THE RUSSIAN BEAR LUMBERS INTO SYRIA
As the Syrian Civil War ground to a stalemate this year, one major player who had hitherto been pulling strings from the background, took centre stage in a sudden and dramatic fashion. At the request of the Assad regime, Russian warplanes started bombing “terrorist targets” since September 30, primarily in Northwestern Syria. Critics have accused Russia of targeting opposition fighters and helping strengthen President Bashar Al Assad's hand in the war under the pretext of fighting the Islamic State.
Russian Sukhoi Su-24 bomber taking off from the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. AFP PHOTO / KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA / ALEXANDER KOTS