Both the American and Turkish air forces halted their strikes on Syrian territory around the time Russia deployed S-400 air defense complexes at the Khmeimim airbase, from which it stages its own incursions against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
A spokesperson of the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) told Sputnik on Friday that the absence of anti-IS coalition airstrikes “has nothing to do with the S400 deployment” in Syria.
“The fluctuation or absence of strikes in Syria reflects the ebb and flow of battle,” the spokesperson said, adding that CJTF-OIR deliver airstrikes when and where it needs to, dedicating a lot of time to researching targets to ensure maximum effect and minimizing civilian casualties.
As CJTF-OIR reported on Friday, the US-led coalition had made no sorties against targets in Syria bsince Thursday, while airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq continued, with the coalition making 18 strikes on terrorist positions.
On November 24, a Turkish F-16 fighter jet shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber, which had been bombing IS positions.
Moscow says the bomber was in Syrian airspace which the F-16 violated, while Turkey claims the Russian jet crossed the Turkish border and was repeatedly warned before the attack.
Both the pilot and the navigator of the Su-24 ejected. The pilot was killed by a militant group while parachuting to the ground, while the rescue operation for the Russian navigator was successful to a certain extent: a Marine died providing covering fire in the rescue team drop zone and a helicopter was lost after it was hit with an American-made anti-tank TOW missile the terrorists are armed with.
After the incident, Russia’s Joint Staff took the decision to enhance air defenses at the Khmeimim airbase south of the Syrian port of Latakia.
The following day, on November 25, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced the immediate deployment of S-400 misslies to Syria.
S-400 Triumph system missile launchers were airlifted to Syria by Antonov An-124 Ruslan super-jumbo aircraft 24 hours after the decision was announced on Wednesday.
According to open sources, the S-400 is capable of shooting down any existing aircraft, helicopter or missile traveling at speeds of up to 4.8 kilometer per second (over 17,000 km/h).
The only target the system would have problems with is a nuclear warhead of intercontinental ballistic missile, which flies at speeds of up to 6-7 kilometer per second.
The S-400 engages targets at distances as far as 400 kilometers and heights of up to 27 kilometers (or higher with newer missiles). This is enough to cover at least 75 percent of Syrian territory, along with the airspaces of Lebanon, Cyprus, half of Israel and a vast part of Turkey.
The S-400’s radar has a range of 600 kilometers and is capable of discriminating even objects moving on the ground, such as cars and military vehicles.
S-400 radar covers Syria, western regions of Iraq and Saudi Arabia, nearly all of Israel and Jordan, Egypt’s northern Sinai, a large part of the eastern Mediterranean and Turkish airspace as far as the capital Ankara.
Putin approves economic sanctions against Turkey following downing of Russian warplane
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree imposing a package of economic sanctions against Turkey following its downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber in Syria. The measures include banning several Turkish organizations and the import of certain goods.
A decree on “measures providing the national security of the Russian Federation and the protection of its citizens against criminal and other unlawful acts, and on imposing special economic measures in relation to Turkish Republic” was signed on Saturday, the Kremlin press service said.
Under the decree, the import of certain products originating from Turkey will be temporarily banned or restricted.
A number of Turkish organizations operating in Russia will also be restricted.
Employers in Russia will be prohibited from hiring Turkish nationals for work starting January 1, 2016.
The ban will touch upon only new workers, the decree said, adding that employees who already officially hired as of December 31, 2015 will not fall subject to the sanctions.
The president has directed the government to introduce a ban on charter flights between Russia and Turkey. Russian travel agencies have been advised to stop selling tours to Turkey, the Kremlin announced.
The government has also been tasked with enhancing security control at Russian ports in the Sea of Azov and Black Sea. The illegal presence and movement of Turkish vessels near to the sea ports must be prevented, the decree said.
Bringing Turkish products into Russia for personal use will not be restricted, the decree said.
The visa-free regime for Turkish nationals traveling to Russia will be suspended starting from 2016, the decree signed by the Russian leader says.
It will not affect those who have residence permits, as well as Turkish diplomats working in Turkish embassies and consulates on the territory of Russia, and their families.
A list of contracts not to be affected by the new economic measures will be compiled by the Cabinet, the Kremlin said in its Saturday statement.
The cooling of relations between the two countries was prompted by the downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber jet by a Turkish F-16 fighter at the Syrian border on Tuesday.
As the plane was hit and went down in Syria, the two pilots ejected, but only one pilot was later rescued by the Russian forces. Another serviceman, Captain Sergey Rumyantsev was killed, with a rebel Turkmen brigade claiming they shot him to death while he was still parachuting.
Relations between Moscow and Ankara have been in decline ever since. On Saturday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement advising its citizens against all non-urgent travel to Russia.
Meanwhile, many businesses in Turkey have expressed fears Russian sanctions might badly hit the Turkish economy, affecting its trade and tourism industries.
According to Russian Minister of Economic Development Aleksey Ulyukaev, the Turkish Stream project to deliver Russian natural gas to Turkey, and the construction of a nuclear power plant in the country could also be canceled.