Russia Responds to Turkey With Missile Batteries and the Bombing of a Covert Turkish Arms Convoy

Russians increase bombing in the area surrounding yesterday's tragedy

Yesterday's tragic events along the Turkish/Syrian border continued to spiral toward who knows what in the last 24hrs. Russia, as expected, has made a number of moves, all of which could have very negative consequences, including for Canadian forces and civilian aid workers in the area.

Besides threatening Turkey with unspecified economic sanctions [Turkey's largest import in Russian gas], the Russians have flown in and set up a S-400 anti-aircraft missile battery at Hemeimeem air base in Syria's coastal province of Latakia, just 50 kilometres (30 miles) away from the border with Turkey. They are capable of striking targets within a 400-kilometre (250-mile) range with deadly precision. The Russian military also moved the navy missile cruiser Moskva closer to the shore to help protect Russian warplanes with its long-range Fort air defence system.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the systems "will be ready to destroy any aerial target posing a potential danger to our aircraft," He also announced the severance of all military ties with Turkey and said that from now on, Russian bombers will always be escorted by fighters on combat missions over Syria.

In addition the Russian Air Force, immediately after rescuing it's one living downed pilot, bombed the crap out of the [rebels-terrorists-civilians depending on ones perspective] in the area surrounding where the other parachuting pilot was killed in mid-air and the a Russian rescue helicopter was downed by a US supplied TOW missile.

In the last few days Russia has struck ISIS and the other confusing array of anti-Assad forces repeatedly. One being widely reported in Russia, Turkey and Syria was an attack by Russian fighter jets on a Turkish convoy, which according to reports from all 3 countries, was transporting weapons from Turkey to Al-Nusra Front in northwestern Syria. The Hawar news agency reported that Turkey repeatedly sent convoys with arms to the Al-Nusra Front and other terrorist organizations under the guise of humanitarian aid. The trucks are said to belong to the Istanbul-based Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) who have said "the convoy wasn’t sponsored or organized by the IHH."

How this affects Canadians is two fold.

First, and of less danger probably, is the deadly anti-aircraft missile batteries which could, if a mistake were made, shoot down Canada's F-18s. Mistakes happen in all wars. And we've seen the quality of intelligence directing the bombing missions in a conflict as confusing as this one is questionable at best. On countless occasions in Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya and this one the west has attacked innocent civilians or even their own allies when someone with a score to settle with a rival turned them in as terrorists to the west's 'intelligence' people. Accidents and mistakes happen, the presence of Russian missiles combined with their now hyper pissed off attitude, could spell disaster.

Second, and even more worrisome for Canadians, is the fact that Turkey has a huge Kurdish population that has fought for independence since the Ottoman Empire conquered Kurdistan, and still is. The Kurds are terrorists in Turkish eyes, Kurdistan used to be located in parts of what is now Turkey, Iraq and Syria. Itt was divided up after WW! by the French and British Empires when they re-drew all the borders to suit themselves not the regional ethnic realities or history.

Yesterday Ozgur Unluhisarcikli, director of the German Marshall Fund in Ankara, said "that along with economic moves, Russia may also increase its support to Syrian Kurdish groups, which have been fighting against IS but not against the Syrian regime. So far, Russia has refrained from doing so as not to anger Turkey, but now it could go ahead with plans to open an office in the Syrian Kurdish regions and supply arms to the fighters."

So the Peshmerga - the Kurd's Army -  the only ones willing to fight ISIS on the ground who are the sworn enemies of Turkey [which is probably why they aren't attacking Assad - who Turkey is doing everything to destroy it can] will soon be getting more Canadian trainers and Russian arms which will piss off the Turks who will...who knows what ... but it can't be good news or the Canadians who will increasingly be under the Turkish guns.

As everyone i've corresponded with agrees the situation [who's fighting who and why] is so confusing it makes one's head spin. The Mud Report will try to provide a dose of metaphorical Gravol in the coming days...