Air Strikes by VKS & SyAAF, 19 April 2017

12 Russian and 1 L-39 strike (the latter from Kweres) were flown in period 00.00–03.25hrs. Several of these targeted Anadan with RBK-500 CBUs, filled with termite..

Two Su-22s from Shayrat, one from Dmeyr and 10 Russians bombed the Sarqib area, 2 Su-22s and 1 Su-24 from Tiyas bombed Talbiseh and Latamina in period 08.00–10.00hrs. Rest of morning was characterised by continuous operations from Kweres and Tiyas, and by more Russian take-offs from Hmemmem, but nothing of particular intensiveness. Interestingly, it seems that even Russians bombed Ra’astan around the noon. Most of air strikes hit the Sarkib area, but Taftanaz and Muqa, and the Jishr ash-Shughour area were bombed too.

Starting at 12.30, the VKS flew a major wave of air strikes on the Lataminah and Souran areas, as the IRGC pushed the HTS out of the latter place (and captured an intact T-72). The SyAAF took part in this operation too, though only with few sorties (MiG-21 and MiG-23 from Hama, plus a Su-22 each from Tiyas and Kweres). Latamina was heavily bombed by the Russians for most of the afternoon: these are now ‘staging’ their fighter-bombers at one station over Ma’arat an-Nauman, and another over Kfar Zita, before their FACs (forward air controllers) guide them on targets in northern Hama. This is a very important development then it is likely to result in more precise air strikes than usually.

Eastern Ghouta (and residential areas of Douma in particular) was hit by several SyAAF air strikes during the day:

…Qaboun (hit by a SyAAF Su-22):

…and a solo SyAAF Mi-25 bombed Dera’a.

Sadly, with withdrawal of last insurgent groups from Zabadani (they torched their ammo depot before the last of them have left), Eastern Ghouta now must expect more fierce assaults by Hezbollah and the IRGC than ever before.

Two ‘reconnaissance’ aircraft were reported over the Sarqib area around 18.44; so, it seems the VKS might have deployed its An-30B to Syria again — in addition to the Il-20M, which remained airborne over Idlib Governorate from morning till evening on this day.

The most intensive wave of VKS air strikes of this day (about 20 sorties in total) hit the Kfar Zita salient around 20.00hrs. Later during the evening the Russians also bombed Urum al-Kubra, a town west of Aleppo — and the site of notorious SyAAF strike on the UN/SARC convoy, last September. At least 5 civilians were killed there.

Totals

VKS

fighter-bombers: 114

helicopters: 11

UAVs: 12

recce: 4 (don’t ‘kill the messenger’: ground observers actually reported 8 sightings, of which the last four included a pair of big, twin- or four-engined aircraft flying de-facto in formation)

SyAAF

helicopters: 9 (most of these during the evening, at least 1 against Dera’a)

L-39s: 9

MiG-21s: 2

MiG-23s: 3

Su-22s: 16

Su-24s: 7