12:33 GMT +321 January 2020
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    Russia is expected to start a full-scale military operation in Syria's Aleppo this week to support the Syrian government forces, UK media reported Monday, citing an analyses by a western intelligence service.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to The Times newspaper, the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, accompanied by seven warships and sailing in the Mediterranean, is expected to reach the Syrian coast between Wednesday and Friday to support the operation.

    The media outlet also notes that three Russian submarines armed with cruise missiles are allegedly sailing to the Syrian coast.

    A western intelligence source told the newspaper that Moscow is "on the brink of a major military assault on Aleppo."

    The publication assumes that Moscow seeks to exploit a pause in the United States on the eve of the presidential election in order to help Syrian President Bashar Assad Forces' secure a decisive victory in the Syrian largest city.

    ​Earlier in October, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg expressed concern over Russian naval task group's movements in the Mediterranean, which, in his view, could be used in attacks against Aleppo.

    Over recent months, Aleppo has been a battlefield between government forces, jihadists, and numerous opposition groups. Militant-held eastern Aleppo is encircled by government forces and the fighting has affected thousands of civilians still trapped in the city.


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    coast, intelligence, aircraft, Admiral Kuznetsov, Syria, Russia, Aleppo
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