15:50 GMT +324 February 2017
    Military exercise involving S-300 surface-to-air missile systems.

    Syria Right to Hit NATO Warplanes

    © Sputnik/ Pavel Lisitsyn
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    Finian Cunningham

    Syria is ready to deploy the fearsome S-300 air-defence system supplied by its Russian ally. The anti-aircraft surface-to-air missiles will give Syria control over its territory and the capability to shoot down any intrusive warplane or missile. NATO warplanes beware!

    The fatal shoot-down of a Russian fighter jet by a Turkish F-16 two weeks ago has given urgency to installing the air-defence system. It is as much in Russia’s interest as it is in Syria’s to have air cover – and the S-300, and its newer generation, the S-400, are reckoned to be the best technology in the world for that job.

    “It’s a top-of-the range weapon”, says the British defence publication, IHS Jane’s, probably surpassing the American Patriot missile system. The Russian-made S-300 can take out any modern fighter plane or missile, including Cruise missiles, at a range of up 150 kilometres and an altitude of 27 kilometres.

    According to a senior officer at the Syria-Russia joint military operations room in Damascus, the mobile S-300 is ready for deployment at various locations across the country.

    Flags of Turkey, right, and the European Union are seen in front of a mosque in Istanbul, Turkey
    © AP Photo/ Osman Orsal, File
    Translated from Arabic language Alrai Media (thanks to the reliable Fort Russ Russian news site), the senior Syrian officer at the operations room is quoted as saying: “Soon Syria will announce that any country using the airspace without coordinating with Damascus will be viewed as hostile and [we] will shoot the jet down without warning. Those willing to fight terrorism and coordinate with the military leadership will be granted safe corridors.”

    This may seem like a dangerous escalation. American fighter jets have been bombing Syrian territory since September 2014, having carried out thousands of air strikes allegedly against the Islamic State (IS) terror group (also known by its Arabic name Daesh).

    Since the Paris terror attacks last month, France has stepped up its air strikes in Syria too. In the past week, Britain and Germany parliaments have voted for their air forces to join the other NATO members in aerial operations. The US-led bombing coalition in Syria also includes Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

    Russia is the only country whose military aircraft are legally deployed in Syria because Moscow has the full consent of the Syrian government. All the others do not have consent from Damascus.

    So we have at least seven foreign powers deploying their warplanes to bomb Syrian territory – all in violation of international law.

    It is irrelevant whether the US-led alliance claims to be fighting terrorists, or whether they claim it is in “self-defence” as France, Britain and Germany are. The Germany justice minister Heiko Maas, speaking after the Bundestag voted for military action this week, claimed that the United Nations Security Council resolution passed last month in the wake of the Paris attacks makes the German intervention legal. That UNSC resolution does not specifically sanction military action.

    In any case, the ultimate legal criterion is the position of the Syrian state authorities. Western governments and their media have done everything to discredit, demonise and delegitimise the Syrian government. That’s part of the US-led criminal enterprise for regime change in Syria. But the fact remains, Syria is a sovereign state fully entitled the legal rights of all other UN members.

    If the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad – which is the internationally recognised governing authority of Syria and retains its seat at the UN – does not consent to foreign military intervention, then that intervention is illegal, as Moscow and Damascus have repeatedly pointed out.

    Syria, with the S-300 missile system supplied by its Russian ally, now has the technical means to defend its borders and airspace from all intruders. It also has the legal right to defend the inviolability of its territory. After all, US President Barack Obama invoked this right with regard to Turkey after the shoot-down of the Russian Su-24. Obama said Turkey had “every right to protect its skies” (even though the evidence shows that the Russian fighter jet did not breach Turkish territory).

    In other words: what’s good for Turkey is good for Syria, as for any other nation.

    Now, some might say it is a reckless move for Syria to train its skies with the powerful S-300. If a US, French, British or German warplane is shot down then that may ignite a full-on war with the American NATO military alliance. Russia would inevitably be dragged into the fight, which could slide into a world war between nuclear powers.

    But hold on a minute. That logic amounts to the US and its allies using such fear as a weapon to disarm others and to prevent sovereign states from exercising their rights.

