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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
October 1, 2015

Publication: Putin in Syria
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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
PM al-Abadi 'Would Welcome' Russian Air Strikes On Iraqi Territory

The Washington Post reports that Haider al-Abadi, the Iraqi prime minister, has told France24 that he would welcome Russian air strikes on Iraqi territory.

"It’s a possibility; if we get the offer we’ll consider it,” he said in an interview with France 24 television in New York that is due to be broadcast Thursday. “In actual fact, I would welcome it.”

However, airstrikes have not been discussed “yet,” Abadi told the network Wednesday night...

"I think there’s a lot of political bickering at the moment which may make things worse, but if we can direct our resources towards fighting Daesh, that will be a good day for Iraq, Syria, for the region,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State. 


-- Pierre Vaux
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Putin Denies Attacks on Syrian Civilians; Calls on US to Form Information Exchange
In remarks to the Russian media, President Vladimir Putin dismissed claims by the West and Saudi Arabia today that Russian air strikes in Syria hit residential areas, killing at least 36 civilians, including children, TASS reported. Calling such reports "information attacks," Putin remarked (translation by The Interpreter):

"For more than a year now, other countries have been delivering strikes on Syrian territory -- for more than a year. [These actions] have been done without a resolution from the UN Security Council and without the appropriate request from the official Syrian authorities. We have such a request and we intend to fight exactly the terrorist organizations.

As for media information regarding the suffering of the civilian population, we are prepared for these information attacks. The first reports that there were casualties among the civilian population appeared before our planes even reached altitude."

Putin also reiterated that he hoped that Russia and the US would create a regularly operating mechanism to exchange information on Syria. But he added that this did not mean that Russia should heed "information attacks":

"It is precisely for this reason that we are establishing contacts between our intelligence services, between our intelligence services and those of the US, and between our defense ministries. This work is under way, and I hope that it will end with the creation of a permanently operating mechanism.

We have already created another international mechanism in Baghdad in which several countries take part and constant work is underway there."


Russia has recently formed a coordinating center with Iran, Iraq and Syria, which opened up the question of whether US advisers providing information to Iraq would now be sharing it involuntarily with Russia.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Not Intervening Can Be as Great a Risk as Intervening
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russian Airstrikes In Syria Clearing The Way For Iranian and Hezbollah Ground Assault -- Reuters
Reuters is running this headline:

The main focus of this new assault, backed by Iranian and Hezbollah fighters, will reportedly be key strongholds of the anti-Assad rebels -- areas where there is now heavy bombing by Russian aircraft:

Hundreds of Iranian troops have arrived in Syria in the last 10 days and will soon join government forces and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies in a major ground offensive backed by Russian air strikes, two Lebanese sources told Reuters.

"The (Russian) air strikes will in the near future be accompanied by ground advances by the Syrian army and its allies," said one of the sources familiar with political and military developments in the conflict.

"It is possible that the coming land operations will be focused in the Idlib and Hama countryside," the source added.

The two sources said the operation would be aimed at recapturing territory lost by President Bashar al-Assad's government to rebels.

-- James Miller

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
John McCain Says Rebels Targeted By Russian Air Strikes Were Armed And Trained By CIA

US Senator John McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, has told CNN that rebel fighters trained and armed by the CIA were among those targeted by Russian air strikes:

“I can absolutely confirm to you that they were strikes against the Free Syrian Army or groups that have been armed and trained by the CIA because we have communication with people there."

The rebels appear to be reporting the same thing:

Yesterday, a Free Syrian Army rebel unit was struck in Al Lataminah in northwest Hama province. Those rebels gave interviews to media outlets in which they said that they had recently received TOW anti-tank missiles from a "foreign power." The Institute for the Study of War told The Interpreter that the group that was hit was Tajama’a al-Izza, a group which had received anti-tank missiles from Turkey. We know, however, that all groups that are receiving arms would have to be cleared by the US. It's not clear, however, whether Tajama’a al-Izza is the group referenced by John McCain or AFP.

-- James Miller, Pierre Vaux

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