Hawaii Intelligence Digest, 11 February 2017, 23:45 hrs, UTC, Post #110.
Accessed on 11 February 2017, 23:45 hrs, UTC.
Reporter: Jeremy Gaunt.
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According to Reuters correspondent Jeremy Gaunt, Iran has again allowed Russian bombers and fighter aircraft to use the Hamaden Air Base to stage attacks against rebel forces fighting Syrian President Assad. In August 2016, Russian aircraft for the first time used an Iranian air base to conduct air strikes in Syria near the city of Aleppo. Russian military officials told Reuters that aircraft using Iranian airspace had finished most of their missions in Syria, but “left open the possibility of using the Hamaden base again if circumstances warranted.”
Reuters correspondent Jeremy Gaunt adds that Iranian defense officials allowed Russian aircraft to use Iranian airspace under strict conditions:
“Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s National Security Council, on Saturday told the semi-official news agency Fars: “Their (Russians’) use of Iran’s air space has continued because we have a fully strategic cooperation with Russia.”
“In the recent cases, Russian fighter planes have only used Iran’s airspace and have not had refuelling operations,” Shamkhani added.
“The agency said Shamkhani was commenting on media reports that Russia’s Tupolev-22M long-range bombers had used Iranian airspace and a base in the country on their missions in Syria, where both Tehran and Moscow back President Bashar al-Assad‘s government.”
“It was not immediately clear if the recent missions were linked to Russian air strikes on Thursday that accidentally killed three Turkish soldiers during an operation against Islamic State in Syria, according to the Turkish military.”
The use of Iran Air Bases is vital to Russia’s continued support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The use of Iranian airspace cuts down the distance Russian bombers and fighters have to fly to reach rebel targets in Syria. The Russian military posture is increasing in Syria, with a naval base already under lease on the Syrian coastline. The basing and fly-over agreement between Russia and Iran complements the mission of both countries, since both Iran and Russia are supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Russia is now becoming a major playmaker in any potential peace agreement reached in the region.
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Hawaii Intelligence Digest