The Russian military has deployed an additional Pantsir-S1 short-range air-defense system at al-Qamishli Airport in Syria’s northeastern region.
On June 2, Russian sources shared photos showing the newly-deployed system at the airport, which recently became the main base of the Russian military in the northeastern Syria. The source said that the system was deployed to cover Su-34 fighter bombers and Ka-52 attack helicopters which were deployed in the airport less than a week earlier.
The Pantsir-S1 was designed to provide point air defense of military, industrial and administrative installations against aircraft, helicopters, precision munitions, cruise missiles and drones.
The deployment of an additional Russian air-defense system at al-Qamishli Airport is likely meant as a message to Turkey, whose military and proxies are preparing to launch a new operation against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northern and northeastern Syria.
In very a recent speech, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed that his country is determined to launch a new operation against the SDF.
Moscow has been working nonstop to convince Ankara to abandon its plans for a new military operation in Syria in order to spare the country a new humanitarian catastrophe. Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned from the consequences of a new Turkish operation in Syria in a statement on June 2.
“We hope that Ankara will refrain from actions that could lead to a dangerous deterioration of the already difficult situation in Syria,” Zakharova said in the statement. “Such a move, in the absence of the agreement of the legitimate government of the Syrian Arab Republic, would be a direct violation of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity [and would] cause a further escalation of tensions in Syria”.
The risk of a military confrontation with Russia and Syrian forces may not be enough to persuade Turkey to abandon its military plans.
Ankara is apparently trying to take advantage of the conflict in Ukraine that is keeping Russia busy and the US in need of all of its NATO allies. While Washington appears to be willing to tolerate a new Turkish attack on its proxy, the SDF, Russia seems determined to prevent a new escalation in Syria.