AN ISIS HQ, command point and an ammo depot in Syria were destroyed by Russian military night operations on Wednesday, it was revealed yesterday.
Footage shot by drones shows Russian airstrikes on ISIS infrastructure near Idlib and al-Latamna.
Reporting eight overnight sorties, a Defence Ministry spokesman said Russia’s Air Force fleet in Syria includes over 50 warplanes and helicopters. Previously Russia hadn’t revealed any details of its contingent in Syria, which started an aerial campaign on Wednesday to help the Syrian Army fight against terrorist gangs.
‘The air group was deployed on very short notice. It was possible because we had most of the material and ammunition ready at our depot in Tartus.
‘We only had to move our aircraft and deliver some extra equipment,’ spokesperson for the Russian Defence Ministry Igor Konashenkov told the media. The fleet includes the latest Su-24M and Su-25 ground attack planes, he said. Meanwhile, a Syrian presidential aide has praised Russian air support in the fight against terrorists, slamming the West’s ‘ineffective’ airstrikes.
President Assad’s political and media adviser, Bouthaina Shaaban, stressed: ‘But it’s not only against Islamic State. Why do they forget about Jabhat al-Nusra? – although the (UN) Security Council resolution spoke about or considered both al-Nusra and IS terrorist organisations.
‘Besides these, there are tens of terrorist organisations in Syria. There are thousands of mercenaries and terrorists coming from all over the world.’ Citing Iraq and Libya as examples, Shaaban accused the US and its allies of looking ‘to destroy our countries in order to destroy our civilisation, in order to destroy our people’, instead of pursuing peace in Syria.
‘The problem right from the beginning wasn’t Assad; the target wasn’t Assad. Just as Libya is destroyed now and they were talking about Gadaffi, and Iraq is destroyed and they were talking about Saddam Hussein. One thing that is true is that all those carrying arms against the Syrian people, against Syrian institutions – are terrorists. And the Syrian army has been fighting them for the last five years, while the West is looking at our country being destroyed – at our hospitals, at our schools, at our archaeological heritage being absolutely destroyed.’
Russia on the contrary, Shaaban said, is ‘committed to international legitimacy and to respect of the country’s sovereignty’. Assad’s aide called on the US and the international community to ‘wake up and see what’s happening on the ground’, warning ‘the reality is very different from what the Americans and John Kerry are saying.’