The coastal province of Latakia is a stronghold of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose forces have encountered a series of military setbacks in 2015 and have professed military “fatigue.”
The full extent of the cooperation between the two countries isn’t totally clear to United States but the Russian buildup in Syria could be coordinated with the Iranians, according to a USA official, The Wall Street Journal reported.
It has increased its supply of arms to the Syrian army and increased its military presence inside Syria, drawing warnings from Western nations – which oppose Assad – that this is destabilizing the situation further. “Iran does not recognize this occupying regime and Israel is responsible for all the existing problems in the region”.
Moscow has also delivered other “sophisticated military equipment to fight IS”, the official said.
In New York Times another United States official said that over the weekend, Russian Federation deployed a dozen Su-24 Fencer and a dozen Su-25 Frogfoot ground-attack planes.
In a satellite imagery, two sites near Latakia airport showed that the Syrian military bases looked like they prepared to receive the Russian forces as it is expected to deploy 2,000 military personnel.
Russian Federation has built up naval infantry forces and heavy equipment including tanks and helicopters at Syria’s Latakia airbase, U.S. officials say, raising the possibility of air combat missions in Syrian airspace.
The Secretary of State said that it is important to maintain dialogue with Russian Federation and try to avoid misunderstandings.
Since September 18, US and coalition aircraft have conducted 16 airstrikes in Syria.
Kerry said that while the USA and Russian Federation wanted to defeat Daesh in Syria, Washington believed Moscow’s support for Assad was attracting foreign fighters who want Assad to go.
At the State Department, spokesman John Kirby acknowledged concerns over the kind of Russian hardware being sent to Syria, saying it added to questions about whether Moscow’s aim was mostly to battle Islamic State or to “prop up the Assad regime”. A U.S.-led coalition has hit the group with air strikes over the past year.
Kerry is expected to discuss Syrian peace talks with his Mideast and European counterparts, including Russian Federation, as part of the UN General Assembly next week.