    Such a dynamic is a blank cheque for powers to bully and oppress others.

    As Russian President Vladimir Putin has said time and again, the issue is one abiding by international law. Without respect for international law then the world resorts to the law of the jungle and barbarism, as Putin said in his recent state of the nation speech.

    What we have seen in recent years since the US-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001-2003 is the wholesale erosion of sovereignty. This has involved the overt deployment of military force and the covert use of “asymmetric war”, says American political analyst Randy Martin (who writes at crookedbough.com).

    “The use of proxy military force by the US and its NATO allies has been seen in regime-change operations in Libya, Syria and Ukraine, combined with media propaganda campaigns and economic sanctions,” says Martin. “A key strategy here by the Washington-led powers is to erode sovereign rights of designated enemy states.”

    The deployment of so-called Islamist terror groups to destabilise Syria as with neo-Nazi paramilitaries in Ukraine is all part of the West’s asymmetric warfare.

    For whatever reason, the US bombing coalition is claiming that it is combating the IS jihadists in Syria. However, the evidence shows that Western “combat” efforts in Syria are very late in coming and not very effective, indicating a lack of commitment to genuinely defeat the terror network.

    There is also reason to believe that the NATO rush to bomb IS oil smuggling routes in Syria is really motivated by a need to cover up the tracks of Western collusion with the terror groups. The American CIA and British MI6, along with Turk military intelligence, have been implicated in running the terror “rat lines”. Russian intelligence is lifting the lid on this sordid racket.

    Western air strikes without the approval of the Syrian government are not only illegal, they lack credibility in their stated aim.

    But either way, the imperative here is that Syria re-establishes its sovereignty and the principles of international law. If Syria is lost, then Western state sponsored banditry and terrorism will only escalate. Russia is already being targeted by the West’s asymmetric warfare, as is Iran and China.

    Therefore, a line has to be drawn. And with Russia’s military support, Syria has the power to do just that. From now on, NATO warplanes violating Syrian territory should be put on notice. Keep out or get shot down.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.


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    • avatar
      Where is China in all this? Total absence! Not even a word!
    • avatar
      Enlightening article
    • avatar
      in reply toallperils(Show commentHide comment)
      allperils, Exactly. Don't let them know what you are thinking.
    • avatar
      Syria has given the US and allies the trust to show their true colours and intentions. Now they have written to the UN to officially complain, then NATO cannot complain when the S 300 or S 400 is up and running on the territory of the sovereign nation.
    • avatar
      Here, here! Finally, I'm hearing some sense in the matter! NATO is only an American proxy army in the first place. These psychopaths in Washington are finally getting a push back from the people who occupy the high ground in all of this, Putin and Russia! I'm guessing that in the end, the schoolyard bully is finally going to get kicked in the balls and will go running home to his mother in tears crying all kinds of fouls! Paper tigers that they are! They're real tough against a country who can't defend itself! They're messing with the wrong guy this time though.
    • The Syrian conflict is part of a wider US war against all states that stand up for their sovereignty and independence. Despite making some half-hearted attempts to combat ISIL, Washington's main target remains the lawful Syrian government, which it has attempted for many years to overthrow through subversion and outright support of so-called 'moderate' rebels.

      All countries that are serious about combating terrorism should coordinate their actions with Damascus, as Russia has done. Any country whose warplanes enter Syrian airspace without permission should expect an appropriate response from the legitimate Syrian authorities.
    • avatar
      As national leaders, Assad and Putin come across in this sorry farrago, as particularly rational and patient. Perhaps too meritorious for the Western leaders to be able to get a handle on. Who was it said, 'To the wicked man, virtue seems only a superior form of chicanery'?
    • avatar
      Mr Cunningham, excellent commentary on the situation in Syria and Middle East. Your analysis of the situation is very correct and what I find amazing and eye opening is the fact that you pointed out the most important think which most of us including myself did not realise as one of key factors in whole situation, and it is a FEAR FACTOR which is very common for bullies. If we leave aside all our academic and theoretical knowledge we have to admit that only theory supported with practice is the relevant one. We know that bullies in most cases are far from being so powerful and mighty as they like to present themselves. In reality they need wide support and this entourage of weak thugs is making a bully looking powerful. As soon bully loses its entourage to a new stronger person he becomes as a spoiled child screaming, crying and seeking support of stronger ones.

