News outlets are reporting that Syria has deployed an “advanced anti-missile system” in Syria, according to US Officials. Specifically, what the Russians are moving into Syria is the SA-23 Gladiator anti-missile and anti-aircraft system, which is designed to have a range of roughly 150 miles. According to US intelligence sources, this is the first time that Russia has deployed this system outside of their own borders. Clearly this is not an attempt to fight ISIS, they have neither aircraft or cruise missiles of the type that this type of sophisticated weapons system is designed to protect against.
ACTS OF RUSSIAN POSTURING
What we see here appears to be a relatively clear act of Russian posturing in Syria. This gear is clearly aimed at “boxing out” US and allied weaponry and aircraft in Syria. This is certainly not the first occurrence of Russian behavior that should be concerning to Americans. Back in April, numerous reports surfaced of Russian aircraft “buzzing” US naval vessels as well as aircraft to raise concern, as well as response from US command staff. This type of behavior serves two purposes; firstly these flights serve to test the amount of time that it takes US forces to scramble in response, and secondly it is used to lull US Forces into a false sense of security (“they do this all the time, they’re just bluffing”).
A COMBINATION OF THREATS
As of this writing, the Russian SA-23 Gladiators are not yet operational in Syria, but this type of behavior could very well be indicative of Russian plans to enter into a 2nd Cold War with US forces via a proxy war in Syria. Or worse.