MOSCOW, November 5. /TASS/. Commander-in-Chief of Russia’s Aerospace Forces Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev has rejected media reports that Russian pilots "lack" missiles in Syria.
Media reports said that employees at a Russian plant of the defense industry complex have been forced to work in three shifts as pilots in Syria allegedly lack missiles.
"That’s nonsense! No director of any plant has called me so far saying that he is running out of steam," Bondarev said in an interview with the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper published on Thursday.
Russia started a military operation against the Islamic State terrorist group in the Syrian territory at the request of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on September 30. The air group in Syria includes more than 50 warplanes, including Su-34 and Su-24M bombers; Su-25 assault aircraft; Su-30SM fighter jets as well as Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters.
The Russian pilots have made over 1,600 combat sorties and delivered air strikes at over 2,000 terrorist facilities since the military operation started.
The Islamic State is an Islamic terrorist organization banned in Russia. In 2013-2014, it was known under the name the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and operated mainly in Iraq and Syria. In June 2014, the Islamic State announced the establishment of an "Islamic caliphate" (a state with a Sharia form of government) on the territories it had seized and reduced its name to the Islamic State.
According to the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency, the extremist group numbers around 30,000 people. The Iraqi authorities say however it has up to 200,000 gunmen. Among members of the group are citizens of 80 countries, including France, Great Britain, Germany, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, US, Canada, Russia and other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Islamic State militants reportedly control up to 40% of the Iraq’s territory and about 50% of the Syrian territory.