Three Lebanese sources familiar with the political and military situation in Syria revealed that Russian forces have secretly begun participating in military operations in Syria in support of government troops, the Reuters website reports exclusively today (September 9, 2015).
The sources -- speaking to Reuters on condition they not be identified -- gave the most forthright account yet from the region of what the United States fears is a deepening Russian military role in Syria's civil war -- now in its fifth year.
U.S. officials said Russia sent two tank landing ships and additional cargo aircraft to Syria in the past day or two, and deployed a small number of naval infantry forces.
The U.S. officials -- who also spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity -- said the intent of Russia's military moves in Syria was unclear. One suggested the focus of Russian activity may be on preparing an airfield near the port city of Latakia, a stronghold of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.