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Russian, Tajik forces drilling combat readiness

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russian fighter jets have been flown to Tajikistan to participate in joint drills. (File photo)

Russian and Tajikistani militaries have started massive military drills aimed at ensuring their joint combat readiness, as Moscow is reportedly discussing with its allies their potential participation in the fight against terrorism in Syria.

Russia’s TASS news agency reported that more than 3,000 servicemen from the two militaries started the drills in Tajikistan on Friday.

The troops were alerted and deployed to assault courses, where they began exercising firepower and fire control while also practicing cooperation. Eight Russian warplanes — Su-24 bombers and Su-25 fighter jets — have been flown to Tajikistan to participate in the exercises.

“The military of Russia and Tajikistan are participating jointly for the first time in a snap readiness check,” said Colonel Yaroslav Roshchupkin, the assistant commander of Russia’s Central Military District

“The servicemen of the two armies backed by Russian operational-tactical and Army aviation are performing training and combat tasks in line with a single plan in a common operation situation on the mountainous firing grounds of Lyaur and Kharbmaydon,” he added.

In late June, the chairman of the Russian State Duma’s Defense Committee, Col. Gen. Vladimir Shamanov, reportedly said that Moscow was in talks with Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan about the potential deployment of forces by those countries to Syria to help with the anti-terrorism campaign in the Arab country.

Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan, all Central Asian former Soviet republics, are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Russian-led military alliance that also includes Armenia and Belarus.

A handout picture released on the official Facebook page of the Syrian Presidency on June 27, 2017 shows President Bashar al-Assad sitting inside a Sukhoi Su-27 during his visit to the Hmeimim military base in Latakia Province in northwest Syria. (Via AFP)

Russia has been carrying out a bombardment campaign in Syria on a request from Damascus since September 2015.

The United States, too, has been leading dozens of its allies in a bombing campaign in Syria against what it says are Daesh targets in the Arab country since a year earlier. The coalition forces have not obtained permission either from the Syrian government or the United Nations.

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