NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says Russia has built up “substantial” forces in Syria, and confirmed what everybody knew — that Putin is targeting anti-Assad forces in the west of the country rather than ISIS in the east.
“I will not go into any specific numbers but I can confirm that we have seen the substantial build-up of Russian forces in Syria – air force, air defences but also ground troops in connection with the air base they have,” he continued.
“And we also see increased naval presence of Russian ships and naval capabilities outside Syria or in the eastern part of the Mediterranean.
“So there has been a substantial military build-up by Russia with many different kinds of capabilities and forces, over the last weeks.”
Perhaps the best we can hope for now is that we take turns with the Russians. Putin can accomplish what he wants to do fairly quickly, by pounding the snot out of anti-Assad rebels. Then Russian forces can (mostly) stand down while we go back to ineffectual little pinprick attacks against ISIS.
Obama can tell Putin he’s getting stuck in a “quogmire” all he likes, but that’s just a silly thing to say to the man who flattened Grozny.