Russian soldiers are safe. Or are they?
The first task for the Kremlin propaganda organs was to prove that no threat is going to exist for the Russian troops. Just a few moments after the information pertaining the military intervention in Syria was announced, Putin told the journalists that the Russian involvement in Syria is going to be realized “only with the use of the air force and it is going to be only temporary”
The Russian Ministry of Defence started to calm down the public sphere, informing that Combat SAR teams are being trained. Such teams would be deployed in order to rescue the pilots who are potentially shot down behind the enemy lines. Suddenly, it turned out that the Russians are in possession of some Combat SAR units.
According to the official announcement, an intensive training programme for the CSAR element of the VVS has been going on for two weeks now. However, it turned out that no proper training center, required to realize such programme, exists, thus the pilots training center in the village of Agoy, in the Krasnodar Krai area (close to the Black Sea), has been adapted to fit that purpose. However, earlier on this centre was used by the pilots, where they have been learning the survival techniques. Now, it turns out that Combat SAR specialists are also going to be educated at that facility.
The training included, above all, the areas of parachute jump landing accuracy, mountain and forest areas survival techniques, and survival techniques that could be implemented in tough weather conditions, along with the skills required to rescue the persons from water and in unsecured areas. 70 rescuers from the whole Russia were involved in the programme.
Accuracy is questionable
As we know, the Russian aircraft, so far, have attacked the targets located in the Hims and Hama provinces. However, no information was released as to what forces were the target, nor do we know, whether the Russian Air Force attacked the ISIS forces or the opposition, fighting against the army of Assad.
There is also very little info pertaining the effectiveness of the conducted strikes. The Russians have published movie clips, recorded by the targeting systems of the aircraft taking part in the operation, on the website of the Ministry of Defence. The experts have immediately noted that, in case of one of the published videos, the bombs have hit an area which was quite far away from the building which - without any doubts - was the designated target. The building remained virtually undamaged.
This lack of accuracy may mean that not only are the Russian strikes going to be militarily ineffective, but they are also going to lead to a wide scope of collateral damage. Moreover, the strikes are also going to increase the costs of the war borne by Russia, once the Kremlin decided to get involved in an armed intervention. Should all of the above rumours turn out to be true, this may also mean that the Russian armament systems are not so effective, at least not as effective as advertised by the Russian manufacturers, some time ago. The issue is very sensitive for the Kremlin, since the aircraft sent to Syria were brand new, or modernized.
So far, the Russian Ministry of Defence announced that a Russian aviation component deployed in Syria carried out 20 strikes against eight facilities belonging to the ISIS international terrorist organization. The targets included weapons and ammunition storages, fuel storages, stations for the vehicles, command points, communication points and means of transport utilized by the ISIS.
All of the targets listed above were to be hit. Moreover, it was announced that a command center and staff center, both of which were used to control the terrorist operations, were completely destroyed. The said facilities were supposedly detected in one of the mountain villages. The photographic material seems to claim otherwise.