Report: Russia sending 150,000 troops to Syria to battle ISIS

A report in England's Daily Express says that Russian president Vladimir Putin is going to send 150,000 troops to Syria in order to kick the Islamic State out of their capital in Raqqa.

An insider revealed: "It is very clear that Russia wants to sweep up the west of the country, taking Raqqa and all the oil and gas resources around Palmyra.

"This is fast becoming a race to Raqqa – to secure the oil fields they need to cleanse the region of insurgents, and the IS capital is vital to do that."

It comes a day after Russian jets obliterated nine ISIS outposts in just 24 hours using bunker-busting bombs.

Russian jets pounded , potentially killing dozens of fighters.

Confirming the successful raids, Andrei Kartapolov from the Russian army vowed to ramp up the pressure, saying: "We will not only continue strikes... We will also increase their intensity."

And Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said: "Over the past 24 hours, Sukhoi Su-34 and Su-24M fighter jets have performed 20 sorties and hit nine Islamic State installations.

“A bunker-busting BETAB-500 air bomb dropped from a Sukhoi Su-34 bomber near Raqqa has eliminated the command post of one of the terror groups, together with an underground storage facility for explosives and munitions.

"These and other highly exact means of attack in recent days have been used to target objects of Islamic State terrorists.

"Command posts, stores of weapons and oil products, workshops where weapons of suicide bombers are made."

There is little doubt that the Russian military is ramping up its campaign against all insurgents in Syria, but would it really commit 150,000 troops to the fight?

The Daily Express has, shall we say, a spotty record of accuracy.  It's a tabloid that has printed wild conspiracy theories about the death of Princess Diana, among other problematic stories, so the provenance of this report should be questioned with skepticism.

Also, Russia has a limited ability to project its military power beyond its own neighborhood.  It would take months to get 150,000 Russian soldiers and their equipment to Syria.

More likely, the Iranians and their proxy militia Hezb'allah would be employed for such an operation, but probably only after they have degraded the other rebels fighting Assad's army.  Cutting Assad's opposition down to size so that they have less ability to launch offensives would appear to be the number-one priority of the Russian air force currently pounding rebel positions.

But as a nightmare scenario, can you imagine 150,000 Russian troops in the Middle East and what that would do to what's left of our strategic position? 

A report in England's Daily Express says that Russian president Vladimir Putin is going to send 150,000 troops to Syria in order to kick the Islamic State out of their capital in Raqqa.

An insider revealed: "It is very clear that Russia wants to sweep up the west of the country, taking Raqqa and all the oil and gas resources around Palmyra.

"This is fast becoming a race to Raqqa – to secure the oil fields they need to cleanse the region of insurgents, and the IS capital is vital to do that."

It comes a day after Russian jets obliterated nine ISIS outposts in just 24 hours using bunker-busting bombs.

Russian jets pounded , potentially killing dozens of fighters.

Confirming the successful raids, Andrei Kartapolov from the Russian army vowed to ramp up the pressure, saying: "We will not only continue strikes... We will also increase their intensity."

And Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said: "Over the past 24 hours, Sukhoi Su-34 and Su-24M fighter jets have performed 20 sorties and hit nine Islamic State installations.

“A bunker-busting BETAB-500 air bomb dropped from a Sukhoi Su-34 bomber near Raqqa has eliminated the command post of one of the terror groups, together with an underground storage facility for explosives and munitions.

"These and other highly exact means of attack in recent days have been used to target objects of Islamic State terrorists.

"Command posts, stores of weapons and oil products, workshops where weapons of suicide bombers are made."

There is little doubt that the Russian military is ramping up its campaign against all insurgents in Syria, but would it really commit 150,000 troops to the fight?

The Daily Express has, shall we say, a spotty record of accuracy.  It's a tabloid that has printed wild conspiracy theories about the death of Princess Diana, among other problematic stories, so the provenance of this report should be questioned with skepticism.

Also, Russia has a limited ability to project its military power beyond its own neighborhood.  It would take months to get 150,000 Russian soldiers and their equipment to Syria.

More likely, the Iranians and their proxy militia Hezb'allah would be employed for such an operation, but probably only after they have degraded the other rebels fighting Assad's army.  Cutting Assad's opposition down to size so that they have less ability to launch offensives would appear to be the number-one priority of the Russian air force currently pounding rebel positions.

But as a nightmare scenario, can you imagine 150,000 Russian troops in the Middle East and what that would do to what's left of our strategic position?