On Tuesday, Russia used Iran as a base to launch air strikes against Syrian militants for the first time. This attack will widen its air campaign in Syria and deepen Russia’s involvement in the Middle East.
Long-range Russian Tupolev-22M3 bombers and Sukhoi-34 fighter bombers are being used at Iran’s Hamadan air base to strike a range of targets in Syria. This marks the first time that Russia has used another nation’s territory (apart from Syria) to launch strikes since the Kremlin launched a bombing campaign in September 2015.
Additionally, it is the first time Iran has allowed a foreign power to use its territory for military operations since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
The deployment will boost Russia’s image as a main player in the Middle East and allow the Russian air forces to increase bombing payloads.
Aleppo Is Being Targeted
Iraqui Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi gave Russia permission last Tuesday to use Iraq which borders Iran and Syria, to use its airspace with the understanding the planes use corridors along Iraq’s borders and not fly over the Iraqi cities.
The same permission was granted to air forces of a separate United States-led coalition flying to Syria to Kuwait.
Tuesday’s strikes targeted Islamic State and militants known as the Nusra Front in Aleppo, Idlib and Deir al Zour provinces.
Russian Defense Ministry commented that it is taking great care to avoid civilian casualties.
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