- - Monday, November 23, 2015

Russian troops have joined the fight in Syria, pushing rebel forces fighting the Assad regime from a prominent elevations and strategic positions in-country. The Kuwaiti newspaper, al-Rai, published the report which specified that Russian combined arms, including tanks and air support, pushed the rebel forces from the high ground near Idlib and Latakia. No Russian casualties were mentioned.

The report, although unconfirmed, comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his military to cooperate with French forces in the region to avenge the Paris terrorist attacks. The Russian military has stepped up airstrikes after the Islamic State claimed responsibility for downing a Russian civilian airliner with a bomb in the cargo hold. In addition, the Kremlin has struck positions in Syria with long range cruise missiles fired from naval vessels in the Mediterranean and Caspian Sea.

Last week, a massive bomber raid, using more than 25 long-range platforms launched from inside Russia, with fighter escort, attacked ISIS positions in Syria.

In addition to fighting the Islamic State and supporting the Assad regime militarily, Russia seems intent on showcasing its new-found military strength for NATO eyes as well. Reports of the Red Army testing new combat tactics and equipment have circulated as well in the media.

“Our objectives are being fulfilled and fulfilled well,” Mr. Putin recently told military commanders, according to the RIA Novosti news agency. “But for now that is not enough to cleanse Syria of rebels and terrorists and to protect Russians from possible terrorist attacks. The military campaign has not achieved enough and a next phase is needed.”

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