Two weeks ago, American intelligence began to notice the movement of Russian artillery units in the vicinity of Aleppo in Northern Syria and in the province of Latakia, where there is a concentration of government troops, The Wall Street Journal writes citing high-ranking sources in the Pentagon. In recent days, such movement of the Russian artillery has increased, which causes US concern about Moscow’s intentions, said the source publication.
The American intelligence there is evidence that some of recently deployed artillery has been used in recent days to support government forces, especially in the battle against banned in Russia the terrorist organization “al-Nusra” writes the WSJ.
The sources claim that Russia has also strengthened in recent days of air support to the Syrian army. According to one high-ranking sources in the Pentagon that Russian aircraft now carries dozens of airstrikes per day, although prior to the entry into force of the truce agreement struck a day before hundreds of strikes.
In late February, after the entry into force of the partial truce, the U.S. intelligence saw the deployment of Russian artillery to the South of the country, writes the WSJ, especially in the areas Tadmor and Palmyra, where the Syrian army had at the time fighting against, not the terrorist organization “Islamic state” (also known as ISIS or ISIL). According to official sources, the Russian military since last year has actively used artillery on the battlefield, and the installation was serviced by Russian soldiers.
Interlocutors of WSJ familiar with the intelligence report that the redeployment of Russian troops in Syria coincided with the return to the frontline zone of the Iranian forces.
Sources said that in private conversations with Russian partners, CIA Director John Brennan warned that the alternative to the current truce can be a dangerous escalation of hostilities. According to the newspaper, the CIA and its partners in the region have compiled a list of weapons to fight with artillery and enemy aircraft, which will be provided to the moderate opposition in case of resumption of full scale hostilities.
The publication notes that in the last days, U.S. President Barack Obama and the White house have been warning about the collapse of the truce without mentioning Russia. The White house declined to comment on the intelligence obtained by the WSJ. Russian representatives in the USA have not given an immediate response to a request from the newspaper for comment.
sent a request to the Ministry of defense of Russia with a request to comment on the publication of the WSJ.
Russia in the autumn of last year was sent to Syria grouping of Military space forces to support the government of Bashar al-Assad in the fight against terrorists. The Russian authorities have repeatedly stressed that they are not planning a ground operation in Syria.
In mid-March 2015 Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the implementation of the “overall” objectives in Syria before the Ministry of defence, and ordered the withdrawal of “the core of our military group”. The head of state noted, the bases of the Russian armed forces in the port of Tartus and at the airbase Hamim will continue to “function as usual, they should be protected from land, sea and air”.
At the end of March, Colonel-General Alexander Dvornikov, the commander of Russian troops in Syria, confirmed in an interview to “Rossiyskaya Gazeta” that the Russian special forces conducts ground operations in the country, while pointing to target aircraft and intelligence.
About Russian artillery in Syria in mid-March was mentioned by the representative of the US-led anti-terrorist coalition Colonel Steve Warren. Then noting the decrease in the number of Russian aircraft, he said that the Russian artillery under the Palmyra remained in their places. Prior to that, the Russian artillery in Syria have been reported.
On Tuesday, the Syrian opposition said that the truce is over, as government forces resumed military operations in Northern and Central Syria, reminded the WSJ.
The deteriorating situation in Syria forced Obama on Monday to call Putin to discuss the situation, said the source publication. In a statement, the White house said that the us President “stressed the need to put pressure on the Syrian regime to halt its offensive on the opposition”.
A truce between the Syrian opposition and government troops was signed on February 27, which led to a relative decrease in the intensity of hostilities between the parties to the agreement. The cease fire does not extend to terrorist organizations.