The incident with Russia's Su-24 warplane that Turkish Air Force downed over Syria gave Russia an opportunity to increase its military potential in Syria, Stratfor analysts note.
Prior to the incident, Russia was using four Su-30 multipurpose fighter jets that accompanied attack aviation groups. According to the US military, after Turkey shot down a Russian plane, Russian Su-34 strike fighter-bombers equipped with R-27 air-to-air missiles appeared in the country.
Russia also deployed advanced surface-to-air anti-aircraft missile systems, including SAM Buk and high-performance large and medium-range S-400 systems in Syria. The freight launchers of S-400 can be seen on the heavily guarded Basel al-Assad airbase, near Latakia, analysts say.
In a nutshell, Russia has strengthened its air defense not to let other countries join the Syrian conflict. Quite possibly, Turkey is considering the possibility of direct military intervention in Syria. The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia also announced the possibility of sending their troops to Syria. Therefore, in mid-January, Russia reportedly started using an AWACS aircraft in Syria, the A-50 to obtain better situational awareness, efficiency and full control of Syrian airspace.
Moreover, Russia also deployed four state-of-the-art Su-35 super-maneuverable multifunctional fighter jets to use them as air patrols.
Thus, Russia is fully capable of showing resistance to the forces that are opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Stratfor said. The US and its allies may still continue striking the Islamic State, but their opportunities for striking other targets are rather limited.
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