Russia continues preparations for its military deployment in Syria [1]. Teams of Syrian workers are busy day and night expanding Lattaquié airport and building a new runway and hangars for Russian planes. In answer to journalists on the margins of the Vladivostok Forum, President Putin confirmed his intentions, while making it clear that it was still too early to talk about deployment [2].

All signs suggest that Russia shoul·d announce its entry into the war against Daesh – at the request of Syria – before the end of September. It is unlikely that the Russian Air Force will be co-ordinated with the Coalition Air Forces, which are led by the United States. The roles will therefore be divided. Moscow will bomb all the jihadists in Syria, but without intervening in the conflict between the government and its native opposition, while Washington and its allies will concentrate on the Islamic Emirate (« Daesh ») in Iraq.

For the last year, the anti-Daesh Coalition has limited itself to preventing the jihadists from gaining ground, but has made no attempt to destroy them. On the contrary, a great number of witness accounts speak of frequent arms drops to the jihadists. However, the Coalition seems to have changed its strategy in July. It bombed Daesh and helped the Syrian Arab Army to defend Hassaké, killing approximately 3,000 jihadists.

Russian deployment against Daesh in Syria would put an end to France’s plan to overthrow the Syrian Arab Republic.

President François Hollande, who declared, on the 25th August, his intention of « neutralising » his Syrian opposite number [3], is thus seeking to oppose Russian deployment. We have to understand the term « neutralise » in the military sense, in other words, taking the adversary out of the game, if necessary, by killing him.

This is why France, on the 7th September, should announce its intention of bombing Daesh in Syria, without the agreement of the Syrian Arab Republic. French airplanes will be therefore br flying to the rescue of the al-Nusra Front (al-Qaïda), which will hinder the Russian military deployment.

However, within the French military, we hear that France has already briefly participated in Coalition actions in Syria, even though this participation remained secret [4]. When President Hollande ordered France’s withdrawal, Washington reacted by ceasing all sharing of intelligence. Consequently, France, which shut down all of its installations in Syria at the beginning of the « Arab Spring », now has no information on what is happening, and is talking about a subject of which it is entirely ignorant. The French military staff note that they would need weeks of observation before understanding the situation on the ground in order to plan efficient bombing raids ; a delay which could destroy the ambitions of François Hollande.

Pete Kimberley

[1The Russian army is beginning to engage in Syria”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 24 August 2015.

[2Vladimir Putin answered Russian journalists’ questions”, by Vladimir Putin, Voltaire Network, 4 September 2015.

[3Speech by François Hollande at the opening of Ambassadors’ Week”, by François Hollande, Voltaire Network, 25 August 2015.

[4The United Kingdom and France are bombing Daesh in Syria”, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 5 August 2015.