Iraq halts all civillian air traffic to clear skies for Russian bombers
The Iraqi government announced Monday that all of the country's civillian flights have been suspended for 48 hours in order to prevent collisions with the Russian bombers attacking Syrian targets. It also announced that it had requested Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq to halt flights to and from Irbil and Sulaymeniya, but did not specify what the Kurdish response was.
DEBKAfile's military sources: the Russian bombers, accompanied by Iranian warplanes, are entering Iraqi airspace from southern Iran, and flying west until they reach the Iraq-Saudi Arabia border. They are then turning northwest and flying along the border and then along the Iraq-Jordan border before entering southern Syria and other areas of the country. It is not clear why the Russians chose this long route rather than one from northern Iran to northern Syria via northern Iraq. See DEBKAfile’s special report on the Russian operation.