After the news of Russian airstrikes in Syria Wednesday, Chechnya’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov said he was ready to send his best fighters to support Moscow’s efforts and fight the Islamic State group, the Russian state news agency Tass reported. Kadyrov, the Kremlin-backed ruler of the Chechen republic in Russia's North Caucasus region, said he fully supports President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send warplanes to Syria and begin a bombing campaign.
"If Russia’s Supreme Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Putin issues an order, we are ready already tomorrow to send world-class specialists who have no equal in the West. We have the experience and knowledge," Kadyrov wrote on his page in a social network, according to Tass. “I’m convinced that the evil [ISIS] should be eliminated in its lair. We cannot wait until they come to our towns and villages.”
Several thousand Chechen servicemen are ready to participate in the fight against ISIS in Syria if there is such a need, Kadyrov told reporters in his capital of Grozny, Tass said.
— Tom Parfitt (@parfitt_tom) September 30, 2015
The Russians began strikes in Syria by targeting what they said were ISIS-held areas in the central city of Homs. But U.S. officials have said Homs is not occupied by the terror group, but by rebels who oppose Syrian President Bashar Assad’s dictatorship. It's not yet clear which rebels Russia has targeted or if they are among those being trained and funded by the U.S.
Speaking to Congress just hours after the news of Russia’s airstrikes broke, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Moscow’s targeting of Homs was proof that it had lied about its intentions to target the extremist terror group.
“Already we are seeing the true intentions of Vladimir Putin, which is to maintain a strong position and foothold in the Middle East and is propping up Bashar Assad, who has killed at least 250,000 of his own citizens,” said McCain in remarks broadcast live on MSNBC. He also blamed President Barack Obama’s policy on Assad over the last four years for letting Putin take the initiative in the region. “In to the wreckage of this administration’s Middle East policy has now stepped Vladimir Putin. He perceives the administration’s inaction and caution as weakness and is taking full advantage.”
Earlier Wednesday, the Russian parliament, the State Duma, hurriedly gave Putin permission to commence bombing raids in Syria. In the buildup to those strikes, Russian officials said the U.S. and its coalition partners were currently acting illegally by being in Syria and requested that they avoid Syria’s airspace, according to a Guardian report.
“You all know well that in the territory of Syria and Iraq … a number of countries are carrying out bombing strikes, including the United States,” said Putin’s chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov. “These actions do not conform with international law. To be legal they should be supported either by a resolution of the U.N. Security Council, or be backed by a request from the country where the raids are taking place.”
By "the country" he meant Assad's regime, which Moscow is backing.