According to the Britian-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the Assad regime is now using newly acquired Russian warplanes to attack ISIS sites in Syria's northern Aleppo province.
The attacks are concentrated around the Kweiris airbase, east of Aleppo province. Russian airplanes flown by Syrian pilots were accompanied by the regime's ground troops. The air strikes which began earlier this week targeted the area where Assad regime forces were surrounded by ISIS militants.
Russia has recently bolstered its support to its ally, the Assad regime, with fighter jets, artillery and ground forces. Russia also supports Assad to be a part of the coalition led by US against ISIS, while the US sees Assad as part of the problem in the Syrian civil war.
While the US has been conducting its own air strikes against ISIS militants in Syria and Iraq, old foe of the US during the cold war period, Russia is helping the Assad regime with air strikes.The US also warned Syria not to interfere with its air campaign.
“The US considers that the support for Syrian President Bashar Assad is destabilising and counterproductive," White House spokesman Josh Earnest warned on Sept. 4
US State Department spokesman John Kirby previously said that the US was against new Russian-led efforts to combat ISIS, adding that the US-led coalition was already fulfilling that role.
According to US officials, 28 Russian fighter jets were spotted deployed at the Bassel al Assad Airport in Latakia, while Russian media has confirmed that around 1,700 Russian military specialists have been deployed in Tartus, where Russia is expanding its only naval repair base in the Mediterranean, which is key to Russia maintaining any kind of substantial naval presence in region.
According to reports, Russia has mainly been concentrating its activities in Syria along the country’s eastern Mediterranean coastal governorates of Tartus and Latakia - both strongholds of the regime and Assad’s minority Alawite sect.