Air Strikes by VKS & SyAAF, 28 April 2017

Another day that started in a rather unusual fashion: a SyAAF Su-24 that launched from as-Sien AB around 00.02 — apparently to strike a target in the Talbiseh area, within the Ra’astan-Talbiseh Pocket, north of Homs. The VKS then took over and launched a wave of 34 strikes by 01.39. These staged over Jishr ash-Shughour and Ma’arat an-Nauman before attacking different targets.

Sporadic air strikes were continued until 06.30: the Russians then commenced launching a wave of 34 aircraft that lasted until around 11.00hrs. This started rather slowly, but picked up some speed and was particularly intensive in period 09.30–11.00hrs. In between, the SyAAF operated very little: after a helicopter and a MiG-23 from Hama bombed Latamina, around 08.00, it flew very few sorties for the rest of the morning. For example: a Su-24 from Tiyas at 10.00, a MiG-21 from Hama at 10.32, another helo from Hama at 11.34, another Su-24 from Tiyas at 11.58, and a Su-24 from as-Sien at 12.00hrs. Curiously, by that point in time, Su-22s didn’t fly even one air strike.

Actually, the most remarkable ‘operation’ of the day was the vivid activity of UAVs over the Jishr ash-Shughour and Khan Sheykhoun areas, and the sole Russian Il-20M ELINT/SIGINT gatherer, that orbited Sarqib for hours (at least from 08.00 until 10.30hrs.

Around 13.30, three VKS Su-24s bombed Latamina. It is possible that this video is showing the results of their strikes:

…which, between others, heavily damaged the Abu Ubayda Mosque (so much about Keystone Cops claiming the VKS is never targeting mosques).

The Russians then didn’t fly for nearly an hour and a half. Similarly, the SyAAF only launched one helicopter and a L-39 at 14.30hrs.

It was thus only at 15.00 that the VKS commenced launching its next bigger wave. Consisting of 22 aircraft that got airborne by 16.30, this hit very different targets around Idlib and western Aleppo, but foremost Khan Sheykhoun and Khan Touman. Gauging by the air strike that completely demolished the underground hospital in Shamna, near Marizia, in southern Idlib, guess we can expect the Keystone Cops in Moscow (Russian MOD) to proudly release a video about ‘destruction of terrorist headquarters’:

8 White Helmets were killed there (of course, Assadists and Russians consider the Syrian Civilian Defence for ‘al-Qaida’).

BTW, how truth are Keystone Cops’ statements they’re ‘not using’ cluster bombs in Syria, can be seen on this video, where one of these went off near the same SCD station — just as this was visited by Hadi Abdallah:

Sometimes during the afternoon, a solo Su-22 from Dmeyr has bombed Qaboun:

Considering the ferocity of infighting between the JAI on one side, and the FAR and the HTS on the other in that area, and advances by the regime and Hezbollah in the last two days, this was ‘almost unnecessary’…

Almost returning to their usual tactics from the last winter, L-39s from Hama were foremost operational late during the afternoon, and then against Latamina area. One was captured on this video.

Evening operations went on in similar style: 11 Russian air strikes were launched in period 19.00–20.00; then another eleven between 20.00 and 21.30hrs, and 15 between 21.30hrs and the midnight.

Totals

VKS

fighter-bombers: 75

helicopters: 11

UAVs: 24

recce: 2 (both by the same Il-20M, one in the morning, another in the evening)

SyAAF

helicopters: 10

L-39s: 9 (two of these from Kweres, rest from Hama)

MiG-21s: 2 (both from Hama)

MiG-23s: 6 (all from Hama)

Su-22s: 2

Su-24s: 7 (two from as-Sien, rest from Tiyas)