Earlier Tuesday, three Russian warships arrived in the Eastern Mediterranean to signal an end to the Kremlin’s negotiations with President Obama’s cease-fire initiative in the region. This has been one of the largest Russian military presences in the region since the beginning of the conflict in Syria.
The vessels were sent to the aid of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad last week and included the Russian Federation’s only Aircraft Carrier, according to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
Above: Russian Federation Aircraft Carrier Admiral Kuznetsov. Credit: Mil.ru
Shoigu stated that Russian warplanes would attack rebel-held provinces of Idlib and Hom, specifically seeking to destroy training camps, ammunition supply depots, and armaments factories. He made no mention of Aleppo, the rebel-held city front of the conflict located less than ninety miles from the coast.
The British organization Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said otherwise, reporting that several Russian missiles had landed in eastern Aleppo. Moscow denied any involvement, saying that it had been nearly a month since an offensive had been conducted in the area.
Russian Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, a military member specializing in army press service, insists that Russia’s hands are clean, rebutting recent claims of broken Geneva conventions by the U. S. and its allies as “outright lies.”
This ‘peaceful’ regard toward Aleppo by the Kremlin may not last long. Aside from Moscow’s long history of broken promises and faulty statements about the Syrian conflict, U. S. Satellites have detected long-range Tu-95 “Bear” and Tu-160 “Blackjack” bombers prepping in Engels Air Force base in southern Russia. Other U. S. reconnaissance has revealed Russian Federation MiG-29K fighter jets arriving in Syria. While none of these aircraft have participated in any attacks conducted within the past week, officials claim that may change.
It remains to be seen what the U. S. response will be, as this follows on the heals of new information regarding Iran, a circumstantial Russian ally, and its second infringement on the Iranian Nuclear Deal.