Russia now is running airstrikes against Syrian targets from an airbase in Iran. Russia also is making use of these missions to exercise its Cold War military assets in the process, running many of these strikes with one of its long-range bombers, a TU-22 variant. Other runs are being made with its newer Su-34 tactical bomber, and all of them are being escorted by Russia’s newer Su-30 and Su-35 fighter aircraft, giving all those pilots valuable live fire, combat experience.
This isn’t just the fact of a few runs, either—it’s a broad range of aircraft, with a commensurately broad range of support crews, and with all of that, a broad range of compatibility training with their Iranian hosts.
Of as great importance as that use of Iranian basing facilities is the fact that those Russian striking aircraft have to overfly Iraq or Turkey to get to Syria, and Russia has been working cooperation deals with both of those nations—even after the kerfuffle involving Turkey’s shootdown of a Russian fighter.
President Barack Obama’s (D) and Democratic Party Presidential candidate and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s reset with Russia once again is proving enormously expensive.