Russian trips to Syria hit peak after Putin ordered partial pull-out

Discussion in 'Gog / Magog' started by Almost Heaven, Sep 28, 2018.

  1. Almost Heaven

    Almost Heaven Well-Known Member

    MOSCOW (Reuters) - The number of Russian civilians traveling to Syria, where Moscow is running a military operation in support of President Bashar al-Assad, reached record levels this year, according to official figures published by a Russian security service.

    The data does not include Russian servicemen or explain what the civilians are doing in Syria.

    But the figures shed some light on the scale of Russian activities in Syria because they appear to include civilian personnel working for the military and may also reflect the presence of private military contractors who, according to people familiar with the deployment, are fighting in Syria in support of regular Russian troops.

    The number of Russian civilian trips to Syria grew after President Vladimir Putin announced a partial withdrawal of troops last December, an increase apparently indicating an expansion of Moscow’s activities in the country.

    The numbers of departing Russian citizens are counted by destination countries and are published every quarter by the Federal Security Service (FSB), which supervises border guards, on a government statistical website.

    In the first half of this year the FSB registered more than 17,000 departures by Russians to Syria, more than in any six-month period since the Russian operation began in September 2015.

    There were nearly 22,000 departures in the whole of 2016 and more than 25,000 in 2017. The number of Russians traveling to Syria may be less because some may make several trips. The FSB has published no data on Russians returning from the country.

    Late last year, Putin flew to Syria to announce mission accomplished and to order the withdrawal of “a significant part” of Moscow’s military contingent. Russia does not disclose how many troops it has in Syria.

    In August, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said more than 63,000 Russian servicemen had earned combat experience in Syria since 2015, but troop rotation means the size of the deployment remains unclear.

    The number of civilian trips from Russia to Syria has risen more than 10 times since Russia started preparations for its Syria operation in mid-2015. Putin announced the Russian deployment on Sept. 30 of that year.

    Only about 1,800 Russians traveled to Syria in each of 2013 and 2014. The first half of 2015 was no different, but the number of departures grew five times just before the official start of the operation and doubled again after it began.

    The number of Russian tourists going to Syria has hardly changed in the last five years, numbering just dozens per year.

    The Kremlin, the Defence Ministry and the Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment.
  2. athenasius

    athenasius Well-Known Member

    I remember when a bunch of "civilians" from Russia got killed in a skirmish where the American troops held onto some Kurdish area, helping the Kurds out sometime last year. The only reason it didn't become a major incident leading to all out war was because these were "civilians" in name only, and therefore not Russian troops, and they were "helping" Assad's forces.

    I thought about this with this article.

    A lot of "civilian" specialists are moving into the area. Which probably translates to training Syrians and others like the Libyans and the other semi trained and unreliable Islamic hordes. And quite possibly acting as directors and handlers in any combat situation.

    Remember when those idiots on the Russian rebel side shot down a passenger plane on disputed Ukrainian soil? It was Russian voices heard discussing the plane in a tape that got released. I remember asking George to translate the clip. There were other recordings and then the courts in the Hague I think it was determined finally that it was a RUSSIAN missile that took out the airliner.

    What Russia tried to do was distance itself from the Russian speaking rebels shooting the plane down, and tried to blame the Ukrainians. A lot of disinformation or as Trump calls it fake news.

    The reality was that the Russian expert handlers lost control of the idiots who were shooting at anything they could. Much like what happened last week in Syria with the Syrian troops continuing to fire at anything in the sky long after the IDF parked their planes on the tarmac, and the Syrians downed a Russian reconnaissance plane killing a few Russian soldiers.

    What goes around tends to come around. Those who live by the sword, will die by it too.

    I'm thinking the "civilians" are there to assist, train and likely now after the Syrians shooting down a Russian plane, monitor the Syrians and other peasants a little more closely with an eye to protecting Russian assets.

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