Following its deployment of combat aircraft inside Syria, Russia may also be considering placing some of its air force assets in Iraq.

Speculation has increased after Iraq's prime minister Haider al-Abadi on 1 October said that he would "welcome" air strikes by Russia in his country if Moscow made such a proposal – a scenario which he told television channel France 24 has not happened yet. Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov the same day said that the nation has no plans to extend its air strikes to Iraq, but would do so if Baghdad invited it to join the fight against Islamic State militants.

Israeli sources say Russia's air force deployment in Syria – which so far includes more than 50 combat aircraft and helicopters – and now the option to also participate in operations in Iraq, is "changing the aerial balance in an unprecedented way".

Maj Gen (Res) Eitan Ben Eliyahu, a former commander of the Israeli air force, notes that the operation of different aerial forces in the same area can be co-ordinated if the involved parties want agree to such co-ordination. "The problems begin if such a co-ordination does not exist," he cautions.