Gulf Arabs oppose Russia role in Syria, still bent on Assad’s ouster

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.


Syria has confirmed for the first time that it has received advanced fighter and reconnaissance aircraft from Russian Federation, which the Damascus government says have significantly enhanced its ability to target Islamic State fighters, the Guardian reports citing AFP.

Following the statements, some anonymous sources told the Israeli press that the goal of such coordination was to avoid situations in Syria in which the Russian and Israeli military could find themselves accidentally trading fire.

In New York Times another USA official said that over the weekend, Russian Federation deployed a dozen Su-24 Fencer and a dozen Su-25 Frogfoot ground-attack planes.

USA officials on Monday said that Russian Federation has started flying drone aircraft on surveillance missions in Syria.

Netanyahu told Putin that Russian Federation needed to know that Israel would take action to prevent these weapons transfers and thus it was important to make sure there were no misunderstandings between their military forces.

The deployments have raised fears of an inadvertent confrontation between Russian forces and the US-led coalition that has been carrying out nearly daily air strikes against IS in Syria for more than a year. “If Russian Federation is willing, Syria will welcome this move, because it will be directed against terrorism in our land”. Western and Gulf powers have long resisted any future role for Mr Assad, insisting that he must step down for Syria to have any hope of peace.

But the increased presence of the Islamic State militant group, Russia’s military build-up and an exodus of Syrian refugees into Europe have added urgency to finding a political settlement.

“The fact that they … have additional military capabilities in Syria continues to give us concern, and that’s why we’re in favor of some level of military-to-military communication for the goal of deconfliction”, State Department spokesman John Kirby said Monday.


On Friday, the U.S. also announced that Washington and Moscow would hold direct talks about Syria, a signal that the rivals could be seeking some compromise in their differing approaches to the country’s civil war.

Joshua Roberts  ReutersSecretary of State John Kerry testifies at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing