"All of a sudden your communications won’t work, or you can’t call for fire, or you can’t warn of incoming fires because your radars have been jammed and they can’t detect anything" — a retired Army colonel who specializes in electronic warfare told Foreign Policy.
A new report details the Pentagon's growing alarm at increased instances of Russian electronic jamming attacks on American troop positions in Syria, which number according to public Pentagon statements at 2000 or more, located on and near a dozen or more "secret" bases mostly in Syria's northeast and embedded among the mostly Kurdish US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.
The Foreign Policy report begins: https://archive.fo/gWdMq
Officers who have experienced the jamming — known as electronic warfare — say it’s no less dangerous than conventional attacks with bombs and artillery. But they also say it’s allowing U.S. troops a rare opportunity to experience Russian technology in the battlefield and figure out how to defend against it.
Since Russia intervened in Syria at the request of the Assad government in 2015, the two superpowers have butted up against each other on multiple dangerous occasions, but have communicated through an emergency "military-to-military hotline" meant to avoid aerial collisions and direct troop confrontation.
Russia, alongside the Syrian government sees US troops as foreign uninvited occupiers, which have committed acts of aggression against the Syrian state, killing hundreds of Syrian Army soldiers (and instances of Russian mercenaries killed, though they were not under orders by Moscow) during multiple incidents near front lines in Deir Ezzor.
And now, as Gen. Raymond Thomas, head of U.S. Special Operations Command, recently stated at an intelligence and military tech conference, Syria has become "the most aggressive [electronic warfare] environment on the planet."
He said of Russian, Iranian, and Syrian "adversaries": "They are testing us every day, knocking our communications down, disabling our EC-130s [the Air Force's large Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center aircraft]."
Foreign Policy (FP) indicates that electronic jamming by Russian forces signifies an "escalatory" threat in an already confused environment given the broad array of groups and state actors operating in Syria.
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