Russia launches air strikes in Syria

Russia has carried out air strikes in rebel-controlled Hama province. Moscow claims that it is attacking ISIS although Syrian activists have claimed that the areas that have been struck are not ISIS territory.

Russia has been increasing its military presence in Syria at a time where the Assad regime has suffered a series of setbacks, most notably in Idlib. Putin at a press conference in New York where he attended the UN summit criticised nations that were assisting and arming groups fighting against Assad, and has used his trip to the US to insist that a solution to Syria can only be brought about by assisting the Syrian regime and ensuring the success of the ‘legitimate’ Syrian army.

Russia and the US have been at odds over Syria with the former backing the regime and the latter claiming that Assad could not be allowed to continue ruling the country. Putin and Obama have accordingly exchanged barbs, accusing one another of aggravating or prolonging the conflict.