A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Syrian MiG-29s Appearing Over the Battlefield?

The MiG-29 is one of Syria's key frontline aircraft. While some were already in Syrian service, it was only at midyear this year that there were reports that, after initially freezing an agreement to deliver additional MiG-29s to Syria, Russia had decided to go ahead with the delivery. Some reports said that Russia was providing 10 of the aircraft, and reports suggested they were to be delivered this fall or early next year.

Now there are reports that the MiG-29 has appeared over the battlefield, presumably from the earlier deliveries. That article shows a photo from an unlinked Facebook site, said to depict a MiG-29 over Damascus:
And a recent video released by the rebels reportedly shows one over Deir al-Zor:

Those do appear to be MiG-29s. Though designed for an air superiority fighter it is also capable of ground attack, though in neither photo is it shown releasing weapons.

So: is Asad now risking his most advanced (though basically 1980s) fighter against the rebels?

After all, Bashar's Daddy was a fighter pilot (standing on wing at AF Academy, 1951-52)

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