‘Russian Navy is Back’: French Lawmaker Impressed by Fleet Day in Sevastopol

The Black Sea Fleet servicemen during the final rehearsal of the naval parade to mark Russian Navy Day in Sevastopol

 

The parade held in Sevastopol on the occasion of the national Navy Day spotlighted Russia’s recovering naval capacities, Nicolas Dhuicq, member of the French parliamentary delegation currently visiting Crimea, told Sputnik on Sunday.

SEVASTOPOL — Over 20 warships, 10 support vessels and around 30 pieces of the Black Sea Fleet coastal forces’ equipment performed during the parade to commemorate the victories of Russian sailors.

“During Vladimir Putin‘s presidency, there was an increase in military spendings, so we see today that the Russian Navy is back. The are only a few oceanic navies in the world: the French, the British and the Russian,” Dhuicq said, adding that he was impressed by the new Admiral Grigorovich frigate demonstrated at the parade.

According to the French lawmaker, the parade highlighted the role of the Navy in the Russian people’s history, especially for Crimea.

“A parade was quite big and popular event that showed a special link between the Russian population and the Russian Navy because everyone remember bravery of Navy forces during the World War II, specially, in the Black Sea and Crimea,” Dhuicq said.

The Russian Navy Day is annually celebrated on the last Sunday of July. This year, the holiday marked several milestone events in Russia’s naval history, including the 320-year anniversary of the national Navy to be celebrated on October 30.

Bulletin of the Russian Centre for reconciliation of opposing sides in the Syrian Arab Republic (July 30, 2016)

Reconciliation of the opposing sides

Within last 24 hours, truce agreements have been signed with representatives of 9 inhabited areas in the al-Suwayda (5), Latakia (3), Homs (1) provinces.

The total number of inhabited areas, the leaders of which had signed reconciliation agreements, has reached 310.

Negotiations on joining ceasefire regime have been continued with field commanders of armed opposition detachments active in the Homs, al-Quneitra and Daraa provinces.

The number of ceasefire application forms signed with leaders of armed groupings has remained 61.

Ceasefire observation

The ceasefire has been observed in most provinces of the Syrian Arab Republic. Within last 24 hours, 7 ceasefire violations have been registered in the Damascus (5) and Latakia (2) provinces.

Jaysh al-Islam formations, which had claimed to belong to the opposition, have performed mortar shelling of Nashabiyah, Arbil, Duma, Jaubar, Haush al-Farah, Harasta cities in the Damascus province.

In the Latakia province, armed formations of the Free Syrian Army performed shelling of Tauma inhabited area.

Russian Aerospace Forces and Syrian Air Force did not make strikes on opposition armed formations, which follow ceasefire regime and informed the Russian or American Centres for reconciliation about their location.

Humanitarian aid to the population of Syria

Mi-8 helicopters have dropped humanitarian cargos (500 food kits) in the regions of the Aleppo city controlled by armed formations.

Low-income families of Bodj-Islam (Latakia province) have received 6 tons of humanitarian cargos with flour, rice, canned meat and fish.

Additional information

Groupings of Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS international terrorist organizations do not stop making attempts to break the ceasefire regime.

Within last 24 hours, terrorists have shelled the trade centre “Kostello”, as well as al-Zahraa, al-Khalidiyah, Leramon, and Sheikh Maqsood quarters in the Aleppo city.

Terrorists have also shelled following inhabited areas: Kabun, Bahariyah, Haush al-Farah, Huteita al-Jarash, Zamalka and Marj-Sultan (Damascus province) as well as the height 437 near the Narb-Nafsa inhabited area in the Hama province.

Russian tank crew showed the best time on the first day of the “Tank biathlon” contest

Russian tank crew showed the best time of the “Individual race” on the first day of the “Tank biathlon” contest.

Russian military servicemen overcame all obstacles for 23 min 18 sec.

The Indian crew headed by Sgt. Prabhu Thapa showed 25 min 02 sec. Tank crew from Kazakhstan commanded by Senior Lieutenant Zhanat Zhahin took the third place passing the route for 26 min 22 sec.

‘Terrorists Stand No Chance Against Assad’ as Turkey Sides With Russia on Syria

Rebel fighters from the First Battalion under the Free Syrian Army take part in a military training on June 10, 2015, in the rebel-held countryside of the northern city of Aleppo

 

Ankara has long supported radical groups fighting against Bashar al-Assad, but following a failed attempt to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Turkey’s upper echelons of power have had a change of heart, siding with Russia when it comes to the Syrian conflict, Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten (DWN) reported.

