Moscow has opened an alternate route over the Caspian Sea and northern Iran and Iraq to supply weapons to Syria after Turkey, Greek, Bulgaria and Cyprus closed their airspace to Russian military aircraft.
The route for its ongoing military airlift from Sevastopol in Crimea and other bases in southern Russia runs over the Caspian Sea and northern Iran and Iraq and terminates with deliveries at the Syrian Mezze Airbase in Damascus and the new Russian air and ground base at Jablah, near the Syrian port of Latakia, DEBKAfile reported Wednesday.
Tehran and Baghdad have both been pulled into directly supporting the Russian military intervention in Syria, after Iraq was bullied by Iran to turn down the US request to close its northern skies to Russian shipments.
The need for a roundabout air route to Syria has substantially raised the cost of the Russian military expedition. A direct flight over the Mediterranean spans 1,025 km, which the Russian AN-124 (Condor) can cover in two hours. The long way round is three times as long – more than 2,900 km – and takes six hours, the news website reported.