MOSCOW, October 1. /TASS/. More than 50 warplanes and helicopters are part of an air group of Russia’s Aerospace Forces conducting airstrikes on the positions of the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria, Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov has said.
"The air group was deployed in the shortest time. We managed to do that as the main materiel supplies and ammunition were in the material-technical facility in Tartus. We only had to relocate aviation and bring some equipment," Konashenkov said.
Russia’s Aerospace Forces launched the operation against the Islamic State gunmen in Syria on Wednesday.
Russia’s upper house unanimously gave the president approval to use the Russian Armed Forces abroad earlier that day. Kremlin chief of staff Sergey Ivanov noted "it was solely the operation of the Russian Air Force" against Islamic State terrorist group in Syria at the request of President Bashar Assad.
As Gen. Igor Konashenkov told the journalists, modernized Su-24M and Su-25 fighter jets are deployed in the aviation unit of Russia’s Aerospace Defense Forces formed in Syria.
"More than 20 sorties were made targeting eight facilities of ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - former name of Islamic State terrorist organization] terrorist groups. Modernized Su-24M and Su-25 jets with modern aiming systems were among the aircraft that made sorties," Konashenkov said.
Last night, the Russian Aerospace Forces attacked four Islamic State facilities in Syria.
"Strikes were made during the night on 4 facilities of Islamic State. The Sukhoi Su-24M frontline bombers and Su-25 attack aircraft made eight sorties," he said.
"A stronghold of terrorist groups and ammunition depot near the city of Idlib were destroyed, as well as a three-level command post of militants near the settlement of Hama," Konashenkov said.
"An explosives and ammunition production plant was completely destroyed after being directly hit by a bomb to the north of the city of Homs," he noted adding that "precisely at this location, cars were stuffed with explosives and then used for terrorist attacks, including by suicide bombers."
A Marines’ battalion task group with reinforcements is guarding the airbase in Syria where a group of the Russian Aerospace Forces is deployed, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said.
"A battalion task group of the Marines with reinforcements is engaged in the airbase guarding and defense," Konashenkov said.
He said that the air group of Russia’s Aerospace Forces was deployed at the Hmeimim airbase in the area of Latakia.
"Our airbase is fully supplied with materiel from the Russian Federation. The local authorities provide assistance in supplying fruit and vegetables to the base," the defence spokesman added.
The official also said the air group of Russia’s Aerospace Forces in Syria has been actively using reconnaissance satellites and drones in order to identify the locations of terrorist forces and receive feedback data showing whether the attacks were effective enough.
"To obtain authentic information about the locations of terrorists and the results of fire attacks satellite intelligence means and remote-controlled aircraft are being used," he said.
The Russian Aerospace Forces have destroyed an Islamic State headquarters near the Syrian town of Al-Latamna with a ground bomb, a Defense Ministry official spokesman added.
Igor Konashenkov said Su-25 fighter jets bombed a concrete three-storied building, which housed a headquarters of the IS militants.
"The militants’ headquarters in this area was destroyed," the spokesman said adding that neighboring buildings had not been damaged.
Konashenkov also said the Russian jets also destroyed an ammunition depot near the city of Idlib in Syria’s northwest.
Russia has established close cooperation with the representatives of Armed Forces of Iran and Iraq through the information center in Baghdad, Konashenkov has said.
Lt. Gen. Sergey Kuralenko represents Russia’s military there. "Close cooperation with the representatives of the Armed Forces of Iran and Iraq has been organized with the goal of urgent exchange of intelligence data and preventing possible incidents in the air," he said.
Russia, Syria, Iran and Iraq have set up the information center in Bagdad to coordinate fight against the IS group, which is banned in Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier the center was open for all the countries interested in the fight against terrorism.
The information center will be tasked with collecting, processing, analyzing and summarizing the information on the situation in the Middle East as part of the effort to fight against the IS. The center will be led by officers of the Armed Forces of these countries for three months on rotation basis. The Iraqi side will be the first to run the center.