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I suspect someone in the Syrian Air Defense is about to be retired early and won't be needing any benefits. Darth Putin will need to be appeased.
According to the IDF spokesperson, the F-16s were already in Israeli airspace when the Il-20 was shot down, anyway, “Israel will share all the relevant information with the Russian Government to review the incident and to confirm the facts in this inquiry.”
4. The Syrian anti-air batteries fired indiscriminately and from what we understand, did not bother to ensure that no Russian planes were in the air.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDFSpokesperson) September 18, 2018
The idea that Israel used the IL-20 for cover is questionable at best. Just look at the chart above, the timing of such an operation without coordination with the Il-20's crew would have to of been uncanny. What likely happened is that Israel executed its standoff strike from a launch position over the Mediterranean and the Il-20 happened to stumble into the area.
daftandbarmy said:My takeaway from this was - 'if you think that our Aurora crews aren't in danger during their sojourns in the ME, you would be wrong.'
whiskey601 said:The Syrian forces currently are using the Vega (S200VE) variant of the missile, which can flash from cold to off the rails in 10-12 seconds if in working order. With all of its rather large radar fingerprint, the battery itself would have (or should have) had a good enough radar view in 2D.
Assume that the IL20 just popped up suddenly (it was out over the east conducting EOB flight for the previous 3 hours, its location before that was south/southwest), there would have been sufficient information available to the battery commander that this specific aircraft was not an Israeli formation at the time preceding the shoot down. As mentioned above, the IAF F16's had already left the scene by the time the S200 missiles were fired and we have to assume that the Syrian battery had sufficient information to make a decision about engaging aircraft that already left the battlespace. Why they engaged is another story, I guess.
There was an RAF Rivet Joint in the air crossing over northern Israel at the time this happened, they will have a fairly detailed ELINT synopsis of the event that most people in the world will never see. Every Coalition ship with a decent EW suite sailing in the eastern Med is grabbing signals as well. The Rivet Joint would have, at a minimum, recorded the Square Pair fire control radar and the S Band radar (Back Trap IIRC), whatever they are using these days for VHF (i forget) and probably an E band radar ++ all of the un-wired comms between between stations. Lots of EW intel will be available for analysis, not much of which will see the light of day.
The Assads Versus the Makhloufs
A Bitter Feud over Power and Money Erupts in Syria
For the last several months, a heated conflict has been escalating between the most powerful families in Syria. It has been trying Russia's patience and could decide who will ultimately wield control.
By Christoph Reuter
The hashish was packed in milk cartons, a total of four tons of the stuff, carefully packed in 19,000 individual Tetra Paks. Customs officials discovered the cargo in mid-April on a ship in the Egyptian port of Said. It had come from Syria, and it was presumably bound for Libya, another country torn apart by civil war.
It's not the first time that drugs produced in Syria have been discovered in one of the region's ports. Indeed, such cases are no longer out of the ordinary. In Dubai, investigators have confiscated several payloads of amphetamine pills, most recently in January. And in Saudi Arabia, customs officials in late April found 45 million Captagon pills, likely produced by laboratories in Syria. Most of the tablets were hidden in packages intended for mate tea from a company with connections to the family of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.
The ships all put to sea from Latakia, the Syrian city on the Mediterranean whose port Iran leased last fall. The drug discoveries show just how desperate Assad's regime and his allies in Tehran have grown when it comes to finding new revenue streams. The country, after all, is essentially broke. According to the United Nations, 80 percent of Syrians are living in poverty, and it is estimated that gross domestic product has fallen to just a quarter of its prewar level. The currency continues to collapse and prices are rising, while wages have remained largely stagnant. Iran is unable to help and Russia is no longer willing.
A Family Feud
The drug trade is one of the few remaining routes to obtaining hard currency. Already in 2013, Hezbollah - Iran's proxy in Lebanon – conquered the Syrian city of Qusayr and its surroundings and declared the region a restricted zone. The militia established dozens of small production sites for amphetamines known as Captagon. At the same time, the group forced farmers to cultivate cannabis. According to several sources, Maher Assad, Bashar's younger brother and commander of the 4th Division of the Syrian army, took on the task of protecting Qusayr and the transportation routes to the port of Latakia on the Mediterranean. Maher Assad's division is one of just two halfway battle-ready units left in the badly deteriorated Syrian army. And it belongs to that faction of the Syrian army that is largely controlled by Iran.