Russian air raids over Syria were seen to have tapered off in the first 10 days of the New Year to their lowest level since the onset of Moscow’s major intervention in Syria in late September, intelligence sources report. The slowdown was not officially reported or explained. But our sources point to three likely causes:
1. The Russian Air Force conducted an exceptionally intensive series of aerial strikes over northern and southern Syria in the course of December. This may have caused too many technical problems for the overtaxed ground crews to keep up with the necessary maintenance work.
2. Winter conditions in the region are subject to extreme and rapid change, often swinging between snow storms and warm air currents in the space of a few hours. Russian air and ground crews alike are finding it hard to adjust to Middle East weather.
3. The first days of January are Russia’s traditional holiday season. The Eastern churches celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7. Air crews may have decided to take a break from combat missions. (READ MORE)