Over the past five years, Russian forces, fighting alongside the Assad regime, have waged complex battles in Syrian towns and cities, seemingly unconstrained by the Geneva Conventions or bylaws. war rule. These battles are fierce, often unreported, but very real for those unfortunate enough to get caught up in them.
As Kyiv prepares for an all-out assault, it is clear that Vladimir Putin has used Syria as a live combat laboratory to hone his forces’ skills and test equipment. Syria, his latest base of operations on the southern edge of Europe, looks more and more like the first chapter in his grand plan; recreate the boundaries of the former Soviet Union and establish a new “greater Russia”.
We should not regard the invasion of Ukraine as simply blind adventurism, but as an integral part of this plan.
The real question is where it will take Putin’s Russia next.
Fighting in towns and cities has resulted in some of the bloodiest battles in the history of war. Having lost more than a million Red Army soldiers and countless civilians in the battle of Stalingrad during the Second World War, this is something the Russians have a lot of experience with.
Thousands of Russian tanks and planes will mean nothing once the fighting begins in earnest on the streets of Kyiv, where a single neighborhood can hold thousands of soldiers and mighty tanks. Strongly vulnerable to attack from any angle.
Casualties can be terrifying on both sides, and the Russian conscripts’ understandable morale doesn’t seem to hold up for long; certainly not as long as Ukraine’s tenacious defenders.
Putin could easily make eloquent statements and direct his troops from his den in Moscow, but these empty brags won’t bring much comfort to conscripts. young people on the front lines.
I have seen the Russians near Syria, supplying Assad with firepower, and often witness his troops being slaughtered. Along the way, however, they will learn important lessons about succeeding in the harshest of environments.
Russia’s continued bombardment will eventually level Kyiv, just as it did in Aleppo and other Syrian cities. However, once this happens, no amount of high-temperature weapons or high explosives can change a staunch defender. Civilians would hide underground, safe from the attack, while Ukrainian soldiers and militiamen would lurk among the rubble to destroy Russian tanks and infantry.
To combat this in Syria, Assad advocates scorching tactics; Dropping white phosphorus bombs and incendiary rockets make everything in their path go bad and force civilians to flee. If unsuccessful, they must resort to chemical weapons such as chlorine tank bombs; Liquid chlorine tanks are ejected from the helicopter. Gases heavier than air sink underground, killing those in their bunkers or forcing them above ground to be captured or shot.
In 2016, Assad’s forces used such attacks to break the four-year conventional siege of Aleppo in just 13 days. The five-year siege of Ghouta and the six-year siege of Douma ended in a similar fashion.
These atrocities may have been carried out by Assad, but they happened under Putin’s supervision. Will he be scaled back using the same methods in Kyiv? He eventually ordered the use of chemical weapons in my home town of Salisbury, England.
These weapons are horribly effective in cities, and unscrupulous or reckless people will use them all the time. Sadly, Putin doesn’t have both.
He has threatened the international community with nuclear weapons and Ukraine with only slightly smaller models of the battlefield – the former terrifying us by causing our leaders to surrender and the latter by scaring us. Ukraine must surrender.
In the face of these threats, using chemical weapons for quick victory seems like a worryingly small step.
This is why chemical weapons must be banned forever
first in Ukraine, then everywhere else. (© Telegraph Communications Group Lts 2022)
Hamish de Bretton-Gordon is a former commander of the UK’s CBRN regiment and Nato’s CBRN battalion.
Telegraph Media Group Limited 
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/he-issued-threat-of-nuclear-arms-would-putin-shrink-from-using-chemical-weapons-41418238.html He made a threat of nuclear weapons. Will Putin withdraw from the use of chemical weapons?