Russland og Syria inngikk en hemmelige avtale 26. august som gir russerne frie hender. De kan komme og gå som de vil, syrerne har ikke inspeksjonsrett og russiske soldater kan ikke stilles for syriske domstoler. Enda viktigere: Avtalen har ingen tidsbegrensning. Russerne ser ut til å skulle bli på ubestemt tid.

The August 26 agreement appears to grant a large degree of operational freedom to Russia’s military. It allows Moscow to deploy any troops or equipment it deems necessary to the Hmeymin air base near Latakia, and bars Syrian government officials from entering the base without the Russian commander’s permission

While Russian personnel promise to observe Syrian laws and customs, they are also granted full immunity from Syrian civil and criminal law and may enter the country without undergoing Syrian border or customs checks.

Russia said on Thursday that it had conducted its first official joint operation with the regime, carrying out bombing raids while Syrian MiG-29 fighters provided air cover.

The joint mission may be a way of demonstrating that the Syrian air force is still operational and may be able to take over some Russian responsibilities in due course.

Den russiske bombingen begynte en måned senere, 30. september. Dermed endret krigen karakter og i samarbeid med Iran kan utfallet bli et annet enn det lå an til.