Scottish Daily Mail
Now Putin calls up 150,000 conscripts
RUSSIA has said it will call up almost 150,000 new army conscripts – days after Vladimir Putin began his new war in Syria.
Under a presidential decree, 147,100 18 to 27-year-olds will be drafted in over the next few months. While the Kremlin denies the move is to beef up its Syrian offensive, concerns have been raised over Putin’s plans for the war-torn nation.
But his spokesman claimed the decree was a ‘regular document that the president signs twice a year’, added that it has ‘no relation to Syria’.
An aerial offensive against Islamic State militants began on Wednesday, with heavy Russian military equipment pictured in the region yesterday.
The large military gear was being sent to Syria from key Black Sea port Novorossiysk – hinting at a potential future land operation. Pro-Kremlin blogger Boris Rozhin said it consisted of new and modern machinery, i ncluding f i ve armoured military trucks and 20 tanks.
He added: ‘If you take a close look at the photo, you’ll realise transport painted in these colours can only be used in a desert, where it will blend with Syrian sand. From Russia with love!’
The conscription decree was posted on the administration’s website, stating it would take place f r om October 1 to December 31.
Putin has surprised the West numerous times in the last few weeks, first by deploying warplanes and tanks to Syria and later by announcing an intelligence-sharing deal with Iran.
His support f or dictator Bashar al-Assad led him to call for a new coalition against IS at the UN General Assembly.
Russia also admitted that it has used its military satellites to obtain ‘intelligence’ to pinpoint targets to hit in Syria.
A spokesman for its defence ministry said a ‘battalion task group of marines with reinforcements’ was guarding an airbase near the city of Latakia, where pilots from Siberia are now based.