Russian Navy destroyer Smetlivy sets sail in the Bosphorus in Istanbul July 11, 2012. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
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Signs of an ongoing Russian military buildup in Syria have drawn U.S. concerns and raised questions of whether Moscow plans to enter the conflict.Observers in Moscow say the Russian maneuvering could be part of a plan to send troops to Syria to fight ISIS in the hope of fixing fractured ties with the West. Putin said again Friday that Russia is providing the Syrian military with weapons and training.Karaganov, who has good connections among the Russian officials, said he doesn't expect Russia to opt for unilateral military action in Syria if it gets the cold shoulder from the U.S. and its allies.Igor Korotchenko, a retired colonel of the Russian military's general staff who is now editor of the National Defense magazine, also said that while Russia has supplied Assad's government with weapons, it has no intention to send its troops to Syria. Pavel Felgenhauer, a Moscow-based analyst who specializes in military and security issues, said that the apparent increase in the Russian presence in Syria could be part of Kremlin efforts to raise the pressure on the U.S. to accept Putin's plan.Staying away from ground action would allow Russia to avoid any significant losses.
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