Putin in Syria: Russia Shifting Attention To Southern Front

October 29, 2015
A Russian Sukhoi Su-34 bomber above al-Harra today. Screenshot from YouTube video

LIVE UPDATES: Russian jets have struck targets in the southern Daraa province for the second time this week, with reports of coordination with the Lebanese military and Hezbollah ahead of a Syrian regime offensive in the area.

The previous post in our Putin in Syria column can be found here.

Rocket And Air Strikes On Sukayk, Hama, After Rebels Retake Village

Russian jet fighters have struck the village of Sukayk, north-east of Hama, after rebel fighters recaptured the village last night. 

Videos from the SMART News Agency show Sham Corps fighters moving on the village, followed by air strikes by Russian Su-34 and Su-25 jets and regime rocket artillery strikes: 


Sukayk was captured by regime forces, supported by Russian air strikes, on October 12.

— Pierre Vaux

Russian Jets Strike Residential Areas Near Aleppo And Damascus

Russian jet fighters are reported to have struck residential areas near Damascus and Aleppo.

Video from Hayyan, a town around 15 kilometres north-west of Aleppo, shows three air strikes on the town, with residential buildings clearly struck. 

The Syrian Local Coordination Committees (LCC) report that jets have also bombed the Firdous, Salhin and Deir Hafir neighbourhoods of Aleppo, as well as the town of Tiba Emam, causing casualties. 

The Aleppo-based Syria Institute published photos today of submunitions from a cluster bomb reportedly dropped on the al-Myassar neighbourhood of the city last night.




The submunitions appear to be Russian AO-2.5RT anti-personnel weapons, which can be dispensed from aerial cluster bombs.


The Institute for the Study of War today reported that the Russian Air Force has stepped up air attacks against rebel-held areas in Aleppo because the joint regime and Iranian offensive that was launched earlier this month has largely stalled.

According to the LCC 14 civilians were killed and 20 wounded after Russian aircraft conducted seven air strikes today on Douma, a city around 10 kilometres north-east of Damascus.

Videos of smoke rising from one of the strikes and the extensive damage wrought in the neighbourhood have been posted on YouTube: 

There are also reports that the aircraft were Syrian Air Force:
— Pierre Vaux
Russia Shifting Attention To Southern Front

As we reported on Tuesday, Russian jets have begun striking rebel-held areas of southern Syria, near the Golan Heights.

Today, further evidence that this new front is becoming a priority for the Russian operation comes as NOW Lebanon reports, citing Alaraby Aljadeed, that Russia has requested intelligence on forces around the Syrian-Lebanese border from Beirut.

Russian diplomatic sources in Beirut told Alaraby Aladeed that the Russian military had requested the coordinates of Lebanese Armed Forces and Hezbollah units on the Lebanese side of the border, in addition to data on armed groups on the Syrian side.

NOW Lebanon reports:

Russian diplomatic sources in Beirut told Alaraby Aljadeed that Russia requested military information from Syria’s neighboring states “within the framework of countering terrorism and the need for cooperation between various states in that field.”

However, the sources stressed that the request had not passed through the Russian Embassy in Beirut “but through the open military channels between the two countries.”

Lebanese political sources confirmed to the London-based daily that Lebanon had received similar requests after international coalition strike began against ISIS.

“Normally, [such] requests pass through the competent security apparatuses without the need to refer to the… government,” the source explained.

Videos from the pro-opposition Qasioun News Network shows a Russian air strikes on the town of al-Harra and Tell Mutawwaq in the Daraa province today.

This is a Russian Sukhoi Su-34 bomber, purportedly filmed flying over al-Harra:

Air strike on al-Harra:

Air strike on Tell Mutawwaq:

The Syrian Local Coordination Committees (LCC) report that civilians were wounded as a result of the strike on al-Harra.


NOW Lebanon reports that the pro-Hezbollah Lebanese daily al-Akhbar today quoted a Syrian regime source as saying that the Syrian army is expected “in the very near future to [activate] a number of fronts in the south.”

— Pierre Vaux