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WASHINGTON, October 10. /TASS/. Moscow’s unexpected barrage of airstrikes on the Islamic State targets in Syria last week caught the United States "flat-footed" although Washington had information on Russia’s increasing presence in the country, the Washington Post has reported.
The White House knew about Russia’s requests for other countries to allow both its cargo planes and also fighter aircraft and bombers to fly via their airspace, a senior Obama administration official said. "It was clear that something pretty big was up."
Even after Russia deployed fighter jets and teams of military advisors to Syria, "the United States seemed to be caught flat-footed by the barrage of airstrikes that Moscow launched last week," the report said.
The Russian airstrikes damaged a "fragile" US strategy on training local forces to fight against the Islamic State terrorist group. US media reports earlier said the Pentagon was sharply scaling back its effort.
The report said citing sources that this situation has become a source of tension within the administration. In particular, CIA Director John Brennan has voiced frustration with the inaction of the White House.
"US spy agencies now face questions about the potential scope and duration of the Russian campaign, as well as its impact on the CIA program launched two years ago to support moderate rebel groups caught between (Syrian President Bashar) Assad’s army and extremist elements including the Islamic State," the report reads.
Russia’s aerospace forces started delivering pinpoint strikes at facilities of the Islamic State terrorist organization in Syria on September 30. The air group comprises over 50 aircraft and helicopters, including Su-24M, Su-25 and state-of-the-art Su-34 aircraft. Dozens of terrorist facilities have been hit by Russian aircraft over the past few days.
On Wednesday, four missile ships of the Russian Navy’s Caspian Flotilla fired 26 Kalibr cruise missiles (NATO codename Sizzler) at militants’ facilities in Syria. On Thursday the Syrian army passed to a large-scale offensive.