A woman inspects the damage after an airstrike in the rebel held Bab al-Nairab neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, August 25, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail
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Russia's politically sensitive and ultimately fruitless decision to launch bombing missions on Syria from Iranian soil has exposed the limits to its air power, leaving Moscow in need of a new strategy to advance its aims.Russia began airstrikes on Syria in support of Assad on Sept. 30 last year, launched from bases in government-held territory and from warships.Russia's Defense Ministry announced on Aug. 16 that it had for the first time used an air base in Iran from which to launch air attacks on Syria.By Aug. 22, Iran's Foreign Ministry announced that Russia's use of the base had ended.The Iranian base was a crucial logistical cog in this escalation in Aleppo because without it, Russia's Tupolev jets have to fly the greater distance to Syria from Russia and back.According to defense experts, Russia does have the military capacity to intensify its bombing in Syria further, whether or not it has access to the Iranian base.
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