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Tuesday, 8 September 2015


Reports of a significant build up of Russian military involvement in the the war in Syria have increased the possibility of a direct confrontation between Russia and the U.S. in the embattled region. Russia’s support of the Syrian regime under Assad has been unwavering throughout the conflict, with Russia vetoing numerous UN Security Council resolutions to take action against the Syrian regime. It has recently emerged that Russia has boots on the ground in Syria. Russia insists that its troops are there merely as military advisers. Al Qaeda affiliate Jahbat Al Nusra, however, has released pictures on social media that appear to be of Russian made warplanes and drones in Syrian airspace and a recent video on Syrian state television appears to show Russian armoured vehicles and troops engaged alongside Syrian government forces. Coast watchers from a shipping blog have also made unconfirmed reports of a Russian warship, its decks laden with equipment, making its way into Syrian waters.

U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, has made a phone call to his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, warning him of a possible confrontation in Syria, according to CNN. Kerry reportedly said that more Russian military in Syria “could further escalate the conflict, lead to greater loss of innocent lives, increase refugee flows and risk confrontation.”

Earlier today, Reuters reported that Greek officials have been asked to deny Greek airspace to Russian aid flights to Syria. These flights, which have been ongoing since the earliest days of the Syrian conflict, have purportedly been to deliver food aid and equipment and to extract Russian nationals needing to leave Syria. Russia has made no bones about supplying arms and materiel to the Syrian regime, even to the extent of upholding a pre-embargo deal to supply fighter planes to Assad.


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