Thursday, October 8, 2015
Iran lobbied for Russian campaign in Syria, officials say
BAGHDAD (AP) — Iran played an integral role leading up to Russia’s move to launch its air campaign in Syria and play a stronger role in Iraq, with one of Tehran’s most powerful generals meeting for three hours with President Vladimir Putin to push for intervention, Iraqi government officials tell The Associated Press.
Gen. Qassem Suleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, went to Moscow in August with the message that Russian airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria were imperative, said the two senior officials, who were later briefed on the meeting. Suleimani and Putin reviewed maps and surveillance photos and shared intelligence, all suggesting the terror group would expand its reach to Russia’s doorstep in the Caucuses if Moscow didn’t act, the two officials said.