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US concerned about Russian intervention in Syria

September 8, 2015 at 11:19 am

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday has expressed America’s concerns following reports of Russian military movements in Syria, the State Department said.

In a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, “the secretary made clear that if such reports were accurate, these actions could further escalate the conflict, lead to greater loss of innocent life, increase refugee flows and risk confrontation with the anti-ISIL coalition operating in Syria,” the department said, using an acronym for Islamic State.

Media reports on Friday quoted US officials as saying that Washington has spotted suspicious Russian military movements in Syria to support Bashar Al-Assad’s regime.

Reuters quoted an unidentified US security source as saying that there are signs of a Russian move to intervene beyond the robust support of the last few years but did not elaborate. The source told the agency that the United States will be watching to see whether any increased Russian might in Syria will be used to push back the Islamic State or to bolster Al-Assad.

The New York Times quoted unidentified US administration officials as saying that Russia has dispatched a advance team to Syria, sent prefabricated housing units for hundreds of people to a Syrian airfield and delivered a portable air traffic control station there.

Some US officials said the temporary housing suggested Russia could deploy up to 1,000 advisers or other military personnel to the airfield that serves Latakia, Syria’s principal port city, the Times reported.

Syrian activists have published images of what they claimed were Russian soldiers fighting alongside the Syrian regime forces.

The images showed gunmen in Russian military uniforms in one of the Assad regime’s military units without specifying the place.