Russia Security Update: November 25- December 1, 2015

 Russia took steps to reassert its freedom of action in Syria in response to Turkey’s downing of a Russian bomber on November 24. Russia is deterring Turkey from future attacks by deploying the long-range S-400 surface-to-air missile (SAM) system to its airbase in Latakia Province, equipping its bombers in Syria with air-to-air missiles, and reportedly preparing to deploy up to twelve additional air superiority fighters to escort its bombers. Russia is also reportedly preparing to deploy fixed-wing aircraft for the first time as well as 1,000 troops to the Assad regime’s Shayrat Airbase in Homs Province, likely in an effort to support an ongoing pro-regime offensive to recapture the ISIS-controlled city of Palmyra. France agreed to coordinate airstrikes with Russia against ISIS and share information on the disposition of armed groups in Syria. President Vladimir Putin agreed in turn to “avoid targeting” the “healthy” armed opposition, a term he has used to refer to the Free Syrian Army. France’s military coordination with Russia will enhance Russia’s false narrative that it intervened in Syria to combat ISIS and escalated in order to limit ISIS’s expansion into Europe. Meanwhile, Russian-backed separatists continue to launch daily attacks on government forces in eastern Ukraine as tensions escalate over the disruption of electricity from Ukraine to occupied Crimea.