      We know that our human interactions are always reflected by our individual experiences gathered together in a so called social behave. As the bullying is very common practice in USA schools as well as in some EU it is very normal that such behavioural pattern will reflect in all levels of society. We can see that in USA gun culture has very strong support as gun is a mean of protecting oneself from being bullied. So violence in exchange for violence. That is vicious circle that envelops US society today and therefore it is reflected in every aspect of their life. USA is weak as we can see how desperately and senselessly they enter in conflicts with weak countries and if there is moderately strong country they will conduct subversive actions to create massive turmoil in country as we have seen in Ukraine, thus preparing grounds for other to go in fire for chestnuts. We have seen that USA failed in every moderately organised country as they simply do not know how to rule. They come with all blazing guns killing hundreds of thousands of civilians, creating pandemonium in country which in return creates tsunami of refugees which in reality serves to several purposes but in that very moment of attacking the country they weaken government by depriving them of hundreds of thousands of potential defence forces as many of them leave country.

      Cunningham absolutely correctly highlighted that very important moment as it shows that in reality USA are only verbal power and are scared of being hurt. For every bully is known that they avoid any confrontation with more powerful or at least more courageous as usually they are attacking only weak and defenceless victims. So if we follow that path of mental exercise than we can conclude that once Syria declares No Fly zone over its sovereign territory we will witness that one of USA vassals will test the waters and something is telling me that it is going to be either Turkey or other Gulf state who will by USA order provoke Syrian airspace thus testing its seriousness in defending air space.

      Of course if Syria shoots down one or more jets, then verbal attacks will start and we will see increased sanctions against Russia and Syria, there will be a lots of threats but no action, or maybe just to see what would be reaction second time around. In my modest opinion there would be no WW3 as EU is not prepared for that and public would simply crucify our leaders as knowledgable public which tore away from mainstream media brainwash will get louder and start to make bigger and bigger waves which will eventually wash off these brainless vassals who still believe that USA cannot do wrong. No one with sane mind would risk war against Russia and only complete idiots as Polish politicians who are permanently trying to impress international community with their utter stupidities, would have death wish. I know for a fact that A. Merkel is hating Russia and Putin beyond description. She seams as in teenage love with Obama, she is shining and smiling when she is with him, she behaves as young girl. That means she would willingly drag us into war against Russia but it is absolutely impossible as people are massively against USA and despite having extremely bias media people more and more perceive Russia as force for peace and freedom against USA oppression.
    • avatar
      in reply toslimyfox(Show commentHide comment)
      slimyfox, Fear short-circuits reason or rational thinking.
      You spoke of "theory" and practice, but didn't mention which one.
      Fixed thinking can be misleading.
      Bullies are often most likely not cowards. Aggression is natural for them. They enjoy violence, but they do have misplaced pride.
      Turkey has 500,000 troops, one of the larger armies in the world.
      Ergogan is blackmailing Europe for three billion dollars in "withholding" a refugee crisis he largely started. That's part two of soft power warfare. Also, empty out the territories for easier acquisition and occupation. Bargain for E.U membership.
      When the Nato/US goes into a weaker country , there are not there to rule as "to rule". They exist and thrive off chaos they create. They keep the local population poor, off balance, desperate and treacherous. They are there for the oil. They need it. If the reports are true, Saudi Arabia is losing in Yemen and they have five or six years left in peak oil. "They", are going to need "Syriac" resources very soon.
      They do know how to "rule" at home, don't they? Terror, poverty and control of everything; media, schooling, minimum wage, etc.
      Yes, another "aircraft as pawn" situation is sure to come up again. However there are adults are in the room and will see it for what it is.
      Merkel is dangerously close to retirement due to her ineffective leadership. She has lost all her credibility. She is unpredictable, except to say "more refugees and sanctions, please". She wish's she could do business with Russia but Germany is an occupied country.
      Why does she hate Russia for a fact?
      She has played a losing game and all of Europe has paid and will continue to pay the price in years to come.
    • avatar
      A downed US/coalition aircraft would be the ideal pretext for the US to kill two birds with one stone: coalition forces against aginst Assad; Israel against Iran. All this seems a big price to pay for neutralising Syria and Iran. What defece can be offered by Russia and her allies? Is it credible? Perhaps China will assist? Regardless, Europe has possibly more to fear from hear vulnerability to Russian gas supplies.
    • vvj3080
      USA is run by less than 1% of the population consisting of the special interest groups, donors to the presidential election and industrialist. Best for the 99% of the population to bring down the status quo before it is too late. the 99% will labour for the 1% and be made as sacrificial lambs during war. Donald Trump has rightly said about the politics of capitol hill.
    • avatar
      ronin reply tovvj3080(Show commentHide comment)

