- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Russia’s TV news coverage of its controversial bombing campaign in Syria have gone to the next level, with its weather reporters forecasting favorable conditions for its fighter jets flying in the region. 

A female forecaster on the state-owned Rossiya 24 rolling news channel told viewers that Syria’s weather in October was “ideal for carrying out operational sorties,” Agence France Presse reported

The forecaster gave a cheery analysis of the perfect conditions for bombing, while standing in front of an image of a bomber and the headline “Flying weather.” 

Light cloud cover “will not make flying more difficult and will not influence the systems for aiming weapons,” she told viewers on Saturday, AFP reported. 

“Experts note the time for the start of the air operation (in Syria) is chosen very well,” the forecaster said, flicking between weather charts and defense ministry footage of strikes.

While the weather in Syria was “ideal” for air strikes, Russia says it was bad weather that caused a Russian pilot to “accidentally” fly into Turkish airspace. 

Turkey confirmed Monday that a Russian fighter jet had entered its airspace in the Yayladagi region. 

“This current incident is a result of bad weather conditions in this region,” Russian government spokesman Igor Konashenkov told reporters, according to CNN. “You shouldn’t look for conspiracy theories.”

The weather propaganda has drawn criticism online.

“From today, Syria has become another Russian region and is included on the weather,” one Twitter user commented. 

“Even in the USSR they didn’t get propaganda into the forecasts,” wrote reader Tatyana Karagova on the Novaya Gazeta opposition newspaper’s website.

It is not the first time in recent years that Russia’s weather has gone political. TV channels swiftly including Crimea in their forecasts after it was annexed by Moscow in March last year.

Russia’s coverage of its air campaign in Syria has completely eclipsed previous wall-to-wall coverage of the conflicts in Ukraine. 

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