Russia strikes Syria in the Homs region, according to statement made by a United States defense official. The preparations for the Russian airstrikes in the civil war-torn nation came after Vladimir Putin garnered unanimous approval by Russian lawmakers to deploy a series of weapons and fighter jets to the area.
The Russian airstrikes in Syria began near the Homs region on Wednesday, if the report by the unidentified U.S. defense official, who stated that he had not been given authorization to address Putin’s airstrikes publicly, are accurate.
— UPI.com (@UPI) September 30, 2015
Russia requested that the United States and coalition planes stop flight missions over Iraq and Syria today during the airstrikes, MSN reports. The message was delivered by a three-star U.S. general who walked in the American embassy in Baghdad shortly before the airstrikes in Syria were scheduled to take place, Fox News reports. The airstrikes are not reportedly being conducted in ISIS territory.
Vladimir Putin recently moved fighter jets to an air base on the Syrian city of Latakia. Russia has reportedly been conducting flyover reconnaissance missions in the area for the bast several days. Defense officials largely considered the flights as reconnaissance, and were undertaken to familiarize pilots with the area in preparation for Syrian airstrikes.
Before moving Russian fighter jets or troops outside of the county, Putin had to garner approval from the parliament. The last time the Russian president requested such permission was before he annexed the Crimean Peninsula in the Ukraine in the spring of 2014.
— Marcel Sardo (@marcelsardo) September 30, 2015
Barely 24 hours after Vladimir Putin met with President Barack Obama at the United Nations on Monday, the vote was taken to launch Russia airstrikes in Syria. The two leaders reportedly discussed the military buildup by Putin’s armed forces in Syria.
When Obama and Mitt Romney met on the debate stage during the 2012 presidential election, the former governor was chided for referring to Russia as America’s largest geopolitical foe.
Concerns about the threat Russian fighters pose to United States aircraft flying in Syria, Defense Secretary Ash Carter engaged in a 50-minute chat with Moscow officials about how to “deconflict” the country’s military actions in the region. The phone call was reportedly the first time officials from the U.S. and Russia had spoken in more than a year.
As news of the Russian airstrikes in Syria garnered international headlines, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was sitting in a Russian-chaired U.N. Security Council meeting on the conflicts in the Middle East and Africa. Prior to the Homs airstrikes alert, Putin had reportedly stated that his country was providing training and weapons to the army led by Syrian President Bashar Assad to help fight ISIS.
Federation Council chairwoman Valentina Matvienko addressed the Russian involvement in Syria during a news conference on state television earlier this week. In 1980, the former Soviet Union and Syria signed a security cooperation agreement, stating that Moscow could not deny a request for help from Damascus.
“We as a great power cannot but take part in fighting this great evil. We couldn’t refuse Bashar Assad and keep on seeing how people, women and children are dying.”
“We are thinking what else we could do to support those who are fighting terrorists, including the IS,” Putin said. “There is no talk and there can’t be any talk about involvement of Russian military units in ground operations.”
Russian ships have been moving to ferry troops, supplies, and weapons into the Latakia air base for the past several weeks. Satellite images from a defense research group, IHS Jane, reportedly reveal that the base now possesses 28 jets, including Su-30 multirole fighters, Su-25 ground attack jets, Su-24 bombers and possibly Ka-52 helicopter gunships.
Do you think the Russian airstrikes in Syria will provoke World War 3?
[Image via: Kosorukov Dmitry / Shutterstock]