"We bomb in one hour. Stay out of our way." That was the message from a Russian general to US diplomats on Wednesday as Russian forces began bombing what they say are ISIL positions in Syria.

The Russian government claims the goal of the air strikes is to defeat "ISIL and other terrorist organisations", but Syrian opposition groups claim they are being targeted, leaving many to question if this is an attempt to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In this week's Arena, former KGB Major-General Oleg Kalugin debates Alexander Nekrassov, a former Kremlin adviser, on Putin's motives in war-torn Syria.

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Source: Al Jazeera