Russian news site RT has posted a video report showing Su-34 Fullbacks operating at Russia’s growing airbase located south of the Syrian port city of Latakia. As far as I know, this is the first photographic evidence showing Russia’s most potent strike fighter in Syria, although they were rumored to have arrived last week. This confrimation comes as the U.S. appears to be moving more of its most advanced aerial assets into the region.
Along with the Su-34s, the video shows heavily armed Su-25 Frogfoots as well as Su-24 Fencers at the air base. AN-124 Condors can also be seen. These massive cargo aircraft have been a crucial component of the air bridge between Russia and Syria that has emerged over the last month or so.
The report also has an interview from an on-site Russian military official who claims that strikes are pinpoint in nature and aimed only against ISIS. This is contrary to what many others are saying, that in fact the targets Russia has struck largely belonged to the CIA backed Free Syrian Army and other moderate anti-Assad forces.
It seems that although the Russian air war in Syria may be just beginning, it looks like it will include an extension of the war of perception that has been raging between the west and Russia since the invasion of Crimea over a year and a half ago.
Meanwhile, Iran has announced that it will be putting ground troops into Syria to fight alongside Assad’s fledgling army. These will include Iranian, Hezbollah, and Iraqi Shiite militia fighters, with Russia providing air cover for the force. Such a step is a massive escalation in what is becoming a much larger regional conflict. One that seems to be growing in scope at an alarming rate.
Top image credit via video screen capture, middile photo via N425NV/Wikicommons, Hezbollah picture via AP
Contact the author Tyler@Jalopnik.com