Air Strikes by SyAAF and VKS, 10 April 2017

With Assadist-, IRGC- and Russian forces facing multiple insurgent offensives on different fronts of the Syrian ‘Civil’ War, the VKS continued bombing deep into the night. Fifteen take-offs from Hmememm AB were recorded between 00.00 and 03.01hrs (plus one by a SyAAF L-39 from Hama). These primarily bombed the Jishr ash-Shughour and the Kfar Zita area.

Flying resumed at 07.42, and by 09.30, eight additional take-offs were recorded. By this time, the Russians bombed Jishr ash-Shughour, Hreitan, Darat Azza, and Khan Sheyhkoun — but some of their air strikes went all the way down to Dera’a, in southern Syria.

At 09.24 Assadists took over, launching a single Su-22 from Shayrat (4th take-off since the TLAM-strike), three Su-22 from Dmeyr and Tiyas, two MiG-23s and six helicopters from Hama. Most of these supported the IRGC’s assault on Mardes (their second attempt to capture this village, which — despite heavy losses — at least initially managed to dislodge the Jaysh an-Nasr, during the afternoon afternoon), but two of Su-22s bombed the Sarqib area. Two other Su-22s launched from Dmeyr and Tiyas around 10.55: they appear to have bombed Ein Tarma in southern Eastern Ghouta, ten minutes later.

Meanwhile, around 10.30, the Russians launched a wave of six fighter-bombers: these targeted the Jishr ash-Shughour area.

At 11.51, one more Su-22 launched from Shayrat, followed by another at 12.10 (5th and 6th take-off since the TLAM-strike), and one from Dmeyr at the same time. At least one of these has bombed targets in the Ra’astan-Talbiseh Pocket, around 12.20hrs, the third bombed Dera’a:

Around 12.49, a single Su-22 launched from Tiyas AB: this bombed the Sarqib area. At 13.09, another Su-22 launched from Shayrat (7th take-off in total).

At 12.00hrs, the VKS started an uninterrupted bombardment of all towns and bigger villages between Atarib and Darat Azza (where a sheppherd, a child, and a number of sheep were killed by Russian CBUs), and Hreitan in the north, Jishr ash-Shughour in the west, Idlib (city), Kfar Nabl and Khan Sheykhoun in south-west, Ma’arat an-Nauman and Sarqib in eastern Idlib, Kfar Zita and Latamina in the south. One of jets came low enough over the Haram area for the AAS to open fire, and even claim a kill, but it turned out that one came away.

The attacks on targets in western Aleppo served the purpose of supporting another of much-underreported IRGC’s assaults (yesterday’s was run by Liwa al-Qods) on local positions of the AAS, in an offensive going on — without any trace of success — since nearly two weeks. They have hit Zahra, Dhahret Abedrabbou and Rashiden.

In northern Hama, the Russians deployed CBUs on Latamina:

This wave lasted — without interruption — until around 15.50, by when 36 take-offs from Hemmem AB were registered. In addition to sorties by fighter-bombers, this wave included a large number of VKS helicopters operated from Sanobar helidrome (south of Lattakia, half-way between the city and Hmemmem AB). These attacked different targets in NE Lattakia and Jishr ash-Shughour too.

Around 15.50, a single Su-22 launched from Tiyas to bomb something in the Sarqib area, while at 16.08 one took off from Shayrat (8th take-off since TLAM-strike) to bomb something in the Ra’astan area. With this we have the clarity: the 3 surviving Su-22s were not evacuated from that air base. They remain operational: two have flown two sorties each, one three on this day.

The next Russian wave commenced launching around 16.30, and primarily targeted the area between Idlib (city) and Taftanaz, but also those of Jishr ash-Shughour and Sarqib. Some of aircraft also bombed Dera’a, like this Su-30SM:

Dera’a was hit by at least one Assadist Mi-25, too:

Idlib, during the afternoon:

Su-34 over Sarqib:

This wave included a total of 41 take-offs from Hmemmem, and another 5–6 from Sanobar, and ended only after 20.30hrs.

The final wave was supported by the Il-20M and several UAVs. It opened with the take-off of two Su-25s around 21.50hrs local time, and included 23 take-offs by 24.00hrs.

Totals

VKS

fighter-bombers: 129 (‘new record’)

helicopters: 29

UAVs: 9

recce: 2 (apparently both flown by the same Il-20M; this war airborne over Ma’arat an-Nauman area for hours during the evening)

SyAAF

helicopters: 24

L-39s: 22

MiG-21: 1

Su-22: 13 (8 from Shayrat)

Su-24: 0

The VKS established a new record in intensity of air strikes since the start of the Russian military intervention in Syria. Notable is not only the high number of sorties flown by the VKS’ fighter-bombers, but especially by helicopters from Sanobar: these were extremely active against the AAS in NE Lattakia today.

L-39s from Hama and Kweres flew most of sorties on a single day in this month.

Assadists tried their best to get each of three Su-22s at Shayrat that survived the TLAM-strike airborne three times. This comes as a surprise, especially in the light of destruction of the local fuel depots: it takes extra effort to haul all the tonnes of kerosene from to this place — just to keep the image of an ‘operational air base’. That said, it is possible they made a 4th Su-22 there operational too (still checking).

Included in SyAAF’s figures are two sorties by L-39s launched from Kweres and four by helicopters launched from as-Safira. These were flown against the Daesh in eastern Aleppo Governorate. Pro-regime sources instantly declared them for something like ‘decisive’ for some kind of success there. These, however, were the first air strikes mounted by Assadists against the Daesh since weeks.

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Earlier summaries: