Intel Director: Russia in Syria to Stay

Russia is dug in for the long haul in Syria, building up bases and expanding its support for Syrian President Bashar al Assad, the outgoing head of national intelligence said Thursday. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who in Thursday testimony to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence announced he had submitted his resignation the day before, said the US intelligence community doesn’t “anticipate a significant change in Russian behavior” as the next presidential administration comes in. Especially in Syria, Russia is continuing to operate alongside the Syrian military, which has been “indiscriminately bombing” Aleppo and other sites to target opposition. Russia recently deployed an aircraft carrier, and has a “sustained presence” of artillery and advanced air defense systems. “What that indicates, is clearly the Russians are there to stay,” Clapper said. “They want to maintain a presence.”