Russia denies sending jets, advisers to Syria

Russia denies sending jets, advisers to Syria
Russian Ministry of Defence sources have denied Israeli press reports claiming Russia is deploying jets, troops and advisers in Syria. Earlier, the Kremlin said such intervention is off the agenda
2 min read
02 September, 2015
In an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Assad confirmed Russia is supplying arms to Syria [Getty]
A source in the Russian Defence Ministry has reportedly denied claims Moscow is deploying fighter jets to Syria to fight the Islamic State group (IS).

Speaking to state-backed Russian television RT on Tuesday, the source said: "There has been no redeployment of Russian combat aircraft to the Syrian Arab Republic. The Russian Air Force is at its permanent bases and carrying out normal troop training and combat duty."

Earlier this week, Israeli press reports, citing Western diplomats, claimed that a Russian expeditionary force had arrived in Syria to lead operations against IS militants and Syrian opposition targets, with tacit US approval.

The Israeli reports said that Russian jets would arrive in Syria in the coming days, ahead of thousands of Russian military personnel, advisers, technicians and air defence crews, in addition to the pilots the Israeli reports said would be flying the jets.

The Israeli reports said that while such Russian intervention would "definitely change the existing dynamics in the Middle East," and challenge the Israeli Air Force's "freedom of operation," the Russians do not harbor "offensive intentions towards Israel" and that their main stated goal is battling IS and preserving the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In early August, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had said that the intervention of the Russian military in the Syrian conflict was not on the agenda. However, Russia reportedly continues to deliver military equipment and conduct repairs on Syrian hardware.

Russia also maintains a naval base in Tartus on the Syrian coast, its only permanent naval base in the Mediterranean.