Federated Kurdistan | Colonel Cassad

Syrian Kurds are now following the example of their Iraqi colleagues, having proclaimed the establishment of “federal region” in northern Syria. De facto, this means the creation on the territory of Syria of a semiautonomous Syrian Kurdistan, which does not withdraws from Syria, but claims to be an independent on a number of issues related to the internal self-government and self-defense issues. Iraqi Kurds have been in this state for quite a long time already, but periodically have hinted that they could declare independence.

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Advances in Russian Military Operations | Dimitry Gorenburg

As Russia begins to wind down its military operation in Syria, it is time to assess what it has taught us about how the Russian military operates. Although relatively small in scale, the operation in Syria has highlighted some major improvements in Russian military capabilities. Compared to the 2008 Georgia War, which was the last time the Russian Air Force operated in a combat environment, the Russian military appears to have made great strides in operational tempo and inter-service integration. The operation has also showcased Russia’s recently developed standoff strike capability and demonstrated significant advances in its ability to carry out expeditionary operations.

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Black Sea Rising: Rebirth of a Russian Fleet | Moscow Times

When judged by size, the beefing up of the Black Sea Fleet may appear to be anti-climactic to citizens of Western nations that field large navies comprised of increasingly large and complex ships — such as the United States. But what makes the modernized capabilities of the Black Sea Fleet noteworthy is the key capability shared by the Kilo-class submarines, the Grigorovich-class frigates, and small missile corvettes: they all serve as launch platforms for Russia’s brand-new Kalibr land attack cruise missiles.

The Kalibr turned heads in October 2015, when Russia’s Caspian Flotilla launched a major salvo of the new cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea to hit alleged terrorist groups in Syria. The strike demonstrated that Russia now has long-range guided attack capabilities, which it previously lacked.

In addition to the new ships, Russia’s has stepped up land-based defenses. Missile and coastal defense systems now cover the peninsula, and new fighter and bomber wings are stationed at Crimean airfields.

The net result of this activity is simple: in two years Russia has created an elaborate defensive zone covering Crimea and most of the Black Sea region. With this net, it can both throw its weight around the neighborhood and seriously deter any potential foe from entering the Black Sea.

With even heavier additions on their way, Russia is on track to reassert itself as the dominant naval power in the Black Sea region.

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Russian SOF equipment captured in Syria | ARES

The rifle pictured is a heavily customised AK-74M self-loading rifle. The Ak-74M is a selective-fire, gas-operated self-loading rifle chambered for the 5.45 x 39 mm cartridge. It is a development of the AK-74 rifle, first introduced in 1974, itself a derivative of the ubiquitous Avtomat Kalashnikova (AK) series of rifle. In 1991, the AK-74M was introduced into Russian military service; it is most readily identified by its side-folding solid polymer stock, black polymer furniture, and sling swivels, as well as the distinctive muzzle brake of earlier AK-74 series rifles. This particular example is fitted with a range of post-manufacture accessories, including an adjustable buttstock, fore end with multiple accessory rails, top accessory rail, and alternative pistol grip. The rifle is also fitted with a suppressor in place of the distinctive muzzle brake, and an IWT 640 ‘Haron’ thermal weapon sight with backup CQB red dot sight. The weapon and its magazines have been painted in a camouflage scheme.

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As Russia’s Tactical Jets Leave Syria, Its Most Advanced Attack Helicopters Arrive | Foxtrot Alpha

Throughout Russia’s military involvement in the Syrian conflict it has utilized advanced derivatives of the venerable Mi-24 Hind attack helicopter. This is primarily the Mi-24P model. The Kremlin decided to keep its much more advanced Mi-28 Havoc and Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopters at home for the conflict. But now these helicopters have finally shown up.

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