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Russian warplanes delivered 17 strikes at IS positions to support opposition offensive

December 16, 2015, 8:42 UTC+3
According to a Russian General Staff official, the strikes were delivered to support the Ganim detachment making part of the Free Syrian Army, and the armed formation of the Democratic Forces
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© Alexander Yelistratov/TASS

MOSCOW, December 15. /TASS/. Russian aircraft have supported the Syrian opposition by 17 strikes at the positions of the Islamic State terrorist organization north of Raqqa over the past 24 hours, more than 150 militants have been killed, Russian General Staff Main Operations Directorate chief Lt. Gen. Sergey Rudskoy told journalists on Tuesday.

The strikes were delivered to support the Ganim detachment making part of the Free Syrian Army, and the armed formation of the Democratic Forces, Rudskoy said.

"According to objective control data, Russian aircraft have destroyed over 150 militants and 11 items of hardware," he said.

Earlier today, Rudskoy said over 150 formations are fighting the Islamic State organization banned in Russia. On Monday, Russian General Staff Chief, Army General Valery Gerasimov said over 5,000 members of the Free Syrian Army are attacking the positions of terrorists in four provinces of Syria, with Russian military supporting them with 30-40 airstrikes a day.

Rudskoy also pointed out the Russian military maintain permanent contacts with the Syrian opposition, which is fighting against the Islamic State and which is providing them with information on the location of terrorist facilities.

According to him, part of the opposition - more than 5,000 people - is already interacting with the Syrian army.

"A permanent contact has been established and is being maintained with them. Opposition units are providing the command of the Russian aviation group with positioning data on terrorist targets, which are to be destroyed," Rudskoy stressed.

Russia’s Aerospace Force 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 Assad.

The air group initially comprised over 50 aircraft and helicopters, including Sukhoi Su-24M, Su-25SM and state-of-the-art Su-34 aircraft. They were redeployed to the Khmeimim airbase in the province of Latakia.

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.

In mid-November, Russia increased the number of aircraft taking part in the operation in Syria to 69 and involved strategic bombers in strikes at militants.

Targets of the Russian aircraft include terrorists’ gasoline tankers and oil refineries.

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