A Russian spy plane with 14 aboard missing. Moscow cites Israeli fighters, French frigate in Latakia missile strikes

 

Hours after a missile attack on Syrian and Iranian military targets in Latakia Monday night, the Russian Defense Ministry said that a military Il-20 spy plane with 14 aboard went off the radars. It was 35km off the Syrian coast when its air base air traffic control “lost contact.”

No word has come from Israel on the incident. Some Syrian and Russian sources earlier reported that unidentified missiles had struck a military industry facility which develops missiles and chemical weapons, very close to Russian assets. Other sources reported that Iranian forces had set up a base close to the Russian assets for protection against Israeli attack. Continue reading

Turkey Having Trouble Finding Alternatives To Russian Gas

With Russian-Turkish relations bottoming out after Turkey’s downing of a Russian military jet last November, Ankara is scrambling to reduce its dependency on Russian gas. But the help it needs from post-Soviet energy producers may not be swift in coming.

The Caspian Sea state of Azerbaijan, Turkey’s closest ally in the post-Soviet region, was the first place Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu [sic] visited after the November 24 downing incident. And most recently, Davuto?lu [sic] met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Davos on January 20.

“Two nations, one people” is a popular mantra that officials in both Turkey and Azerbaijan use to describe their relationship. And yet when it comes to energy, there seems to be limits to this unity. Continue reading

Russia Says It Could Have Went to War After Turkey Shot Down Plane

The Russian prime minister said that Russia had grounds to go to war after Turkey shot down a Russian plane last month.

“What did 20th-century countries used to do in a similar situation? A war began,” Dmitry Medvedev said on the ‘Talk to the Prime Minister’ TV program, according to state-affiliated Russia Today.

Medvedev said Turkey “violated the norms of the international law,” giving Russia ample grounds to go to war if that’s the route the country’s top officials wanted to take. Continue reading

Turkey releases audio of ‘warning’ to downed Russia jet

In another twist to developments, Turkey has apparently capitulated and offered a lengthy apology.

The Turkish military has released an audio recording of what it says were warnings to a Russian warplane before it was shot down on the Syrian border.

“Change your heading south immediately,” a voice apparently says in English. Turkey said it had tried to rescue the SU-24 bomber’s two pilots. Continue reading

Analysis: The real danger in Syria is not ISIS, but a war between major powers

There are many unpredictable aspects of the Syrian conflict, but the downing of the Russian bomber by Turkish jets on Tuesday was not one of them. Indeed, given the simultaneous military campaigns taking place in a relatively small swath of territory by Russian, American, French, Syrian, Iranian, and other forces, it is surprising that such an incident did not happen earlier. Nevertheless, the downing of a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 by Turkish jets marked the first attack on a Russian fighter aircraft by a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member state since 1953. Although this incident is not by itself sufficient to provoke an armed conflict between Turkey and Russia, it illustrates the main danger confronting the world in Syria, namely a conflagration between regional powers, many of which are armed with nuclear weapons. Continue reading