[Freemanlist2] NATO General Worried About Russian Military Build-Up In Syria

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Wed Sep 30 09:13:00 CDT 2015


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NATO General Worried About Russian Military Build-Up In SyriaAgence France-Presse 7:30 p.m. EDT September 28, 2015
http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/international/europe/2015/09/28/nato-general-worried-russian-military-build-syria/73002834/

WASHINGTON — NATO Gen. Philip Breedlove expressed concern Monday about the 
strength of Russia's military build-up in northwestern Syria and the 
apparent creation of a defensive "bubble" in the Mediterranean.

The supreme allied commander in Europe for the 28-member military alliance 
said Russia had sent advanced weaponry beyond what is needed to fight the 
Islamic State group — meaning the hardware is to protect Syrian President 
Bashar al-Assad.

"We see some very sophisticated air defenses going into these airfields. We 
see some very sophisticated air-to-air aircraft going into these airfields," 
Breedlove told an audience at the German Marshall Fund in Washington.

"I have not seen (the Islamic State) flying any airplanes that require 
sophisticated air-to-air capabilities."

The Pentagon says Russia has sent at least 500 troops, along with fighter 
jets, artillery units, tanks and other military hardware to an airbase in 
the Latakia region on Syria's Mediterranean coast.

Breedlove suggested the weaponry included SA15 and SA22 surface-to-air 
missile defense systems, used to take down enemy planes.

"I have not seen ISIL flying any airplanes that require SA15s or SA22s," he 
said, using an alternative acronym for the IS group.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Barack Obama sparred 
over the crisis in Syria in dueling UN speeches on Monday, each accusing the 
other of fueling the carnage.

The two leaders were due to meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly 
later.

Breedlove said Russia was trying to protect Assad's regime "against those 
that are putting pressure on" it.

Using military jargon, he warned of Russia forming an "A2AD" (Anti-Access 
Area-Denial) exclusion zone.

"It's one of the things we are beginning to watch (them) develop in the 
northeast Mediterranean as we see these very capable air defense 
capabilities beginning to show up in Syria," Breedlove said.

"We are a little worried about another A2AD bubble being created in the 
eastern Mediterranean."

He noted Russia already had created such a zone in the Black Sea, thanks to 
missile batteries sent to Crimea after its annexation by Russian forces.

They are also using the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad to create a bubble 
over the Baltic, he said.

Breedlove's comments come as the West frets over Russia's intentions in 
Syria and in eastern Ukraine, where it is supporting pro-Moscow rebels in an 
ongoing conflict.

"Russia very much wants to be seen as an equal on the world stage, a great 
power on the world stage," he said.

Moscow "wants to maintain warm water ports and airfield capabilities in the 
eastern Mediterranean and they saw that possibly being challenged on the 
ground by those opposing the Assad regime." 
________________________________________
IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis

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