The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is working to reactivate an air-defense base in northern Aleppo that was overrun by rebels in the early years of the war, Syrian sources revealed on June 5.
The air-defense base is located in the town of Taanah near the frontline with Turkish forces who occupy the town of al-Bab to the east. The base, which used to host a Soviet-made S-75 Dvina air-defense system, was captured by the rebels in 2012. The SAA recaptured the base and its surroundings in 2016 from ISIS.
According to local sources, several trucks carrying air-defense missiles arrived in the base in the last few days. The missiles came from the Defense Factories in southern Aleppo, where the SAA maintains and develops its equipment. The SAA also built fortifications around the air-defense base, which was almost abandoned until very recently.
Some sources claimed that a Soviet-made S-200 long-range air-defense system will be installed in the base. However, this seems unrealistic given the location of the base and the fact that not so many S-200 systems are still in service with the Syrian Arab Air Defense Forces.
The SAA is likely working to reactivate the S-75 Dvina air-defense system. The system is old, but it can engage targets flying on high-altitude from a range of 45 km.
A recent air-defense exercise in northern Aleppo revealed that the SAA had locally upgraded its S-75 Dvina systems. The fire control and communication systems were digitalized. A thermal tracking channel was also added to the Fan Song acquisition radar.
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Syria’s modernized S-75 Dvina systems can be lethal against Turkish combat drones, which fly at low speed and have no counter-measures. This is likely the reason why the SAA is working to modernize and reactivate these systems along the frontlines with Turkish forces.
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