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Russia: no military force in Syria without govt approval

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Russia has confirmed sending special forces troops to Syria over the past few weeks to support its mission backing the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Commander of US Naval Force Europe Admiral Mark Ferguson told an audience in Washington the Russian Navy had ramped up operations.

Russia has been disputing the allegations as well as media reports, having questioned the credentials of the source that the information is based on. Having support from both Russia and the West, the Kurds could potentially become a uniting force capable of bringing Russia and the United States closer together in their fight against ISIS in Syria.

USA analyst for Brookings Institution Garrett Campbell said this was a "previously unknown capability".

Despite Islamic State's "considerable losses and mass walkout", it's too early to talk about "complete victory" over the terrorists in Syria, Kartapolov stressed, adding the militants are continuing their stand against Syrian government troops in a number of regions.

The protests and the unrest of local groups against President Assad's regime since 2011 have created a frenzied situation where now many militant groups are active to carve out a power house of their own. Russia is forming Mediterranean squadron of warships again (for the first time since the breakup of the USSR), therefore the port of Tartus is strategically very important.

"We will stand alongside whoever battles the Daesh mentality", Muslim said in the October 1 interview. Obama's backpedaling over not putting United States forces on the ground in Syria, a move that appears a direct response to Russian maneuvering, simply underscores the shift in influence.

According to Lavrov, the meeting in Vienna was required to establish accord between countries interested in settling the conflict in Syria. Putin may have in mind a lesson expressed by the late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who said, "When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong horse". There is no doubt that without the participation of Iran no political solution to the Syrian conflict could be achieved. Nusra is al-Qaida's Syrian affiliate, and one of the largest rebel groups in Syria's civil war.

The only provinces without recorded Russian strikes are regime stronghold Tartus, majority-Druze Sweida, Quneitra on the ceasefire line with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, and Hasakeh, much of which is administered by Kurdish forces.

Delegates at the Manama conference, a rare regional talking shop on security, included ministers, diplomats and intelligence officials from countries in the Middle East and North Africa, Gulf Arab states as well as the United States and Britain.

 

ISIS, also known as the Islamic State or ISIL, is known for the major human rights violations it has committed while taking over territory in Syria and Iraq.

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