Damascus, Sep 10: Has Russia entered Syria to support the President Bashar al-Assad regime? It has been reported that Russia has sent two tank landing ships and an aircraft to Syria apart from deploying naval infantry forces.
US officials have termed this move by Russia as a small buildup in Syria by Moscow in support of Assad. Whether this move by Russia is to counter the ISIS in support of Assad or not is still unclear.
However US authorities told Reuters that initial indications suggested the focus was on preparing an airfield near the port city of Latakia, an Assad stronghold.
Boost for Assad government
Russia has often questioned the role played by the West in Syria. The Assad government has lost heavily in the past to the ISIS which is threatening major take overs with each passing day.
The accounts of several persons indicate that Russian forces are taking part in military operations in Syria.
Moscow has however not revealed anything much but says that its experts are on the field. The official line from Syria too is that of denial. Like Moscow, even Syrian officials say that Russian experts have increased in number.
The United States of America is however viewing this move by Russia as worrisome. The US says that they suspect Russia is reinforcing support to Assad.
The US is currently opposed to the Assad regime and also is fighting the ISIS on the other hand.
The US had also recently told countries neighbouring Syria to deny airspace to Russia. However Moscow denounced this statement by the US and continues to set up base in Syria.
As of now the numbers are small, but according to the Secretary General of NATO, General Jens Stoltenberg, "growing Russian military activity in Syria were a cause for concern."
Russia on the other hand has said that the Syrian government must be incorporated into a shared global fight against Islamic State. Further it has also said that it would consider additional measures in a bid to fight terrorism in Syria.