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Syrian Army Prepares to Launch Major Eastward Offensive — With Russia Closely Guarding the Skies

Russia will keep the skies safe as the Syrian Army pushes east towards Deir-Ezzor

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

In its final weeks, and around the time the Syrian Army was completing its operation to liberate Aleppo, the Obama administration thought it would be wise to end its term by threatening the Syrian Armed Forces with military strikes against Syrian air bases—a provocation which Russia met by deploying four S-300 batteries in Syria, in addition to its already deployed S-400 battery at its own air base in Latakia. 

However, in response to the alleged "Sarin" attack in Khan-Sheikhoun, the US conducted a Tomahawk strike against Syria's Al-Shaa'yrat Air Force Base in Homs. 

<figcaption>Russia is expected to deploy another S-400 to Syria</figcaption>
Russia is expected to deploy another S-400 to Syria

Although nearly 60% of the US missiles failed to reach their targets, Russia decided to beef up its air defense and detection systems in Syria. 

The Russian Air Force deployed its most advanced AEW&C aircraft, the A-50U, which can detect airborne targets with a range up to 800 km and ground target up to 400 km. 

Furthermore, after the "de-escalation zones" agreement, the SAA, aided by Russia, will shift its efforts towards the east to liberate the Syrian desert and finally break ISIS' 3-year siege of the city of Deir-Ezzor.

But the massive airspace over the areas where the SAA will be operating will need protection from the ground; according to the latest reports, Russia intends to to strengthen its air defense with yet another S-400 battery in Syria, which might cover the Syrian desert during and after the upcoming SAA operation, code named "Operation Lavender" .

The Russian-Syrian long range air defense systems which are/will be deployed in Syria now include: two S-400 batteries, three S-300 batteries and four Syrian S-200 batteries.

That's some serious air coverage for a small country like Syria. 

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