Aug 17, 2015
Syria reportedly receives MiG-31 interceptors from Russia
The aircraft recently arrived at Mezze Airbase on the outskirts of Damascus.
Syria was reported to have ordered eight MiG-31 combat aircraft as part of a wider defence deal with Russia in 2007. Neither the Russian nor the Syrian authorities have so far commented publicly on the reported deliveries.
Until the arrival of the MiG-31s in Damascus is confirmed, it should be treated with an element of scepticism. With the regime of Bashar al-Assad finding itself increasingly hard-pressed on the ground, it has to be noted that a state-of-the-art high-altitude interceptor is probably of limited use right now.
The delivery has been linked to Western proposals for a no-fly buffer zone to be established over Syria, but while the MiG-31s would certainly give NATO planners pause for thought, their small number and single basing location would mean that they would likely be destroyed in the early hours of any alliance effort to establish air dominance over the country ahead of implementing such a no-fly zone.