The chances of escalation from a proxy war to outright war just went to 11 on the Spinal Tap amplifier of sabre-rattling. A day after British and NATO pilots were reportedly given the green light to take drastic action against Russian fighter jets if they come under threat during missions over Iraq, Interfax reports that the Russian Defense Ministry has demanded clarification. Senior defence sources say it is just a matter of time before our fighters are involved in a deadly confrontation with Russian jets.
The Chinese, it appears, are wholeheartedly behind Putin's efforts, judging by the following puff-piece from Xinhua (unofficially China's government mouthpiece)...
Russia's recent military intervention in the Syrian war in the form of airstrikes and missile attacks aimed both at supporting the government of President Bashar Al-Assad in combatting the Islamic State (IS) has reaped initial gains.
Russia's bombing campaign in Syria, which began on Sept. 30, has strengthened the Syrian government, laying the foundation for a dialogue with all countries concerned to come up with solutions that could drag Syria out of the internal conflict that has lasted for more than four years.
According to Russia Today, Russia started its bombing campaign in Syria with a goal to provide air support to the government troops in fighting various terrorist groups, primarily the IS.
Russian air strikes hit 55 Islamic State group targets in Syria in the past 24 hours, the defense ministry said Saturday, as Moscow ramped up its military campaign in the war-torn country.
Russia's air force has attacked a total of 112 targets since the start of the military actions.
On Thursday, Syrian government troops launched large-scale ground offensives under the cover of Russia's repeated air strikes. At the same time, Russia launched 26 cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea and destroyed 11 IS targets.
Syrian political analyst Osama Dannura said Russia's involvement in the Syrian conflict has upset the initial planning of Western powers that have their minds bent on toppling the Assad government.
The West's strategic shortcomings were demonstrated by the disastrous 500 million-U.S.-dollar program to train and arm moderate rebels, which generated only a handful of fighters, many of whom surrendered or were captured almost immediately. The scheme was finally scrapped on Friday.
The reason why the U.S.-coalition has failed to deal a blow to the IS, according to Syrian political analyst Maher Ihsan, is a lack of offensives by ground troops. Besides, while attacking the IS, the United States is also offering the opposition rebels assistance including weapons, most of which end up into the hands of IS fighters.
In an interview with Iranian television broadcast on Sunday, al-Assad said a campaign of Western and Arab airstrikes against IS targets in Iraq and Syria has been counterproductive and terrorism has spread in terms of both territory and new recruits.
Around 40 percent of the IS infrastructure in Syria has been destroyed in just one week, Syria's Ambassador to Russia Riad Haddad said on Wednesday.
British and Nato pilots have been told to take the drastic action if they are fired on by Vladimir Putin's air force during missions over Iraq.
The move comes after British ministers warned Russia had made the situation in the Middle East "much more dangerous".
Senior defence sources say it is just a matter of time before our fighters are involved in a deadly confrontation with Russian jets.
One source said: "We need to protect our pilots but at the same time we're taking a step closer to war. It will only take one plane to be shot down in an air-to-air battle and the whole landscape will change. "
RAF pilots have been told to avoid contact with Russian jets at all costs and both US and British mission control teams will do their best to keep them apart.
But the pilots have been warned they must be prepared to fire on Russian jets if their lives depend on it.
One source said: "No one knows what the Russians will do next. We do not know how they will respond if they come into contact with a Western jet.
"When planes are flying at supersonic speeds the airspace gets crowded very quickly. There could be a collision or a Russian pilot might be mistakenly shot down. "
Russia has asked the British defense attache in Moscow to clarify media reports that British pilots had been given permission to attack Russian jets if they are fired on whilst flying sorties over Iraq, Interfax news agency reported on Sunday.
The British attache said he would submit an official response in the near future, RIA news agency reported.
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One wonders just how far US, NATO "leadership" are willing to go to 'expose' Putin's evil intent? Especially in light of China's official mouthpiece (Xinhua News) reporting the following...
"The Russians have shown a naval capacity that was not expected," said Thomas Gomart, head of the French Institute for Foreign Relations, adding that Russia is "challenging the West's aerial supremacy."
Moscow offered on Tuesday to resume talks with Washington to avoid any misunderstanding concerning its airstrike operation, as well as to discuss ways to avoid conflicts between the United States and Russian warplanes over Syria.
Washington also said on Saturday that it would resume talks with Moscow to avoid accidents in the skies over the war-torn country.