Syrian missile defense had catastrophic failure during US and allied strike

USA Today:
Syria’s once well-regarded air defense system completely failed to defend against the U.S.-led strike on the country's chemical weapons facilities last week, highlighting how far the regime's military has declined, according to the Pentagon and military analysts.

The Syrians fired 40 interceptor missiles, but most of them didn’t even get off the ground until allied missiles had already hit their targets, Pentagon officials said. The interceptor missiles appeared to lack guidance systems.

“Nearly every one was launched after the last of our missiles hit their targets,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said.

The failure highlights how ineffective Syria’s military has become and the degree to which it now depends on Russia and Iran, its principal sponsors, for security, said Christopher Kozak, an analyst at the Institute for the Study of War.

U.S., French and British forces launched 105 missiles from aircraft and ships at three chemical weapons facilities in Syria last weekend in response to a chemical weapons attack launched by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Russia claimed that Syrian defenses knocked down many incoming missiles, but the Pentagon said every weapon hit its intended target, dismissing the Russian comments as a disinformation campaign.

Syria is equipped with a relatively sophisticated air defense system, but a lack of training, command and control and other human factors are probably responsible for the failure, analysts said.
The Pentagon was careful to acknowledge that Russia’s own air defense system in Syria, which is far more sophisticated than the Assad regime’s, was not employed against the U.S. attack.

The Russian military passively tracked the incoming missiles on their radar as they blew up the three chemical weapons facilities targeted by the U.S., French and British missiles, which were launched from ships and aircraft operating outside Syrian airspace.
The Israelis have been defeating the Syrian system for years.    Whether it is the equipment or the people managing, it just was not effective in dealing with the US strike.  The civil war in Syria has led to an attrition of Syrian military forces through desertion and casualties.

As for the Russians, I think Trump's tweet warning them of the coming strike was a deliberate effort to get the Russians out of the strike zone so that there would be not Russians or equipment in the line of fire.  Hitting Russian planes and ships would have been an escalation the US wanted to avoid.


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