The online newspaper pointed to the fact that Turkish authorities closed the country’s only official border crossing with the rebel-held province of Idlib, Bab al-Hawa, after the botched coup as evidence of a foreign policy U-turn.The media outlet further noted that this decision could be interpreted as Ankara having closed its border with the neighboring war-torn country, something that the international community has long called for.

Radical groups, including Daesh, al-Nusra Front and the like have used Turkey’s porous border with Syria to smuggle fighters, weapons and supplies in and out of the battlefield. But it appears to have become increasingly hard to do so.

“Mercenaries, who until recently received support [from the outside], hardly stand a chance against President Bashar al-Assad,” the media outlet noted.

Earlier this month, Turkey signaled that it wanted to improve its relations with Syria.

“It is our greatest and irrevocable goal: Developing good relations with Syria and Iraq, and all our neighbors that surround the Mediterranean and the Black Sea,” Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on July 13. “We normalized relations with Russia and Israel. I’m sure we will normalize relations with Syria as well.”These comments and other remarks made by Turkish officials came as a sharp contrast to Ankara’s previous stance on the embattled Arab country. In the months following the outbreak of the Syrian conflict, Erdogan and his supporters provided assistance to groups trying to overthrow al-Assad, once an ally of the Turkish president.

Syrian government forces secure a street as civilians come back to the neighbourhood of Bani Zeid, on Aleppo's northern outskirts on July 29, 2016
© AFP 2016/ GEORGE OURFALIAN
Syrian government forces secure a street as civilians come back to the neighbourhood of Bani Zeid, on Aleppo’s northern outskirts on July 29, 2016

Turkey’s new strategy in Syria has “greatly contributed” to Moscow and Damascus’ efforts to push the militants from Aleppo, one the most populous city in the country, DWN asserted.

In the last 24 hours, Daesh and al-Nusra Front fighters shelled several areas in Aleppo, including the Kostello trade center, as well as the neighborhoods of al-Zahraa, al-Khalidiyah, Leramon and Sheikh Maqsood, the Russian Centre for reconciliation of opposing sides in the Syrian Arab Republic reported on Saturday.

Meanwhile, 169 civilians and 69 rebel fighters who agreed to lay down their weapons have left Aleppo through four safe corridors opened by the Syrian Arab Army as part of a major humanitarian operation launched by Moscow and Damascus.

“We are feeling good now because we are under the protection of the army, may God protect them. We suffered a lot in order to be able to come here,” the Associated Press quoted a Syrian woman as telling state TV.

Iran Ready to Show Off Military Muscle at Int’l Army Games

International Army Games 2015 kick off

 

Contingents of the Iranian army, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Islamic Basij militia and police will take part in the International Army Games that kicked off in Russia and Kazakhstan on Saturday.

In an interview with Sputnik, Iranian Air Force Colonel Mehdi Ahmadi Afshar, the commander of the national armored vehicles team, described the Iranian squad as a “strong and high quality” outfit.

“We put together a strong and high quality team of regular army, IRGC, Basij soldiers as well as police officers to compete in Masters of Armed Vehicles, Tank Biathlon, Elbrus Ring, Clear Sky Air Defense and Depth Diving events to be held in various Russian cities. Our sharpshooters will also take part in the Sniper Frontier competitions in Kazakhstan,” he said

Colonel Afshar added that the Iranian team had undergone a six-month crash course honing their skill ahead of the prestigious contest.

He said that there had been a stringent selection of potential participants held in every service branches of the Iranian armed forces.

“This done, we worked at ranges and in classrooms and held a great number of friendly competitions under the watchful eye of professional referees.As for our prospects, well, it’s hard to say. All I can say is that, with God’s help, we will try our very best so that the Iranian people and our leaders are proud of our performance,” he added.

When asked about the importance of participation in the International Army Games, Colonel Afshar said that forums like this were meant to showcase the combat  readiness and might of the participating countries.

“The Iranian team is fully aware of this and accepts this challenge. We are also ready to share our combat experience with our colleagues. Forums like the International Army Games are a perfect place where you can and must learn many useful things.”

“We are ready to emulate various tactical and technical things from our partners from Russia and other countries, and get acquainted with the arms they use. We are looking forward to honest competition and fruitful cooperation with our colleagues here,” Colonel Mehdi Ahmadi Afshar said in conclusion.

The IAG, which started on Saturday, features competitions in 23 events. A total of 121 teams from 19 countries across the world are taking part in the Games monitored by observers from 11 countries.

The competitions include, among other events, tank biathlon, combat jet maneuvering, as well as contests for marine officers and divers, canine handlers and military medics.

The Games are set to run until August 13 with China, Belarus and Azerbaijan among the participants.

