Four Russian fighter jets deployed in Syria: US official
Russia has deployed four fighter jets to an airbase in Syria where it has been building up forces in recent weeks, alarming Washington, a US official said Friday.
The United States has expressed deep concern about Russia’s moves to support Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad’s regime, but has opened talks with Moscow on how their forces can avoid getting in each other’s way.
A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed reports that four Russian jets had been seen on the ground at Latakia air base in western Syria, the heart of a Russian force build-up in the country.
Both Moscow and Washington say they want to fight the Islamic State jihadist group in Syria but differ over how to treat Assad’s regime, which Russia sees as a bulwark against the extremists.
The United States and its Arab allies blame Assad for triggering a civil war within his own country through persecuting Syrian civilians and thus creating the chaos that has allowed the IS revolt to flourish.