Iran-Iraq Front must succeed or the region would be destroyed." Assad said that chances of this alliance's success are big.[150]

International

Supranational

United Nations - On October 31st, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in an interview with Spanish daily El_Mundo "The future of Assad must be decided by the Syrian people," and "The Syrian government insists that President Assad takes part (in any transitional government) but others, especially Western countries, say there is no place for him, but because of that we have lost three years, there have been more than 250,000 dead, more than 13 million displaced within Syria... more than 50 percent of hospitals, schools and infrastructure have been destroyed. There's no time to lose." [151]

 NATO - NATO has condemned Russian air strikes[152] and urged Russia to stop supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. On 8 October, they renewed assurances to defend the allies in view of the "escalation of Russian military activities."[153]

U.S.-led coalition - On 1 October, participants in the U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition called on Russia to curtail its air campaign in Syria, saying the airstrikes had hit Syrian opposition groups and civilians. Such strikes would "only fuel more extremism", the statement issued by the U.S., UK, Turkey and other coalition members declared.[154] "We call on the Russian Federation to immediately cease its attacks on the Syrian opposition and civilians and to focus its efforts on fighting ISIL."[155] U.S. President Barack Obama, at a news conference on 2 October, underscored the coalition statement by saying the Russian action was driving moderate opposition groups underground, and would result in "only strengthening" IS.[156]

States

 Egypt supports the Russian air offensive. On 3 October, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said the Russian entry into war in Syria was bound "to have an effect on limiting terrorism in Syria and eradicating it."[157]

 Iraq supports the Russian intervention in Syria and has permitted Russia to fly over Iraq with its war planes.[158]

Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Vladimir Putin in Moscow, 21 September 2015

 Israel - Shortly prior to the Russian intervention, the Israel Defense Forces and Russian military had set up a joint working group to coordinate their Syria-related activities in the aerial, naval, and electromagnetic arenas.[159] The Israeli government was primarily concerned about ensuring that the potential alliance between Hezbollah and Russia is not detrimental to its security.[160] According to Zvi Magen, former ambassador to Moscow, "Israel made clear to him [Putin] that we have no real problem with Assad, just with Iran and Hezbollah, and that message was understood."[161]

 Jordan – On 23 October, Jordan agreed to set up a "special working mechanism" in Amman to coordinate military actions with Russia in Syria. Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov called for continued expansion of the alliance, saying "We think that other states that participate in the anti- terrorist fight can join this mechanism as well."[162][163]

 Saudi Arabia – On 1 October, Saudi Arabia′s senior diplomat at the UN demanded that Russia cease its intervention, repeating claims made by Western diplomats that Russia was targeting the unnamed "moderate" anti-government opposition rather than ISIL.[164]

Erdoğan visited Moscow to discuss Syria and to attend the opening of the newly built Cathedral Mosque, 23 September 2015

 Turkey - President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, after a series of violations of the country′s airspace by Russian military aircraft in early October, warned that Russia's military operation in Syria could jeopardise the bilateral ties between the countries.[165]

 United Kingdom - Prime Minister David Cameron said "It's absolutely clear that Russia is not discriminating between Isil [IS] and the legitimate Syrian opposition groups and, as a result, they are actually backing the butcher Assad and helping him".[166] British troops will be sent to the Baltic states and Poland following Russia's intervention in Syria "to respond to any further provocation and aggression".[167]

Russian and American representatives meet to discuss the situation in Syria on September 29, 2015

 United States - In early October, President Barack Obama was reported to have authorised the resupply—against ISIL—of 25,000 Syrian Kurds and 5,000 of the armed-Syrian opposition, emphasising that the U.S. would continue this support now that Russia had joined the conflict.[168][169]

The U.S. ruled out military cooperation with Russia in Syria.[170] Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and other senior U.S. officials said Russia's campaign was primarily aimed at propping up Assad, whom President Barack Obama has repeatedly called upon to leave power.[171]

On 8 October, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, talking at a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels, said he believed Russia would soon start paying the price for its military intervention in Syria in the form of reprisal attacks and casualties.[172] He added that he expected "in the next few days the Russians will begin to lose in Syria."[170][173] He further said Russia's campaign was primarily aimed at propping up Assad,[171]

