Russia’s intervention in Syria in September 2015 caught the world by surprise. Since then Russian bombers, fighter jets, drones, warships and special forces troops have helped turn the tide of the brutal Syria civil war in favour Bashar al-Assad’s government in Damascus.
As the war enters its endgame, Tim Ripley’s new book, Operation Aleppo, looks at how the Russian intervention unfolded, and its implications in the Middle East and further afield.
Vladimir Putin at Khmeimim air base in Syria in December 2017.
Drawing on a wide array of sources – including satellite imagery of Russian forces in Syria, as well as live online monitoring of Russian, Syrian and Iranian aircraft and ship movements – Operation Aleppo gives an unprecedented insight into the most ambitious Russian military campaign since the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
Tim Ripley has reported on the Russian intervention in Syria for The Sunday Times, The Scotsman, Jane’s Defence Weekly and Jane’s Intelligence Review since its start in 2015. He has travelled extensively across the Middle East, reporting on conflicts in the region for more than 25 years.
• Operation Aleppo is available now. Find out more here
• Buy Operation Aleppo – Paperback | Kindle
Syria is perhaps the most “reported on” conflict in the modern era. There is just a “torrent” of news reports, video, still pictures, social media posts, Skype interviews coming out of the country.
Every Syrian soldier and fighter has a smart phone to film their exploits ‐ but there are few “independent international journalists” on the ground. The only other places that is comparable is Yemen. How do you make sense of all this information when every faction or international player puts its own spin on events?
• Read my Syrian Conflict Briefing – April 2017 (PDF)
The Syrian Air Force has been an independent service in the Syrian armed forces since its formation in 1948 but is distinct from the Air Defence Force, which controls Syria’s network of air defence radars and surface‐to‐air missile batteries.
• Briefing April 2017: Assad’s Air Force (PDF)
High-powered British sniper rifles made by a Portsmouth-based company, Accuracy International, are being used by marksmen loyal to the Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad, to attack opposition rebels.
Footage of the regime’s marksmen using the weapons, which each cost £4,500 and have a range of just under a mile, appeared last week on Russian television as President Vladimir Putin ordered a series of bombing and missile raids on groups seeking to overthrow Assad.
• Read my article on The Sunday Times web site (subscription required for full article)