Sunday, 14 July 2013

Russia's response to Israeli air attack on Syrian base

Russia Mobilizes 160,000 Troops After US Officials Confirm Israel Took Out Russian Missiles At Latakia Arsenal in Syria 
The Most Ambitious Since 1991 Military Exercises In The Far East

13 July, 2013

Unnamed U.S. officials tell CNN that Israel struck Russian-made missiles in Latakia, Syria last Friday.

A series of explosions last week at a critical Syrian port was the result of airstrikes by Israeli warplanes, multiple U.S. officials told CNN on Friday.
Regional media widely reported the predawn explosions at Latakia on July 5, but no one had officially claimed responsibility.
Three U.S. officials told CNN the target of the airstrikes were Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship missiles that Israel believes posed a threat to its naval forces.
The officials declined to be named because of the sensitive nature of the information.
According to the press service of the Russian Defense Ministry, on the orders of Vladimir Putin, was launched the most extensive in the post-Soviet history, since 1991, the military exercise in Russia-in exercises involving troops of the Central and Eastern military districts, the Pacific Fleet, The Long and Military Transport Aviation of Russia…
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MOSCOW, July 13. / ITAR-TASS /. In the Armed Forces of Russia today at 01:00 MSK began the most ambitious in the history of post-Soviet test readiness. This was reported by the press service management and information the Defense Ministry.
On the eve of Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered to begin on the night of July 13, sudden military test in the Eastern Military District. “I instruct to conduct surprise inspections of the Eastern Military District, to bring to all users of this directive and in the morning from 12 to 13 to bring the troops of the Eastern Military District on full alert to their conclusion in the areas of study, the landfills,” – said Putin.
To test the combat readiness of association involved, the military units of the Central and Eastern military districts, the Pacific Fleet, as well as long-range and military transport aircraft Air Force Russia”, – reported in the Ministry of Defense.

Approximately 160,000 military are involved in the sudden inspection readiness of Russian Army 
The number of military involved in the sudden checking readiness of the Russian Armed Forces, has doubled – to 160,000, according to RIA Novosti , citing the statement of Russian Defense Minister, Army General Sergei Shoigu at a teleconference in the center of the military.
In large-scale testing also involves about 1,000 tanks and armored vehicles, 130 long-range aircraft, military transport, fighter, bomber and the Army Air Corps, as well as up to 70 ships of the Navy, said the minister.
The troops carried out to bring the event to a higher degree of combat readiness of military units to regroup with the help of various modes of transport. Special attention is Shoigu told reporters, is paid to the command and control, as well as the transport, logistics and medical support.

MOSCOW, July 13 (RIA Novosti) Russia’s defense minister on Saturday said that up to 160,000 servicemen are involved in the large-scale exercises in the Eastern Military District, double the number initially reported.

“The total number of servicemen involved in the snap drills was up to 81,000 last night, the figure this morning was up to 160,000 servicemen,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

The exercises also involve about 
1,000 tanks and armored vehicles, 130 aircraft and 70 warships from the Pacific Fleet, Shoigu confirmed. These latter figures remain unchanged.
Russia has staged large-scale military exercises in the country’s Eastern military district aimed at enhancing the defense capabilities of its armed forces, Defense Ministry says.
The drills, which are the largest surprise check of combat readiness of the Russian military in the post-Soviet period, started on Saturday.

Israel behind mystery attack on Syrian port – US sources
US officials have revealed that explosions reported at a key Syrian port on July 5 were likely the result of an Israeli airstrike.

13 July, 2013

Three officials spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity, referring to the pre-dawn explosions in the city of Latakia as an Israeli operation which allegedly targeted Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship missiles.

The Yakhont is a cruise missile with a range of 300 kilometers, capable of delivering a warhead weighing in at 250 kilograms. Russia supplied Syria’s armed forces with a Yakhont missile battery in 2011.

Shortly after the July 5 incident, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that "huge explosions shook the area where a large Syrian army base and weapons depots are located."

According to reports by the SOHR published by Haaretz, fighter jets were seen in the skies around the city of Al-Haffah, which lies east of Latakia. Several troops were reported as having been killed or wounded in the ensuing explosions.

Syrian rebels said on Tuesday that “foreign forces” had destroyed advanced anti-ship missiles in Latakia, but only hinted that Israel had been behind the attack, Arutz Sheva reported.

Qassem Saadeddine, spokesman for the Free Syrian Army's Supreme Military Council, reported that the rebels' intelligence network had identified missiles being stored in the depots which were hit.

"It was not the FSA that targeted this," Saadeddine told Reuters. "It is not an attack that was carried out by rebels. This attack was either by air raid or long-range missiles fired from boats in the Mediterranean," he said.

Syrian rebels described hearing and seeing huge blasts, the ferocity of which was beyond the firepower available to the FSA.

So far the Israeli government has declined to confirm or comment on allegations that it was behind the July 5 attack on Latakia. If the claims are true, the attack would mark the fourth Israeli strike on Syria within the past six months.

In May, Israel launched two airstrikes on Syrian territory. One of the strikes was thought to be on the country’s Scientific Studies and Research Center, which was previously attacked by the Israeli Air Force in January. Another attack, which took place on May 3, targeted Fateh-110 surface-to-surface missiles provided by Iran and based at Damascus International Airport.

"We have set red lines in regards to our own interests, and we keep them. There is an attack here, an explosion there, various versions - in any event, in the Middle East it is usually we who are blamed for most," Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon told reporters on Tuesday.

"There is an explosion here or an attack there, somewhere in the Middle East, most of the time they accuse us," he added.

Israel previously stated that the acquisition of sophisticated weaponry by Hezbollah in Lebanon, which is supported by both Syria and Iran, would represent a red line and merit a response.

In all prior instances of strikes linked to Israel’s armed forces, officials have not gone on record to take responsibility for the incursions. At the same time, Tel Aviv has made clear that the country is prepared to go into Syria if it means preventing Hezbollah or other militant groups from obtaining additional weaponry.

Israel considers advanced missile systems such as the Yakhont to be a threat to vital infrastructure on the country's coast, including gas reservoirs and a power station in Hadera, Haaretz reported.

Gearoid O Colmain, an investigative author and journalist believes that this latest attack by Israel was part of a long Israeli strategy against Syria and that Syria has little choice but to respond at some point.

After the last attack in May President Assad said he would respond strategically and I think what he means by that is that with Hezbollah now in the picture in Syria, the Golan Heights will become an area of tension and I think he has said as well that they will provoke an uprising against the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights,” he told RT.

Russia stages large-scale military drills’
Russia has staged large-scale military exercises in the country’s Eastern military district aimed at enhancing the defense capabilities of its armed forces, Defense Ministry says.

Smoke rises in the city of Latakia.(Reuters / Handout)

13 July, 2013

The drills, which are the largest surprise check of combat readiness of the Russian military in the post-Soviet period, started on Saturday.

The surprise training exercise involves over 80,000 troops, some 1,000 tanks and armored vehicles, 130 aircraft and helicopters 70 warships and will continue until July 20.

The main goal of the drills is to check the readiness of units to carry out their missions, and to assess the quality of their training and technical preparedness,” Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement.

On Friday, during a meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu Russian, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an unexpected military drill, urging all forces to enter a state of full combat readiness on the night of July 13.

Earlier in May, Putin said that surprise military drills was a perfect way to keep the armed forces in good shape and pledged to continue similar practices in the future.

The Eastern Military District, which was formed in 2010, is considered as one of the four operational strategic commands of the Russian Armed Forces. 

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