Earlier Flying Activity: 16 March 2017

The day opened with Russians launching two of their Su-24s from Hmemmem AB at 08.35hrs local time in the morning. More of the same and other types followed at 08.36, 08.46, 08.48, 08.50 (x2), 08.56, 08.58, 08.59, and then another wave at 09.44, 09.50, 09.26, 10.32, 10.33, 10.35, 10.49, 11.18, 11.23, 11.37, 11.47 (x2), 11.58 (x3), 12.02 (x2), and 12.03. Most of these didn’t bomb Daesh in eastern Aleppo — but the FSyA in northern Hama.

Meanwhile, Assadists continued flying Su-24s only, and take-offs from Tiyas were recorded at 09.45, 09.53, 10.09, 10.15, 14.17, 15.03, 15.43 and 15.45hrs. What did these attack remains unknown, but all went in northern — not in north-eastern direction (to bomb Daesh), as might be expected.

The next Russian wave commenced with a take-off at 13.49, followed by further at 14.31 (x3), 14.40, 14.47, 15.06, 15.09, 15.11, 15.12, 15.14, 15.16, 15.17, 15.19, 15.22, 15.26 (x2), 15.27, 15.33, and 15.43. While some of these bombed the Jishr ash-Shughour area, two or three even found some Daesh near Dayr Hafer to bomb.

Bombers were followed by several UAVS — for post-strike recce — and then additional VKS air strikes were launched at 16.17, 16.25, 16.27, 16.30. 16.31 (x2), 16.32, 16.35, 16.44, 16.45, 16.46, 16.51, and 16.53.

A solo Assadist Su-24 from Shayrat AB launched at 18.50, and another at 19.01. More Russian air strikes followed at 19.04, 19.25, 19.31, 19.35, and 19.37 — all of them against Kfar Zita area. The nearby Latameah was bombed by a single Assadist L-39 at 19.35hrs (already after the sunset), and then by a Su-24 from Tiyas at 19.39. Another L-39 launched from Hama at 20.54, but flew in northern direction. No idea what did it attack, just like it remains unknown what was attacked by helicopters that took off from Hama at 21.30, 21.42, 21.46, 21.50, and 22.04. Obviously, there was some sort of a ‘special operation’ against the FSyA and AAS between Kfar Zita and Khan Sheykhoun, then additional L-39 sorties — all from Hama — were recorded also at 22.04, 22.12, 22.12, 22.28, and 22.29. That was the highest number of L-39s airborne ‘at once’ in something like 4 months.

Meanwhile, evening was again characterised by Russian air strikes launched at 19.41, 19.46, 19.47, 20.00, 20.01, 20.03, 20.04 (x2), 20.34, 21.01, 21.03, 21.05, 23.23, 23.27, 23.36, and 23.39.

Overall, a very intensive day. As we were to see later on, air strikes against northern Hama were an attempt to pre-empt the FSyA and HTS offensive launched on 21 March.

Totals: 
VKS: 56 sorties

SyAAF: 
helicopters: 5
L-39s: 7
Su-24s: 11