"I was one of those people surprised about their move in Syria. I’ve been watching them in Syria for some time now, but I thought they were so stressed with what they were doing that I didn’t realize they had a capacity also to pick up and move into Syria," Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges said in an interview with the Defense News weekly.
He made no forecasts on the duration of Russia’s airstrikes on the Islamic State militants’ targets in the Arab state. It is related to possible combat losses, which is "inevitable," according to him.
Russia’s Sukhoi Su-25, Su-24M and Su-34 attack aircraft, with the support of Su-30 jets, launched precision airstrikes against ISIL targets in Syria on September 30, following a request from Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated that the time frame for Russia’s campaign in Syria will be limited to the Syrian army’s offensive.