"Russia has begun intervention in Syria," says Israeli site

Russia "has begun its military intervention in Syria, deploying an aerial contingent to a permanent Syrian base to attack ISIS and Islamist rebels."

Source: ynetnews.com

This has been reported by the Israeli website Ynet, which added that "Russian fighter pilots are expected to begin arriving in Syria in the coming days."

The report quoted Western diplomats to say that "a Russian expeditionary force has already arrived in Syria and set up camp in an Assad-controlled air base," and added:

"The base is said to be in area surrounding Damascus, and will serve, for all intents and purposes, as a Russian forward operating base."

According to the website, "in the coming weeks thousands of Russian military personnel are set to touch down in Syria, including advisors, instructors, logistics personnel, technical personnel, members of the aerial protection division, and the pilots who will operate the aircraft."

As for "the current makeup of the expeditionary force" it is "still unknown - but there is no doubt that Russian pilots flying combat missions in Syrian skies will definitely change the existing dynamics in the Middle East."

The article also quoted "past reports that stated the Russians were in talks to sell the Syrians a package of MiG-29 fighter jets, and Yak-130 trainer jets which can also serve as attack aircraft."

The Israeli website added that "the Russians do not harbor offensive intentions towards Israel or other sovereign states in the area, and their main stated goal is battling ISIS and preserving Assad's rule," but that " their presence will represent a challenge to the Israeli Air Force's freedom of operation in the skies above the Middle East."

Further, "Western diplomatic sources have emphasized that the Obama administration is fully aware of the Russian intent to intervene directly in Syria, but has yet to issue any reaction."

According to the article, "the absence of a vocal opposition from the Obama administration is compounded by its cessation of calls for the dissolution of Assad's murderous regime."

"The Iranians and the Russians - with the U.S. well aware- have begun the struggle to reequip the Syrian army, which has been left in tatters by the civil war," said Ynet, adding that "during the entire duration of the civil war, the Russians have consistently sent a weapons supply ship to the Russian held port of Tartus in Syria on a weekly basis."

However, the article said, "the Russians are not the only ones coordinating their Middle East policy with the Iranians," as "the U.S. has also jumped aboard that train."

"American government officials have been holding intensive consultations with representatives of the Iranian regime concerning a stronger joint effort against ISIS in Iraq. It seems that the U.S. government currently views Iran as a central and necessary force in the campaign against ISIS within Iraq," said Ynet.

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