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Putin Officials Said to Admit Real Syria Goal Is Far Broader

  • Russian intervention may last as long as a year, official says
  • Kremlin to back Assad regime's drive to retake key cities
File photo showing Russian MIG-29 jet fighters.

File photo showing Russian MIG-29 jet fighters.

Photographer: Krill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images
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As Russia’s air war in Syria nears its fourth week, officials now admit that Moscow’s aim is far broader than the publicly announced fight against terrorist groups.

The Kremlin’s real goal is to help Syrian President Bashar al-Assad retake as much as possible of the territory his forces have lost to opponents, including U.S.-backed rebels, Russian officials told Bloomberg News. Moscow’s deployment of several dozen planes, as well as ships in the Black and Caspian Seas, could last a year or more, one official said.