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Russia’s use of Iranian airbase ups ante in Syria and the wider regional proxy war

Another major shift in the geopolitics and military direction of the Syrian conflict seemed to have been recorded when, on 16 August, Russian Tu-22M3 long-range bombers and Su-34 strike fighters used the Shahid Nojeh airbase, 50km north of Hamedan in western Iran, to hit Islamic State (IS or Daesh) and Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham (formerly known as Jabhat Al-Nusra) arms depots, command posts and training camps in Aleppo, Deir Ez-Zor and Idlib provinces. It was the first time Iran had allowed another country’s forces to use it as a base for military operations since the 1979 revolution and emphasised President Vladimir Putin’s growing domination of the regional agenda.

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