Lately you can read in the news that the Syrian rebels are expecting to receive anti-aircraft weaponry that is able to shoot down Russian aircraft operating in Syria. Allow me some thoughts on what consequences it could have if one or even several Russian aircraft are shot down by these weapons which probably would not be delivered to the rebels without approval by the USA. When considering that the Syrian regime’s offensive backed by Russian airstrikes, Iran and Hezbollah is allegedly not going as well as expected, Putin might come into a tricky situation. The Syrian involvement is already not very popular in Russia and losses would rather not change this. So when or if one or even several Russian jets get shot down, how would the Kremlin explain it?
Okay, if it is only one than one can say that sh*t happens, but if there would be significantly more losses (remember Afghanistan), what then? It might be difficult to hide bigger losses for a long time, as in Ukraine, dead or wounded soldiers turn at some point up in public discussion even in Russia. So within Russia criticism on the Russia’s deployment in Syria might rise.
On the other hand it could also be easy, to tell the story differently. In that case that several Russian aircraft are shot down by newly available weaponry, the Kremlin could say that this is, because the West gave the rebels these weapons or at least allowed them to receive them. This might be pretty likely communication strategy if it comes that far. Of course this would deepen the friction between Russia and the West. Also it might make it easier to “take revenge” on the West on another front, for example in another former Soviet country. After all it is just speculation and just my thoughts.
Additionally US-officials say that Russia’s plan to support Assad’s troops with airstrikes so that they could gain ground against the rebel factions is failing