Russian Military May Be Joining Fight in Syria
The US and its allies are concerned
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 9, 2015 4:55 PM CDT
Reports suggest Vladimir Putin and Russia are preparing for large-scale military operations in support of the Syrian government.   (Alexei Druzhinin/RIA-Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

(Newser) – If reports from a number of anonymous sources are to be believed, Russia is increasing its military presence in Syria, where a four-year civil war has resulted in 250,000 deaths, and that's worrying to the United States and its allies. The Guardian reports increased sightings of Russian jets, combat vehicles, weapons deliveries, and housing construction near Syrian bases and airfields in recent days. CBS News cites US officials, who claim approximately 100 Russian marines and three large transport planes have been seen at Assad International Airport in the past few days. And Lebanese sources tell Reuters that Russia is establishing two bases in Syria. "The Russians are no longer just advisors," says one of the anonymous sources. "The Russians have decided to join the war against terrorism."

Russia has stated it is supplying weapons to the Syrian government and training Syrian troops to use those weapons in order to combat ISIS and other terrorist groups, CBS reports. In fact, one Russian official says the United States and its allies are creating a "strange hysteria" over Russian activities in the country. But, while the United States is fighting ISIS, it also opposes the current Syrian government, which it sees as responsible for the crisis in the country, according to Reuters. "I am concerned about reports about increased Russian military presence in Syria,” the NATO secretary general said today. "That will not contribute to solving the conflict."