Putin moves troops from Ukraine to Syria

Michael Weiss and Ben Nimmo report: Reuters confirmed Wednesday what The Daily Beast first reported last week — not only have Russian troops been deployed to Syria but they are indeed taking part in active combat operations, although against which of the manifold enemies of the Assad regime remains unclear.

U.S. government sources told the news agency that two tank landing ships, aircraft and naval infantry forces have arrived in Syria in the past 24 hours, with the largest buildup occurring in Latakia, the northwest coastal province — ancestral home of the Assad family — which Islamist rebels have been fiercely contesting of late. Russia, Reuters confirmed, is constructing a new airfield in Latakia, which would represents its second military installation in Syria after its decades-old naval supply base in Tartus, also its only warm-water port since the end of the Soviet Union.

One U.S. intelligence official told The Daily Beast that Moscow likely taken the decision to directly intervene in the four-and-a-half-year civil war following opposition gains, contrary to what Vladimir Putin told reporters last week—that any such talk was “premature.” [Continue reading…]

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