"October in Syria is a great month for flying," a Russian TV weather forecaster explained during a report Sunday. The skies are relatively clear, the wind speed is a manageable 2.4 meters per second, "with strong gusts just once a month," and rainfall is sparse.

That's ideal, because Russia is in the midst of an air war in Syria, having launched more than 100 sorties against the Islamic State militant group and rebel factions battling the Syrian regime, which is a staunch ally of Moscow.

The forecaster for Rossiya 24 said, "Experts say the timing for [the airstrikes] was chosen very well in terms of weather."

"In these meteorological conditions, planes can dive below the clouds and conduct effective strikes on ground targets, and only climb higher if there’s active anti-aircraft fire,” she said in front of a graphic depicting a Sukhoi Su-24 strike aircraft dropping bombs on an enemy tank from the “optimal height for targeting and bombing”; 3km to 5km off the ground.

This is not the first time the network has discussed the forecast in the context of military entanglements abroad. Earlier this year, it plotted the weather above parts of eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists were locked in pitched battles.

As my colleagues have reported, Russia has embarked on a dangerous gamble, an escalation in the already messy, bloody Syrian conflict that has alarmed other regional actors and posed new headaches for strategists in Washington.

Pictures have also emerged of Russian troops stationed in facilities in Syria. These include snapshots of routine military life on an air base, such as service members waiting at mobile launderettes and dozens of troops gathered over steaming tureens of soup.

On a Facebook thread that featured some of the images, commenters who were apparently Syrian government troops sounded envious, according to Syria:Direct, a news portal.

"Oh I remember my days in the service — if I told you what was going on in our kitchens, you’d be so grossed out you wouldn’t eat for days," one commenter said.

"That’s how an army that wants to win treats its men, not like ours, corrupt to the bone and starving to death," another commented.

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