Russian Fighters in Syria Transported through Georgian Airspace

According to a non-governmental study, Russia illegally uses Georgian airspace to transport troops between Syrian and Russian territory. The airspace violations are mainly due to the transport of Wagner’s private army based in Krasnodar, Russia. A village named Molkino is home to a training base of Dimitri Utkin, nicknamed Wagner, who is the operator of a private security company, which provides fighters under Russian command in Syria. The former colonel of the GRU was appointed to a military position in the Kremlin two years ago. GRU, the Russian main intelligence agency, provides data and military information to the company.

Strangely, Russian transport flights are usually conducted over allied airspace only, whereas Georgia is still officially at war with Russia. The report calls the transgressions into Georgian airspace surprising, as it can be interpreted as Georgian support for Russia’s military operations in Syria.

Russian fighters in Syria are not transported in military airplanes, but with charter planes, as Russia refrains of using ordinary military personnel for their support of the Syrian regime. Cham Wings Airlines is registered in Syria and conducts most of the transfers, thus being blacklisted by the United States since 2016.

The situation in Syria remains precarious. After the US-led coalition has targeted chemical weapon facilities in Syria from the sea and air, the Western allies have reiterated the danger of chemical weapons and how Russians should refrain from helping Syria to use them.

Following the attack, the US announced the destruction of a research laboratory near Damascus by 76 missiles, including 57 “tomahawks”. This information is highly contested by Russian and Syrian media outlets and government statements.

Syrian and Russian generals claimed to have shot down most of the missiles flying over Syrian territory as they were still mid-air. Proof for this claim was not provided.

By Benjamin Music

16 April 2018 16:34