Iraq bans Russian military overflights to Syria

Under heavy US pressure, Baghdad Friday banned Russian military aircraft from transiting Iraqi airspace, thereby blocking Moscow’s airlift to its Khmeimim Air Base in Latakia, Syria. A Russian Tu-154M was forced by the Iraqi ban to turn tail. No explanation was offered for Baghdad’s measure, but DEBKAfile’s sources report that Washington used its clout with Iraq to curtail Russia’s buildup in Syria for the anticipated combined operation to retake Idlib from rebel control, as well as to clear the way for US military action in Syria.

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