      How does the 99% of the population to bring down the status quo?
    • Ann in reply toBlackie (Show commentHide comment)
      d-hgar, I could not agree more. This is exactly what I said Assad should do, weeks ago. Someone has to stop the United States. If someone does stop them, the Eu and UK will fall into line as well. You always take down the bully on your block and the rest won't want to follow him.
    • Ann in reply toallperils(Show commentHide comment)
      allperils, Oh, China is there, waiting in the shadows. Watching.
    • Ann in reply toslimyfox(Show commentHide comment)
      slimyfox, "USA gun culture has very strong support as gun is a mean of protecting oneself from being bullied. So violence in exchange for violence. That is vicious circle that envelops US society today and therefore it is reflected in every aspect of their life"

      You should not confuse the Constitutional rights of average American people to protect their families, with the renegade actions of our rogue government. Part of the reason we are armed, IS BECAUSE OF OUR OVERREACHING ROGUE GOVERNMENT. We have a right to protect ourselves from THAT bully as well. Believe me, WE do not like what they are doing IN OUR NAME ONLY. #IStandWithRussia.
    • Ann in reply to (Show commentHide comment)
      grant606, the only way that would be the ideal pretext for the US to get coalition forces against Assad, is if THEY WERE IN THE RIGHT. But the U.S. is NOT in the right. Despite how many world leaders have been blackmailed/bribed/scared into submission, they have to know right from wrong. I don't think the EU will fight Russia, China and whomever else, just to placate the U.S. In fact I think privately, EU country's leaders are wondering when one of them will be next on the list for a regime change. I think things might change if the US doesn't quit while it's ahead. JMO
    • Blackie in reply toAnn (Show commentHide comment)
      sixpack6t9, when they noticed that the Soviet Union had basically defeated Germany single-handed, they didn't want to grant them the spoils of victory, so they came up with the stories of an 'iron curtain going down over Eastern Europe'. Nothing would have been further from the Soviet Union's wishes, they wanted to trade in order to help socialism.
      Same situation today, after Russia made major inroads against IS, its planes get shot down, and now we are back to square 1 with the US and Nazeo Germany dashing in to back Daesh...
    • Blackie in reply toAnn (Show commentHide comment)
      Look at this America will have total incontenence just reading this..
    • avatar
      in reply toAnn (Show commentHide comment)
      sixpack6t9, The US has never been in the right. The EU's willingness to fight on behalf of the US is the big question. The EU has sacrificed much of its economy via US-backed sanctions; how much more will it yield? Perhaps the EU governments will back the US further, but I believe there will be a backlash from citizens and businessess.
    • avatar
      Syria has every right to protect it's air space, Obama, Jordan, France, UK and the Germans haven't done anything except exasperate to situation. For the last year Obama hasn't attack one terrorist operation of ANY consequence, they only thing the US air force has been bombing was Syrian government facilities in terrorist occupied Syria. A lot of the Syrian infrastructure has been destroyed thanks to Obama, I still have not figured out what Syria did to warrant this devastation brought on by the west. I do know those parasite pig fornicating ingrate Saudi's have a lot to do with it. of course at the end of the day they will pass the blame off onto the Jews. I totally agree with the writers here, if anything fly's through Syrian air space with out permission, shoot it down.
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