Russia’s Foreign Ministry is confirming once again that they have a number of military advisers on the ground in Syria, saying they’ve had these troops in the country for a long time and that it’s never been any kind of secret.
The comments came in response to a flurry of reports, mostly coming out of Reuters, that reported Russia having these advisers in Russia, and some outlets extending this to claim active Russian combat forces had suddenly been discovered in Syria.
The Russian Foreign Ministry defended the advisers, saying they are puzzled by the sudden “hysteria” and interest over deployments which they’ve had in Syria virtually throughout the civil war, insisting the deployments are fully consistent with international law.
There doesn’t seem to be any dispute that this is the case, and Russia’s advisory deployment appears much, much smaller than the US deployment in neighboring Iraq, both of them aiming to prop up their respective allies’ fight against ISIS.
The lack of evidence that Russia is doing anything new or indeed particularly unusual isn’t stopping US allies from railing against Russia’s “military engagement,” warning that it risks escalation of the already region-wide war.