MESOP INSIDER : Russian Bombers Begin Operations from Iranian Airbase

16 August 2016 – The US military has said that it was notified of the first bombing raids by Russian warplanes using a base in western Iran, with the Tu-22M3 bombers passing through territory where American aircraft also operate against the Islamic State.The spokesman for the US-led coalition in Iraq and Syria, Colonel Christopher Garver, said:The Russians did notify the coalition as per the Memorandum of Understanding for safety of flight. They activated that system, as we have in the past. They informed us they were coming through and we ensured safety of flight as those bombers passed through the area and toward their target and then when they passed out again.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Russia has deployed bombers at an airbase in western Iran for strikes inside Syria, according to both Russian and pro-Assad outlets.

Reports circulated on Monday that the Russian warplanes are positioned at the Hamedan airbase.

The Russian and pro-Assad sites claimed that Tu-22M3 “Backfire” bombers — currently based in southern Russia at the Modzok airfield — will operate from Hamedan, cutting the distance to central Syria from 2,150 km (about 1,340 miles) to 900 km (560 miles).

The Tu-22M3 bomber, one of the largest in the world, is too big to operate from Russian’s Hmeimim base in western Syria.

On Tuesday morning, Russian State outlet RT proclaimed that the bombers — alongside Su-34 jet fighters — carried out their first operations, attacking “terrorist targets” in Aleppo, Deir ez-Zor, and Idlib Provinces.

While RT said the attacks were on the Islamic State and the jihadists of Jabhat al-Nusra, the declared locations indicate that the bombing was also on rebels in northwest Syria.

The Russian Defense Ministry said strikes “eliminated” five weapons depots and training compounds, three command posts, and “a big number of terrorists”.

The Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, said on Tuesday that Tehran and Russia “enjoy strategic cooperation in the fight against terrorism in Syria and share their facilities and capacities to this end”.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his deputy, Hossein Jaberi Ansari, in Tehran on Monday.