Now, according to DEBKAfile, Russia is warning Assad's opposition that if any of their planes are attacked, they will bring Russian soldiers to protect the base:
Russia brings down its cargo planes loaded with weapons and replacement parts for the Syrian army at Nairab after the air facilities around Damascus were targeted by rebel fire. Moscow has since warned the rebels that if they attack incoming or outgoing Russian planes at Nairab, Russian special forces will come in to wipe out their strength around the base and take over its protection themselves.The Assad regime is dependent on Russian and Iranian weapons more than ever now, but it is getting harder to them to get their weapons into Syria.
At the Arab League summit, Saudi Arabia announce that it has been supplying heavy weapons to the Syrian rebels in an effort to take this base which they believe will substantially reduce the dying in Syria. Mike Rowse writes in his blog:
Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia's chief of intelligence admitted that his agents purchased Russian made MLRS and Hurricane 957 launchers capable of firing scores of 220 mm rockets up to 70 kilometers away. They have put them in the hands of Syrian rebels with the specific purpose of helping them to capture the Syrian air base at Nairab; part of Aleppo's international airport.
For the first two years of this conflict, Russia has been able to use its own naval port at Tartus. This ended a week ago, 21 March 2013, when Russian warships were ordered to avoid Tartus and divert to Lebanon's Beirut port. In Tartus, Russian seamen were finding their piers and facilities crowded with Alawite refugees begging for food, water and medical aid, so they have had to find other ways of bring more weapons in. Now arms airlifts to Nairab have doubled.
Russia has been playing a greater role in sustaining Assad as more Syrians defect from his regime and the opposition gains more ground and takes more bases. A year ago, Russian special forces arrived in Syria, supposedly to protect the naval base at Tartus, although as yet, they have not been involved in the fighting AFAIK, and near the end of last year, Russians were reported to be running much of the Syrian air defense systems, Now, according to this latest report, they are threatening to intervene directly with Russian soldiers killing Syrians.
Mike Rowse asks:
If Russia inserts its military directly into the conflict, what would the U.S. do? Nothing, given Obama's history. Oh, there would be lots of words but no action of importance.I agree.