Russia has been dropping bombs on Syria for nearly a year now in its bid to help President Bashar al-Assad win his civil war, but Tuesday marked an important first in the fighting: Russian bombers took off from a base in Iran for strikes on Aleppo and two other provinces. This marks the first time Russia has used a third country for its Syrian strikes, and "it is virtually unheard of in Iran's recent history to allow a foreign power to use one of its bases to stage attacks from," observes the AP. Related coverage:
- The move "is a demonstration of the growing warmth in ties between Moscow and Tehran, the Syrian government's two closest allies," reports the BBC.
- But the move also comes amid reports that Russia is reaching out to the US for help in lifting the siege of Aleppo, where 2 million people are trapped in newly intensified fighting. Reuters has details.
- Given that the US and Russia essentially back opposite sides in the war, any such agreement would be extremely difficult to pull off, explains the New York Times. Their one common foe: ISIS. But "the developments suggested that Russia wished to avoid the appearance of responsibility for the suffering in Aleppo, the once-thriving commercial epicenter of northern Syria that has been a strategic battleground for much of the war."
- Human Rights Watch says Russia and Syria have repeatedly used incendiary weapons in civilian areas in recent weeks.
- A Q&A at Bloomberg explains why Aleppo is so important: If anti-Assad forces are pushed out, it could turn the war.
- NBC News provides a look at an underground hospital for kids in Aleppo.
- Doctors in Aleppo have pleaded for help from President Obama.
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