Syria has welcomed Moscow’s intervention yesterday as the Russian air force launched raids against terrorist groups operating in that country. Syrian President Bashar Assad confirmed yesterday that Russian operations were being carried out on the request of the Syrian government.
This was in stark contrast to the Nato bombing of Syria. Nato bombing has no approval from Damascus or even the thin endorsement of a UN security council resolution. In the case of Britain there has not even been a parliamentary vote approving such operations.
Air strikes began hours after Russia’s upper house of parliament approved the use of force in Syria.
President Vladimir Putin was quick to stress that Russia’s intervention would be limited to air attacks, with no question of ground troops being deployed.
“We certainly are not going to plunge head-on into this conflict,” he said.
The air strikes targeted Islamic State (Isis) positions, vehicles and storage facilities, Russian Defence Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov said.
The resolute Russian action is partly a result of suspicion of Nato intent and ability to respond to Isis. Syrian ambassador to Moscow Riad Haddad slammed the ineffective Nato response to Isis.
“The coalition of the US and its allies hasn’t yielded any results,” he said.
“The geographic territory of Isis is expanding. They have captured and continue capturing more cities and villages.”
Russia’s intervention followed a meeting between Mr Putin and US President Barack Obama at the UN on Monday at which they failed to reach agreement on Syria.
In addresses to the UN general assembly, Mr Obama continued to demand that President Assad was removed from office. In contrast Mr Putin blamed the US for the rise of Isis and destabilising the whole region.