Air Strikes by VKS (and, a lil’ bit, by SyAAF), 8 April 2017
The day began with a big wave of 20 VKS air strikes (plus one SyAAF L-39) launched between 00.00 and 02.00hrs. This primarily targeted the area between Jishr ash-Shughour in the west and Khan Sheykhoun, but also Latamina and Ma’arat an-Nauman.
The Darat Azza area was bombed by six Russian aircraft between 05.30 and 06.30, before Kfar Nabl was bombed by three, around 07.45.
The next wave was again run by the VKS only. It was initiated at 09.20 and continued util the noon, by when 19 aircraft were launched that bombed the area between Jishr ash-Shughour and Khan Sheykhoun again.
Meanwhile, Assadists began flying, but at a very low rate. Except for a helicopter and a MiG-23 that took off from Hama, one Su-22 launched from Shayrat AB around 10.45: this was the first take-off from this air base since the TLAM-attack and it foremost served the PR-purpose, so the Russian TV teams can continue spreading lies that the US strike didn’t cause any damage. Another Su-22 launched from Shayrat at 11.11hrs (it bombed the Kfar Zita area). Two Su-24s were launched from Tiyas AB during the morning too.
Three additional Su-24s launched from Tiyas between 12.00 and 14.00hrs, and the third Su-22 from Shayrat (at 13.50). Several of their air strikes have targeted Dera’a: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozl-z-ogzog
The next Russian wave commenced launched around 14.45. It included a total of 22 aircraft that got airborne by 16.10, and primarily targeted the Ma’arat an-Nauman and Khan Sheykhoun area.
The fourth VKS wave commenced launching at 18.00hr: it lasted for the next three hours and included 13 aircraft that primarily targeted the area between Khan Sheykhoun and Kfar Zita. The VKS made extensive use of CBU’s filled with termite in these attacks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRxIre11vNk
With this it could be said the Russian air strikes of yesterday seem to have ‘followed’ some kind of movement from the Turkish border, i.e. from Jishr ash-Shughour, towards the Kfar Zita area: they began bombing in NW in the morning, then continued moving their targets ever further SE. A very interesting development — and ‘tactics’ too.
The final Russian wave commenced launching at 22.00hrs but ended already at 22.41, and it saw extensive use of CBUs filled with termite again.
No further activity by SyAAF aircraft was registered through the entire afternoon and evening. With other words: the Russians can boast about ‘Shayrat is back in action‘ as much as they like, but fact is that there are barely any aircraft left there for Assadists to operate.
MiG-23: 1 (this was a MiG-23BN from Dmeyr)
Su-22: 3 (all three from Shayrat)
Obviously, with the loss of nearly all of the aircraft at Shayrat, and after a ‘maximum effort’ on its ‘day of defiance (to US strike)’, the SyAAF is out of condition to keep the pace of operations. It has no MiG-23s and Su-22s left with which it could continue flying 20–30 air strikes a day, like before 7 April 2017.
The VKS is also out of condition to fly 110–150 air strikes a day it flew the last week on average. Two weeks of immense efforts have their effects upon people and material.