The Turkish Air Force and the Russian Aerospace Forces have launched a joint raid against Islamic State targets in the Aleppo province.
Four Su-24Ms, four Su-25s and one Su-34 bomber of the Russian Air Force along with four F-16 and four F-4 jets belonging to the Turkish Air Force have carried out the first joint strike in Syria on Jan. 18: an interesting mix of aircraft for a quite rare COMAO (Combined Air Operation) made of platforms able to perform CAS (Close Air Support), BAI (Battlefield Air Interdiction), S/DEAD (Suppression/Destruction of Enemy Air Defenses) and Strike as well as Air Superiority and Aerial Escort.
The raid aimed at destroying 36 ground targets was previously agreed with Syrian authorities, said Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy, the chief of the Russian General Staff Main Operational Directorate in a briefing in Moscow. Considered that Turkey is a NATO member hence the TuAF regularly trains with other western air forces and that the Russian Aerospace Force jets employ completely different procedures, standards, etc., it would be interesting to know something more about the preparation, coordination and execution of such joint raid.
Anyway, according to the first estimates provided by the Russian high-rank officer, the joint airstrikes near Al-Bab, in the Aleppo province, “have been highly effective.”
The raid came amid a nationwide ceasefire in Syria which came into effect on Dec. 30 and, according to the analysts, was in support of Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield, launched on Aug. 24, 2016 to clear the Syrian border town of Jarabulus and the surrounding area from Daesh terrorist group with the support of the FSA (Free Syria Army) and US-led coalition planes.
Al-Bab is one of Daesh’s last remaining strongholds near the Turkish border; the help of the Russians seems to be essential to prevent the Syrian Kurds from taking it.
The crisis between Moscow and Ankara that followed the downing of the Russian Air Force Su-24 by a TuAF F-16 on Nov. 24, 2015, seems decades away.
Image credit: Russia MoD