Militias and religious agents

Representatives of the [174]

On 30 September, Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin, talking about the support of the government's action on the part of that church, said the fight against terrorism was a "moral fight, a holy fight if you will".[176][177][178]
Leader of the Central Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Russia, Chief Mufti Talgat Tadzhuddin stated: "We fully back the use of a contingent of Russian armed forces in the battle against international terrorism."[179]

Over 40 anti-government groups, including factions such as Ahrar ash-Sham, Jaysh al-Islam and the Levant Front, were reported, on 5 October, to have vowed to attack Russian forces in retaliation for Moscow's air campaign.[180]

Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate al-Nusra Front[15] has set a reward for the seizure of Russian soldiers of 2,500,000 Syrian pounds (approximately US$13,000).[181] Abu Ubaid Al-Madani, who speaks Russian, released a video addressed to the Russians warning that they would massacre Russian soldiers.[182] Abu Mohammad al-Julani called for Russian civilians to be attacked by former Soviet Muslims and called for attacks on Alawite villages in Syria.[183][184][185]

The Syria-based, Al-Qaeda linked Saudi cleric Abdallah Muhammad Al-Muhaysini threatened that Syria would be a "tomb for its invaders" or "graveyard for invaders" in response to the Russian intervention and brought up the Soviet war in Afghanistan.[186][187][188] Muhaysini had foreign fighters of multiple backgrounds repeated the phrase "The Levant is the graveyard of the Russians", in a video message.[189][190]

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant declared Jihad upon the Russians in a recorded vocal communiqué by Abu Mohammed al-Adnani.[191]

The Muslim Brotherhood of Syria issued a statement declaring Jihad against Russia obligatory (Fard 'ayn) upon all who are able to carry weapons.[5][192][193][194] They cited the Russian Orthodox Church's call of the operation as a Holy War.[195][196][197][198][199][200][201]

Fifty-five Saudi religious scholars signed a statement against the Russian intervention, first addressing the Russians as "Oh Russians, oh extremist people of the Cross", reminding them of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and addressing the Orthodox Russia as the heir of the Soviet Communists, accusing them of "supporting the Nusayri regime" and invading "Muslim Syria", accusing the leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church of declaring a "Crusade" and telling them they will meet the fate of the Soviet Union and suffer "a shameful defeat in the Levant" as what happened in Afghanistan. The statement also addressed "Our people in the Levant", telling able-bodied and people who are able to contribute to join the "Jihad" instead of emigrating. The statement also called for all factions against the government in Syria to unite; the statement addressed "Arab and Muslim countries", telling them that there is a "real war against Sunnis and their countries and identity" at the hands of the "Western-Russian and Safavid and Nusayri alliance", calling for the termination of all relations with Iran and Russia with Muslim countries and to "protect the land and people of the Levant from the influence of the Persians and Russians", especially calling upon Qatar, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia to support the Levant.[202][203][204][205][206][207][208][209][210] The statement called on "all those who are able, and outside of Saudi Arabia, to answer the calls of jihad".[211][212]

The Free Syrian Army's "Homs Liberation Movement" threatened suicide bombings against Russians in Syria.[213]

Photos of Uyghur fighters of the Turkistan Islamic Party were released with captions in Arabic that said "standing up strongly to the Nusayri army and the Russians." (المجاهدين التركستانيين يتصدى بقوة للجيش النصيري ومن قبل الروس).[214]

See also

References

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  15. ^ a b Kim Sengupta (12 May 2015). "Turkey and Saudi Arabia alarm the West by backing Islamist extremists the Americans had bombed in Syria". The Independent. 
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  18. ^ a b c "Iranian troops join ground offensive in Syria". The Globe and Mail. 
  19. ^ Alessandria Masi (11 November 2014). "If ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Is Killed, Who Is Caliph of the Islamic State Group?". International Business Times. 
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External links

  • Russian Ministry of Defence Syria site (Russian language)
  • Russian Ministry of Defence Syria site (English language)
  • Analysis of Russian goals in their intervention by Dmitri Trenin, Carnegie Moscow Center
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