Babak Taghvaee reports on a Russian Naval exercise in the Eastern Mediterranean timed to coincide with Syrian President Assad’s latest war offensive
PLANNING FOR the launch of an offensive by the Syrian Arab Army to clear the Idlib province from the hands of anti-Assad opposition, jihadist groups and a regime desperate to claim it has won the war started in March. Assad’s objective operation could not be launched before the rebel held parts of Damascus and areas in the south of the country close to the Golan Heights had been cleared. Because of Assad’s limited air power, Russian Air Force support has been necessary in all of his operations to achieve his goals. Russia is a major player in Assad’s Idlib offensive. The Russian Air Force deployed eight Su-24M2s and eight Su-34s bombers, four Su- 35S interceptors and Russian Naval Aviation sent Su-30SMs and Su-33 fighters, all flying from Hmeimim Air Base, Latakia.