Aleksandr Kots: No One In Syria Criticises Russia For The Fact That It Didn’t Unleash “WW3”

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


On a concrete platform in front of two hangars a few Syrian fighters chase a ball. The ball is thrown thirty meters, a guy in shorts and t-shirt, spectacularly hopping around, hits the ball into an impromptu goal made from boxes of aerial bombs. Emotions are stronger than during any World Cup. And looking at the embracing “players” at the Doumeira airbase near Damascus, it is hard to believe that just a few hours ago they with the same accuracy deflected a massive missile attack from the most menacing representatives of the North Atlantic Alliance.

I landed in Syria just five hours before the strikes started. Our plane landed at the Russian Hmeymim air base in compliance with all precautions. The onboard lights were turned off, the blinds were closed… Someone switched on a mobile phone, immediately illuminating the emergency exit. He was told off for breaking the blackout, and we landed in pitch darkness and total silence.

From the air the shining lights of Latakia didn’t look like a city that was frozen in anxious anticipation of trouble. Friday night was full of nightlife.

The sky over the airfield was pierced by spotlights. Planes took off in the sky, patrolling the airspace of Syria. It was the third day of waiting for missile strikes…

“Of course, all this time we were on duty and were ready to respond at any moment,” said the commander of the ‘Buk’ unit at Doumeira airfield Major Mohammed to me. “I didn’t even look at their statements – who cares what Trump writes on Twitter. We have our own instructions.”

On the way from Latakia to this airbase we passed by other attacked airfields. In the Homs province there are two objects that Washington, for reasons only know to them, associated with the “chemical” attack in Douma. The T4 base was recently attacked by Israeli aircraft. This looked like the probing of the air defenses. The Shayrat airfield was attacked a year ago by 59 Tomahawks, back then a little over 20 reached it. And at the same time the infrastructure of the airfield didn’t suffer irreparable damage. At this time I was at Shayrat: destroyed hangars, some burned planes, ammunition warehouses were scattered around the base. But in my presence the untouched MiGs took to the skies using the intact runway markings.

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Apparently, the Syrians took into account the lessons of the past. This time, none of the missiles reached these airfields. Nor did they reach Doumeira.

“I have a well trained crew,” said the smiling Major Mohammed. Behind him are two “Buk” operators, and behind them is the equipment itself with missiles. “The farthest missile [of the US-France-UK – ed] was detected 26 kilometers from the airport, the nearest one – 12 kilometers. In total there were 12 missiles, and they travelled lower than 5 kilometers, creating false targets. But the crew managed to distinguish the true targets, I as the commander waited for the moment when it was possible to give the command to open fire. And then the launcher and missiles do everything themselves. Russian equipment is powerful and trouble-free!

Our escort, a graduate of the Kostroma military school, offers a ride through the base to personally verify its functionality. Intact hangars and jets, and no potholes on the runway, which we drove on from start to finish… A strange attempt to punish Assad for terrible atrocities, it doesn’t look like a fully-fledged punishment for the “deaths” of 70 women and children. Trump managed to save face in front of his hawks, Assad shot down using old Soviet systems 70% of the missiles of the most high-tech States, and, of course, Russia kept cool at the very moment when madness was expected from it.

Unlike homegrown SOS-patriots, in Syria today nobody criticises Russia for not unleashing “WW3” because of a missile strike, as a result of which no one died. In a country where war has been ongoing for 7 years, the consequences of sudden movements are too well understood. And thanks to Russia, hope for a normal peaceful life appeared for them. And we obligatorily strengthen their anti-air systems.

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