The Washington Post reports: Russian bombers flying from an Iranian air base struck rebel targets across Syria on Tuesday, Russian and Iranian officials said, dramatically underscoring the two countries’ growing military ties and highlighting Russia’s ambitions for greater influence in a turbulent Middle East.
The long-range Tu-22 bombers took off from a base near Hamadan in western Iran and launched raids in the Syrian provinces of Aleppo, Deir al-Zour and Idlib, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement. The ministry said the bombers were accompanied by Russian fighter jets based in Syria.
Both countries are staunch allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but the flights marked the first time Russia has launched strikes from Iranian territory.
Iran has long banned foreign militaries from establishing bases on its soil. But the raids appeared to signal a budding alliance that would expand Russia’s military footprint in the region. [Continue reading…]