Russia sending thousands of troops, dozens of jets to Syria

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Sukhoi-24 aircraft trailing an Ilyushin Il-78 in a photo taken in 2009. (CC BY-SA Dmitry Terekhov, Flickr)

 

Russia has deployed 28 combat planes in Syria, US officials said Monday, and a source in Moscow said 2,000 Russian military personnel would be sent to an airbase near the main port city of Latakia, as fears grow over Moscow’s increasing military presence in the war-torn nation.

Washington in recent weeks has expressed growing concern over Russia’s moves to support Syrian President Bashar Assad and warned that militarily backing his regime risks further hampering efforts at bringing peace.

Experts said the buildup is likely a prelude to military action.

“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.

A second official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the figure and added there were also 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.

Two sources briefed on the Russian buildup told the Financial Times that 2,000 people would be dispatched by the Kremlin to the base, including flight crews, engineers and soldiers.

Full article: Russia sending thousands of troops, dozens of jets to Syria (The Times of Israel)

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