NEWSWATCH: “In Syria, Russia Protects Its Interests From Above and Below” – Stratfor
Stratfor reports on the buildup of Russian air defenses in Syria in the aftermath of Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military aircraft.
With such an extensive presence, Russia will be able to obstruct the war efforts of those opposed to Syrian President Bashar al Assad. The United States and its allies can still fly airstrikes against the Islamic State, but the prospect of changing targets to include loyalist forces advancing on rebel positions is greatly hindered by active Russian air support. Turkey and Saudi Arabia, for example, have long sought to oust the al Assad government, but any attempt to unilaterally support the rebels with their own air assets would be met with significant Russian air defenses. The United States is even more averse to escalating tensions with Russia. Wishing to avoid losing focus on the fight against the Islamic State, the United States has no desire to confront Russian air power in the skies above Syria.