Senior US lawmakers have begun probing possible intelligence lapses over Moscow’s intervention in Syria, concerned that American spy agencies were slow to grasp the scope and intention of Russia’s military offensive there, congressional sources and officials report. Findings of major blind spots would mark the latest of several US intelligence misses in recent years, including Moscow’s surprise takeover of Ukraine’s Crimea region last year and China’s rapid expansion of island-building activities in the South China Sea.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said Thursday that it launched cruise missiles at ISIS targets in Syria overnight, targeting command centers, ammunition dumps, training camps and facilities for production of explosives and artillery shells. It said the missiles were launched from four warships in the Caspian Sea.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday there would be no more talks with the US after the nuclear deal, contradicting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani who offered talks with Washington on Syria. "Through negotiations Americans seek to influence Iran ... but there are naive people in Iran who don't understand this," Khamenei was quoted as saying to the IRGC commanders.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at Jerusalem city police headquarters Wednesday: “We are still in the middle of a wave of terror. We are dealing firmly with terrorists, lawbreakers and inciters, placing all our resources at the disposal of security forces and employing the necessary methods for combating this wave of terror. We have known such situations before and we shall overcome this one too by resolve, responsibility and unity.”
feared Spetsnaz unit (pictured above) and a covert para battalion ghosted into the war-torn country and are preparing for an all-out assault on rebels fighting the regime.
A military source said: “Putin’s marines are there to guard the airbases they are using against rebels.”
"But Spetsnaz and air-assault troops are not there to provide security to static objects, they are extremely aggressive and highly trained.”
“They are there to mop up after air strikes, call in air strikes, go on extremely covert missions against rebels and ultimately wipe them out.”
“And they will not be as accountable as British or US special forces. They are there for one reason, to wipe out anyone threatening Assad by any means.”
"They will be consolidating Russia’s position on the Med and in the Middle East.”
Most of the targets in Northern Syria have been al-Qaeda affiliates.
The Spetsnaz – Special Purpose Soldiers – have been joined by the 7th Air Assault Mountain Division.
They are among Russia’s toughest and most shadowy troops, many of whom have fought dirty wars in Chechnya where they built up a deep hatred of jihadists.
They went on bloody revenge missions against local jihad units to punish them for atrocities against Russian troops and civilians.
Meanwhile Saudi clerics called on Muslim countries to back holy war against Syria and its Iranian and Russian backers.
The Sunnis support al-Qaeda and IS against Shia supporters of Assad. Saudi has joined air strikes on IS in Syria.