Russia warns of ‘unintended incidents’ if US doesn’t cooperate on Syria
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Russia is asking for American cooperation on military efforts in Syria amid an escalating migrant crisis in order to avoid “unintended incidents,” according to Reuters.
The former Cold War enemies are both engaging in military operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the region, with Russia performing naval exercises off the coast of the war-torn state and the U.S. using Syrian airspaces to launch a series of strikes.
But the nations take opposing stances on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. Russian President Vladimir Putin has publicly backed Assad, while the U.S. has maintained that his presence only further destabilizes the region.
U.S. officials believe around 200 Russian naval infantry are stationed at an airfield near Latakia, an Assad stronghold, with the number quickly increasing as Russia looks to establish a major air operations base.
Russia says its servicemen are only in Syria to help service equipment and supplies to Syria.
Russia is sending two SA-22 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, two Western officials told Reuters. Moscow also sent two tank landing ships and other aircraft to Syria earlier this week.
U.S. intelligence remains uncertain as to Russia’s ultimate motive in the region.
Damascus has denied Russian involvement in the conflict.
Syria is engaged in four-year-old civil war that has left over 250,000 people dead and millions more displaced.