Syrian Army Wrests Control Over Strategic Heights in Al-Badiyah (VIDEO)

Syrian Army. File photo

 

The Syrian Army and its allied national defense forces have managed to flush Daesh militants out of a number of strategic hills outside the village of Tell al-Tut from where the terrorists controlled all other villages near the desert of al-Badiyah.

The Syrian armed forces are now poised to continue their advance to liberate more populated areas in the Syrian desert, the main stretches of which a strategic oil pipeline runs through.Backed by the Russian Aerospace Forces, the Syrian Army has made significant advances towards the Daesh-held city of Raqqa, killing scores of terrorists.

Meanwhile, in northern Syria, government forces have cut off all supply routes into the eastern, rebel-held part of Aleppo, which has been under siege since July 11.

Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad recently tightened their control of the only route into the strategic city.

Russian Military: Four More Humanitarian Corridors Will be Opened in Aleppo

A Syrian family walks amid the rubble of destroyed buildings following a reported airstrike on April 28, 2016 in the Bustan al-Qasr rebel-held district of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo

Russian and Syrian military are going to establish four more humanitarian corridors in the besieged city of Aleppo, in addition to three existing corridors that already helped hundreds to reach safety.

According to Lieutenant-General Sergey Chvarkov, the head Russian reconciliation center in Syria, four more humanitarian corridors will be established in the Syrian city of Aleppo in the near future by joint efforts of Russian and Syrian military forces.

“In addition to the existing corridors, we are organizing four more humanitarian corridors,” the general said.

Chvarkov said that the existing three corridors have already helped 169 civilians and 69 militants who chose to lay down arms, to escape the besieged city.

“In the areas of those humanitarian corridors we have equipped stations with hot food and medical assistance. The Syrian authorities have prepared six centers of humanitarian assistance, which can accommodate and satisfy needs of more than 3,000 people,” he stressed.

 

Russia has also prepared 14 tons of humanitarian cargo for those fleeing the militants, with 2.5 tons of food and essentials already supplied, he added.

According to the civilians who managed to reach safety, living under militants is horrible.

“We left with our remaining children. May God punish the rebels. They did not allow us to leave, they deprived us of gas, water, electricity and bread. We were not allowed to leave. There were no medicines. They used to tell us you live with us or die with us,” one of escaped women said.

“We suffered and walked a lot, may God curse the rebels. They did not leave food or medicine and by the time we left it was not easy,” another resident added.

Russian-Syrian humanitarian operation in Aleppo began on Thursday when three humanitarian corridors were opened in the city.

India Wants Fleet of 1,317MPH Next-Gen Russian ‘Super Sukhoi’ Fighter Jets

A Russian Su-30MKI fighter performs at the Moscow International Air Show in Zhukovsky

New Delhi and Moscow near an $8 billion deal to upgrade the fearsome Su-30MKI fighter jet into the Super Sukhoi, but the deal does not threaten the joint Indo-Russia fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) program.

Negotiations between New Delhi and Moscow have ramped up with India planning to upgrade 194 warplanes to become fifth-generation Sukhoi SU-30MKI fighter jets at a cost of more than $8 billion, Defense News reported this week.Defense News quoted an anonymous senior official at India’s Ministry of Defense who said, “A Russian team was in New Delhi earlier this month to discuss [the] upgrade plan with India, which will be finalized in the next four to six months.”

The new planes will be known as “Super Sukhoi” jets with upgrades featuring improved stealth abilities, longer ranger missiles and radars, a supersonic cruise missile and an advanced suite of avionics.

“A major part of the upgrade involves avionics and sensors,” said Muthumanikam Matheswaran, a retired Indian Air Force officer. “These are completely new with new systems and new software. Hence it has no relation to old problems with software. Engine issues will have to be dealt with.”

According to an anonymous Russian diplomat, a prototype of the plane will be developed in Russia while the actual upgrades will be done at India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

The Indian Air Force confirmed that the Su-30MKI upgrade will not impact the proposed Indo-Russian Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) program – worth $25 billion. Analysts believe, however, that a possible diversion of India’s defense funds towards the Super Sukhoi could delay the FGFA.

India and Russia first signed a Prelminary Development Agreement in 2011 to jointly build the FGFA, but  a final agreement which will require a roughly $6 billion payment by New Delhi towards the development of the fighter jet has yet to be inked as the two sides continue to negotiate issues relating to production work share.

Asked about the rationale of pursuing the substantial and costly upgrades to India’s existing SU-30MKI fighter jets rather than purchasing new aircrafts whole, Matheswaran explained, “An upgrade at the maximum will be about half the cost of the original aircraft in Su-30 generation. A new aircraft in place of Su-30 means FGA, which is far more expensive.”

