In another sign that Russia controls Syrian skies, Putin has deployed 28 combat planes in Syria, U.S. officials said Monday, confirming the latest move in Moscow’s increasing military presence in the war-torn nation.
“There are 28 fighter and bomber aircraft” at an airfield in the western Syrian province of Latakia, one of the officials told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Fighter jets are equipped to fight other fighter jets, not ISIS.
A second official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the figure, and added there were about 20 Russian combat and transport helicopters at the base.
That official also said Russia was operating drones over Syria, but did not give additional details.
Today Russia controls Syrian skies. This could mean Assad could re-start his nuclear program tomorrow and no one would be able to stop him.
With such nuclear power, Russia will end once and for all any talks of Assad regime change. Forever.
As Obama has awarded Iran the right to go nuclear with his diplomacy, so will Putin award Syria the right to go nuclear with his military power.
In 2007, the Israeli Air Force destroyed al-Kibar nuclear facility built with help from North Korea. Putin, at the time, did not condone or condemn al-Kibar.
Washington in recent weeks has expressed growing concern over Russia’s increasing military presence in Syria to support Assad.
The United States has warned that Russian military backing for the Syrian regime only risks sending more extremists to the war-torn country and could further hamper any effort at bringing peace.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter spoke with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu on Friday, ending an 18-month freeze in military relations triggered by NATO anger over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis.
They agreed to continue discussions, which are crucial to lessen the risk of incidents involving coalition forces and Russian forces operating in the same air space.
Put differently, Barack Obama agrees that Russia controls Syrian skies.
AFP contributed to this article.