Moscow has rejected reports by Israeli media that it aims to deploy fighter jets and military personnel to Syria to help the Arab country in its battle against ISIS.
Syrian defense sources also denied the reports concerning the alleged arrival of the Russian jets in Syria, al-Masdar reported.
Press TV reports: : “There has been no redeployment of Russian combat aircraft to the Syrian Arab Republic,” the website of Russia’s television network RT quoted an unnamed source as saying on Tuesday.
“The Russian Air Force is at its permanent bases and carrying out normal troop training and combat duty,” the source added.
Moscow’s rebuttal came a day after Israeli news website Ynetnews claimed that Moscow plans to dispatch thousands of its military personnel to the violence-wracked Arab country “in the coming weeks.”
“Thousands of Russian military personnel are set to touch down in Syria, including advisors, instructors, logistics personnel, technical personnel, members of the aerial protection division, and the pilots who will operate the aircraft,” read the Ynetnews report, quoting unnamed Western diplomats.
The report further added that “a Russian expeditionary force” had recently set up an airbase near the Syrian capital Damascus.
Back on August 16, Turkey’s English-language daily BGN News also reported that Moscow had provided Damascus with six Mikoyan MiG-31 fighter jets under a contract inked between the two sides in 2007.
Sergei Korotkov, the head of the Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG, dismissed the report a few days later, saying, “We have not delivered this [type of] aircraft to Syria and are not going to supply them there.”