Dajit Singh, a retired IAF Air Marshal and defense analyst, explained that there will be significant differences between the upgraded Super Sukhoi and the coming FGFA fighter jet.

“FGFA has some distinct features, which Super Su-30MKI will not have,” said Singh. “These include internal weapon-carrying bays to enhance stealth features, integrated internal fit of the electronic warfare suite, super-cruise capability and inherent stealth design.”

“Su-30 cannot be redesigned as a stealth aircraft,” Singh continued. “Any changes of the wing design and material to improve stealth would be very expensive and time consuming and would be akin to a different design. Therefore, the FGFA project may not be canceled in total in view of the Su-30 upgrade.”

Syrian-Russian ‘Humanitarian Offensive’ Takes US Policymakers by Surprise

Unloading Russian EMERCOM plane with humanitarian aid which arrived to Latakia Airport in Syria. File photo

 

The joint Syrian-Russian humanitarian operation to save civilians trapped in militant-held territories in Aleppo has struck a severe blow to US policy in the country, says former diplomat and Middle East expert Vyacheslav Matuzov.

On Thursday, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that Moscow and Damascus had launched a massive humanitarian operation in Aleppo, establishing exit routes for civilians and any militants wishing to leave the jihadist-held portions of the city.Three routes were designated for civilians and militants who decided to lay down their arms and surrender, along with a fourth marked for militants who will be able to leave the city with their weapons and equipment. “We’re going to take this step only in order to ensure the safety of the residents of Aleppo,” Russian Defense Minister Shoigu said, referring to the exit route for armed militants.

On Saturday, Russian officials also confirmed that 14 metric tons of humanitarian aid had already been delivered to checkpoints in Aleppo, including foodstuffs, medicines and other necessities. The checkpoints have already begun the provision of hot food and medical care for local residents.

Speaking to Radio Sputnik about the operation, Vyacheslav Matuzov, a veteran former diplomat and Middle East expert with decades of experience in the region under his belt, began by recalling that together with Damascus, Aleppo is one of the two most strategically significant cities in Syria, and home to much of the country’s population. In this sense, what’s going on is of prime importance in bringing the war closer to an end.

At the same time, the analyst noted that unfortunately, he has already observed some problems with the use of the designated exit routes, with civilians attempting to leave eastern Aleppo being blocked off by terrorists who want to continue to use them as human shields.Meanwhile, the analyst noted, the combined Syrian-Russian ‘humanitarian offensive’ has plunged US policymakers into a state of disarray.

“The decision on a ‘humanitarian offensive’…against the positions where the terrorists have taken the local population hostage has also taken the Americans by surprise, leaving them confused as to what their next step might be. Attempting to challenge or deny the humanitarian approach would be pointless.”

Furthermore, Matuzov noted that once civilians are successfully evacuated, “the US will stripped of the argument that Russian aircraft are bombing only pregnant women, children and the elderly. Our approach, complete with these humanitarian overtones, serves as a very serious blow to US policy in Syria,” the analyst added. The analyst clarified that ultimately, once civilians evacuate militant-held portions of the city, the Syrian Army and its allies will be able to conduct operations to liberate eastern Aleppo without the threat of the loss of civilian life.

Effectively, Matuzov noted, Western countries will be forced to accept Aleppo’s liberation by the Syrian army, including from those militant groups which the US and other Western and regional powers have long supported. “I believe that this will be a tremendous defeat not only for the Syrian terrorist groups, but a series blow to the political positions of the US in the region,” the commentator concluded.

Nearly 170 Civilians Left Aleppo Via Aid Corridors Since Thursday

Syrian government forces secure a street as civilians walk on a street in the neighbourhood of Bani Zeid, on Aleppo's northern outskirts on July 29, 2016

 

Since the beginning of the humanitarian operation from areas controlled by illegal armed groups in the Syrian city of Aleppo through the crossing points left 169 civilians and 69 militants laid down their weapons, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

HMEYMIM (Latakia, Syria) – Some 169 civilians have left the Syrian city of Aleppo via aid corridors and 69 militants laid down their arms since the start of humanitarian operation there, the Russian Defense Ministry said Saturday.

“Since the beginning of the humanitarian operation from areas controlled by illegal armed groups through the crossing points left 169 civilians, 69 militants laid down their weapons, qualified medical aid was provided to 59 in need,” Lt. Gen. Sergei Chvarkov, chief of the Russian center for Syrian reconciliation said.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Thursday that Moscow and Damascus had launched a joint large-scale humanitarian relief operation in Aleppo, establishing three corridors for civilians and one for militants wishing to lay down arms.