Russia Throws Iran into the Fray in the Fight on ISIS

Earlier this morning, Zaman English, who covers a good deal of live time events related to ISIS, Boko Haram and conflicts in the Gulf and North Africa — reported the Russian Defense Ministry issuing a statement on an attack launched from Iran:

The ministry said the strikes, by Tupolev-22M3 long-range bombers and Sukhoi-34 fighter bombers, were launched from Iran’s Hamadan air base.

It is thought to be the first time that Russia has struck targets inside Syria from Iran since it launched a bombing campaign to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in September last year.

The move shows Russia is expanding its role and presence in the Middle East and comes amid Russian media reports Moscow has asked Iran and Iraq for permission to fire cruise missiles at Syrian targets across their territory from the Caspian Sea.

The ministry said Tuesday’s strikes had targeted Islamic State and militants previously known as the Nusra Front in the Aleppo, Idlib and Deir al Zour provinces.

This marks the first major move in the region from Russian fighters based in Iran. It’s also noteworthy to consider that these fighters have to cross Iraqi airspace, in order to deploy their payoads.

Russia has extended their reach in the region due to large numbers of Russian fighters having joined ISIS in the past 18 months. This move is worth keeping an eye on, as Russian moves towards hegemony across the Gulf is a double-edged sword that can have longer term implications for Arab interests, as well as the US and Israel.

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