Putin signs decree drafting 150,000 conscripts into the Russian military… as Iran and Hezbollah prepare major ground offensive in Syria with air support from Moscow’s bombers
- Russia launched airstrikes on rebel groups in Syria for second day straight
- Country accused of targeting moderate rebels backed by U.S and not ISIS
- Moscow foreign minister Lavrov has rejected the ‘rumours’ as ‘unfounded’
- Hundreds of Iranian and Hezbollah troops ‘set to launch ground offensive’
Vladimir Putin has conscripted 150,000 new troops into the Russian army as the country unleashed a new wave of airstrikes in Syria – while and Iran and Islamist group Hezbollah prepare for a major ground offensive.
Hundreds of Iranian troops have arrived in Syria over the last ten days, backed by the country’s Lebanese allies, Hezbollah, and rebel fighters from Iraq and Afghanistan, two Lebanese sources claimed today.
One of the sources said the Iranian ground forces were ‘soldiers and officers’, not advisers, adding: ‘We mean hundreds with equipment and weapons. They will be followed by more.’
They are being supported by Russia’s warplanes who bombed camps of rebel fighters trained by the CIA, one of the group’s commanders claimed.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Russia’s airstrikes in Syria were ‘indiscriminate’ and risked prolonging the conflict ‘indefinitely’.
He claimed Russia’s ‘random’ strikes on Syria’s enemies would draw the country deeper into the conflict.
A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed the decree to conscript hundreds of thousands of new troops was not related to the escalating conflict in the Middle East.
Dmitry Peskov, who said Russia is targeting ISIS and other extremist groups, told Sputnik News: ‘This is a regular document which the president signs twice a year.’
It came as Moscow claimed to have attacked 12 ISIS targets including a command centre in Hama and ammunition depots in Idlib on the second day of the aerial campaign.
The area targeted is largely made up of rebel insurgents which, unlike Islamic State, are supported by United States allies such as the Arab states and Turkey.
A Syrian security source said bombs were dropped on a coalition of Islamist rebels including Al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch, the so-called Army of Conquest which fiercely opposes ISIS.
The head of another rebel group, Liwa Suqour al-Jabal, which is part of the Free Syrian Army, said 20 missiles struck their Idlib base in two separate raids
His fighters were trained by the CIA in Qatar and Saudi Arabia as part of a programme Washington said was aimed at supporting groups that oppose ISIS and
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