Russia has suddenly stopped using an Iranian airbase to launch airstrikes in Syria. Both Moscow and Tehran have confirmed Russian planes have returned home.
Last week Russia announced what it called an increase in cooperation with Iran. The raids were the first carried by Russia from a third country since it began an air campaign to support Syrian President Bashar al Assad almost a year ago, and also the first launched from Iranian soil by a foreign military since World War Two.
A statement issued by the Russian Defense Ministry said Monday that as long as Iran agreed, Russia could use the Iranian air base again, “depending on the situation” in Syria.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi told reporters in Tehran that the Russian airstrikes on militants in Syria were “temporary, based on a Russian request…. but that is finished for now.”
Washington spokesman Mark Toner from the State Department said the situation was being monitored.
“I’d have to refer you frankly to the governments of Russia and Iran to speak to what happened, we’re monitoring it closely, we continue to, it’s not clear to us other than what we’ve seen in various press and public statements whether (Russia) their use of this airbase has definitively stopped, but we’ll continue to watch it closely. “