Russian jets could escort Assad on Iran trip: reports

Paper says Moscow proposed sending jets to protect Syrian president and warned coalition against "getting close".

    Russian warplanes began bombarding opposition targets in Syria on September 30 [Reuters]
    Russian warplanes began bombarding opposition targets in Syria on September 30 [Reuters]

    Russia has proposed sending four fighter jets to escort the plane carrying Syrian President Bashar al-Assad when he makes a visit to the Iranian capital, regional media outlets have reported.

    Al-Diyar, a Lebanese newspaper close to the regime of Assad, said on Monday that Moscow had alerted the US-led coalition not to "get close to Assad's plane in order to avoid an aerial battle".

    It is expected that Assad's plane will fly to Iran through Iraqi airspace, al-Diyar reported.

    Iran's official news agency, Fars, said on Friday that Assad was expected to visit Iran in late December or early January. Al-Diyar reported that the exact date would not be disclosed, citing Syrian intelligence sources.

    The embattled president in October flew to Moscow for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in what was believed to be his first foreign trip since the start of an uprising against him in 2011.

    Fars said on Sunday that the scheduled trip would come as the Syrian army secured victories against "terrorist groups". Tehran, an ally of Assad, adopts the Syrian regime's language and labels most opposition groups as terrorists.

    Russian jets began bombing Syrian opposition targets in September. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Pakistan's tribal areas: 'Neither faith nor union found'

    Residents of long-neglected northwestern tribal belt say incorporation into Pakistan has left them in a vacuum.