Russian official news agency TASS reported Friday that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Russia is ready to send combat troops to Syria if “asked” by Syrian President Bashar Assad. This comes on the heels of reports that the Syrian army is in fact using new shipments of sophisticated weapons against their enemies in the Levant.
Russia seems to be all in Syria while the Ukraine conflict has been put on ice. Perhaps two active fronts is a bridge too far for the Kremlin’s capabilities at the moment. As we reported yesterday, Russian leader Vladimir Putin may be attempting to force the issue in Syria in order to gain a bargaining chip for sanctions relief.
There are reports that Russian troops are already active in the battle against Islamic State fighters in the Levant. The precision artillery and antiaircraft weapons now employed could definitely turn the tide in the Syrian civil war. Russian infantry and armor would completely be a game-changer for the Assad regime.
In response to the stepped-up Russian involvement in the Middle East, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is flying to Moscow to meet with Mr. Putin on Monday. Mr. Netanyahu is most likely concerned with these weapons falling into the hands of Israel’s enemy, Hezbollah, the Iranian terror group in Lebanon, which has been actively involved in supporting the Iran-backed Assad regime against ISIS.
U.S. Secretary of State Kerry has stated that the United States will accept Russia’s offer for talks on the Syrian situation. As always, it seems the Obama administration is leading from behind.
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