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Putin Orders First Air Strikes Against Syrian Jihadists

Sept. 30, 2015 (EIRNS)—Russian President Vladimir Putin has wasted no time in launching bombing operations in Syria in support of the Syrian armed forces that are fighting the Islamic State and other jihadist rebels. By mid-morning U.S. East Coast time, the Pentagon was already confirming that the first Russian bombings of rebel sites near Homs had taken place. U.S. officials were alerted one hour in advance of the strikes, through established channels of communications in Iraq.

Later in the day, Putin went on Russian national television to give the Russian people an initial report, declaring that Russia would act preemptively, taking the war to the jihadists’ own bases, rather than waiting to be attacked. He made clear that Russian actions will be limited to air operations, with no Russian boots on the ground. He said that, as long as the Syrian Army was carrying out offensive operations against ISIS and other jihadist rebel forces, Russian air support would be provided. The Russian military engagement, he noted, will be limited in scope and duration.

Today, both the Russian Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Department of Defense announced that channels of communication were already being established. Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko told Russian media that “Channels for communications between the Defense Ministry and many partners were opened today. Of course, I am convinced that we will find ways to prevent collisions and to boost coordination in this work.”

Defense News also announced that U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter had ordered his staff to start communications with their Russian counterparts for deconfliction. Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told reporters that

“we expect the details of those conversations, including the exact timing of those conversations, will be worked out in the coming days,” to ensure “that ongoing coalition air operations are not interrupted by any future Russian military activity, to ensure the safety of coalition air crews, and to avoid misjudgment and miscalculation.”