Saudi Arabia Takes Bold Action in Syrian War
The Syrian war is gradually spinning into areas feared and more out of control, like a spinning whirlpool.
Next to the International airport in Aleppo, Syria, is the military airbase of Nairab AFB. The rebels control much of the International airport, but none of the military airbase. The airbase is simply critical for Assad's forces still in the area for supply of weapons and food. The rebels have damaged some of the Damascus area airports and airbases, so the Nairab AFB remains vital and Russian and Iranian cargo planes have been heavily using it to reinforce the Syrian military still there. Russian and Iranian arms lifts to Nairab were doubled after rebels seized many Alawite villages in the Aleppo and Idlib regions of northern Syria.
Enter Saudi Arabia's Prince Bandar. Armed with so much extra money, his agents went shopping in the Croatia area for used Russian heavy weapons to buy and supply the rebels. These are MLRS (Smerch) and Hurricane 9K57 launchers capable of firing scores of 220-mm rockets to a distance of 70 kilometers. The rockets are fixed to vehicles weighing 43.7 tons each. The rockets themselves are 7.6 meters long and weigh 800 kilograms, so shipping them to the rebels will be dicey. To do this, the weapons will be shipped across Turkey into Northern Syria. When SA announced this effort to arm the rebels with heavy weapons, the reaction from most Arabs was not positive.
Prince Bandar feels the coming battle for this key AFB near Aleppo will be a major blow if the rebels win. He feels that with these heavy weapons the Syrians will lose. But, Russia has warned that if the AFB is in jeopardy of being lost to the rebels, they will send in 500 Russian special forces to hold it and clear the rebels from around it. These troops are idle in Tartus and Beirut.
Both Syria and Yemen already have these weapons also.