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Four Russian cruise missiles fired at Syria from a Russian ship in the Caspian Sea on Wednesday crashed in Iran, US officials said on Thursday.
A US government source said Russia had been flying cruise missiles over Iran into Syria in attacks on rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The Russian Defense Ministry declined to comment.
Russia has deployed substantial military assets to Syria to prop the regime of Assad, carrying out airstrikes against US-backed rebel groups and moving a limited number of artillery pieces towards Hama in northern Syria. The Kremlin has also indicated that it might engage its troops in ground operations in Syria.
According to The New York Times, as of October 7 Russia had fired 26 cruise missiles into Syria from the Caspian Sea, a distance of over 900 miles.
As The Times notes, the Russian intervention in Syria came after months of planning between Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah, a Shi’ite militant group and Iranian proxy force.
The cruise-missile incident might raise some uncomfortable issues for Iran and Russia, the Assad regime’s primary international backers. While the two countries are partners in Syria, some analysts believe their interests in the country could diverge in the long run.