The recent downing of a Turkish RF-4E (provided it was really gunned down or shot down with a SAM and it did not crash because of a technical failure) is just the most evident sign of the Syrian military capabilities.
Indeed, even if they were not used much since the beginning of the uprising last year, most probably to prevent the enforcement of a No Fly Zone (as well as defections by experienced pilots), aircraft of all types belonging to the Syrian Arab Air Force put in place an authentic show of force during recent drills that included live firing activity.
Footages of the Syrian planes at work are quite rare, as the secrecy maintained by the Syrian regime in regard to its military is very high.
That’s why the following video showing Mig-21s, Mig-23s and also, Mig-29s and Su-24s firing rockets and dropping bombs in the desert, along with Mi-25s, Mi-17s and Gazelle operating at low altitude and firing at mock targets is particularly interesting.
Although the footage does not help to judge the actual strength of the Syrian Air Force, it shows that Assad’s armed forces are still alive and kicking, and most probably capable to pose a threat to the surrounding nations.
- [Updated] Syrian Air Force Mig-21 fighter jet defects to Jordan (theaviationist.com)
- Syrian Air Force Mig-21 spotted over Hama for the first time since the beginning of the uprising. (theaviationist.com)