MOSCOW, November 18. /TASS/. Russia has intensified all types of intelligence in the Middle East region, including space reconnaissance, the head of the Main Operations Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff, Col. Gen. Andrey Kartapolov, said Wednesday.
"All strikes are delivered by Russian aircraft at previously reconnoitered targets. In order to increase the operational efficiency of terrorist organizations’ facilities’ disclosure and precision of determination of their coordinates, we have enhanced all types of reconnaissance in the Middle East region, including space reconnaissance," Kartapolov told journalists.
He said this makes it possible to discover new targets of militants and hit them in real time.
Russia’s Aerospace Forces started delivering pinpoint strikes in Syria at facilities of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations, which are banned in Russia, on September 30, 2015, on a request from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The air group comprises over 50 aircraft and helicopters, including Sukhoi Su-24M, Su-25SM and state-of-the-art Su-34 aircraft.
On October 7, four missile ships of the Russian Navy’s Caspian Flotilla fired 26 Kalibr cruise missiles (NATO codename Sizzler) at militants’ facilities in Syria. On October 8, the Syrian army passed to a large-scale offensive.
Over 2,000 terrorist facilities have been destroyed by Russian aircraft since the start of the air operation. The Russian Federation does not plan to take part in ground operations in Syria.
According to UN statistics, fighting between Syrian government troops and militants has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced millions since its start in 2011.
Russian President Vladimir Putin recently gave instructions to intensify strikes delivered by Russian aircraft in Syria after Federal Security Service (FSB) chief Alexander Bortnikov reported that the crash of Russia’s A321 airliner above the Sinai Peninsula on October 31 was caused by a terrorist act carried out with the help of a homemade explosive device.
A total of 224 people were killed, making the air crash the largest in the history of domestic aviation. Following the tragedy, Russia suspended flights to Egypt.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu reported to President Vladimir Putin November 17 that Russia has involved strategic and long-range aircraft in strikes against the Islamic State in Syria.
"Tu-160, Tu-95MS, Tu-22M3 aircraft of long-range aviation, along with operational and tactical aviation acting from the Khmeimim airfield, have been additionally involved from the Russian territory to destroy gangs," Shoigu said.
Russian long-range aviation commander Lt. Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev reported to Putin that strategic bombers, during sorties against the Islamic State, which is banned in Russia, were in the air for over eight hours.