Saturday, October 17, 2015

Russian Airstrikes in Syria: September 30 - October 16, 2015

By Genevieve Casagrande, Kaitlynn Menoche, and Jodi Brignola

Key takeaway: The Syrian regime conducted multiple small-scale ground offensives with Russian air support across six Syrian provinces over the past 10 days, demonstrating a shift in regime campaign design that likely reflects both Russian and Iranian influence in operational planning. Regime probing attacks against rebel forces in northern Latakia, the al-Ghab Plain, northern Hama, southern Idlib, Homs, and Aleppo may serve to fix rebel forces along multiple fronts and obfuscate a major impending operation by pro-regime forces in Aleppo. Russian airstrikes continued to focus largely upon the same rebel-held areas, demonstrating Russian intent to bolster the Syrian regime in its fight against the opposition rather than to combat ISIS. 

The following graphic depicts ISW’s assessment of Russian airstrike locations based on reports from local Syrian activist networks, Syrian state-run media, and statements by Russian and Western officials.

High-Confidence reporting. ISW places high confidence in reports corroborated both by official government statements reported through credible channels and documentation from rebel factions or activist networks on the ground in Syria deemed to be credible.

Low-Confidence reporting. ISW places low confidence in secondary sources that have not been confirmed or sources deemed likely to contain disinformation.