Only days after Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev departed from Jerusalem, Syria media is reporting that a major new offensive to retake Mosul will begin in "less than 24 hours." Paving the way for Syrian troops, Russian airstrikes have been "hammering" the west side of Aleppo. An estimated thirty bombing sorties occurred yesterday.
Support for Russia's dramatic increase in warplane raids has arrived in force in the eastern Mediterranean. Dubbed the Kuznetzov Battlegroup, an armada of battleships along with Moscow's flagship aircraft carrier, the Kuznetzov, has become Moscow's new operational base for its theater of operations in Syria. Adding drama to that theater, Russia's largest nuclear sub, a K-119 "Voronezh" has joined the lineup.
According to Flot.com, the K-119, also known as a Project 949 "Antey," was originally designed to carry missiles to knock out surface ships. "However, there is a type of modified missile that can be used for onshore" targets. Apparently, the "Antey," or perhaps another Russian sub that has joined the Kuznetzov Group, has these modified missiles.
AMN News reports today that "at least four Russian '3M-54 Klub' Kalibr cruise missiles were launched into areas controlled by Jaish al-Fateh" a few miles southeast of Aleppo. Jaish al-Fateh is a non-ISIS rebel group with ties to Al-Qaeda that, like ISIS, is attempting to overthrow Syria's government in Damascus led by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Ironically, the 3M-54 Klub missiles, apparently fired by the Kuznetzov Battlegroup, were designed as anti-ship and anti-sub rockets.
The short of it is, Russia has aggressively lit a number of fuses to the complicated powder keg in Syria. Explosions, hopefully kept under control, are set for sometime tonight or early tomorrow.