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Russia warplanes in Syria made 5662 sorties since operation start — general staff

January 15, 2016, 14:22 UTC+3

The Russian military have also launched 97 cruise missiles on terrorist targets

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© Russian Defense Ministry's Press and Information Department/TASS

MOSCOW, January 15. /TASS/. Aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces over nearly four months of the operation in Syria have made 5,662 sorties, the Russian military have also launched 97 cruise missiles on terrorist targets, head of the Chief Operations Directorate of the Russian General Staff Sergei Rudskoy said on Friday.

"Since September 30, the Russian Aerospace Forces in Syria have made 5,662 sorties, including 145 sorties made by strategic missile and long-range bomber aviation, the Russian military have also carried out 97 launches of sea-based and air-based missiles," Rudskoy said.

The airstrikes are targeted at infrastructure facilities, fortified localities, at areas where the terrorist manpower and equipment are concentrated.

Previously, Rudskoy said that "since December 25, 164 sorties have been flown and 556 terrorist targets have been attacked in the provinces of Aleppo, Idlib, Latakia, Hama, Homs, Damascus, Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa." He said that Russian aircraft increased the rate of attacks in support of the Syrian governmental and opposition forces fighting the Islamic State terrorist group.

According to the General Staff, Russian planes delivered 189 strikes against terrorists in Syria on December 24. As of December 25, they had logged over 5,200 sorties since the beginning of the operation, with about 150 of them conducted by strategic and long-range bombers.

The Syrian Army continues to advance throughout the country, with its progress being most noticeable in Aleppo and Latakia provinces and in the suburbs of Damascus. "Supported by the Russian Aerospace Force, the governmental forces continue their offensive on the militants throughout the country, having attained success in the provinces of Aleppo and Latakia and on the outskirts of Damascus," Rudskoy said then. The Syrian Army has liberated two settlements and seized a commanding height in Aleppo province with Russian aircraft’s support. According to Rudskoy, the Syrian troops expanded the security zone around Kweiris airbase considerably.

IS deprived of possibility to replenish supplies quickly

According to the official, the Russian air task force’s strikes against militants’ facilities in Syria have deprived them of the possibility to promptly replenish fuel and ammunition supplies.

"By our strikes against oil extraction, refining, storage and transportation facilities on territories controlled by the Islamic State [terrorist organization outlawed in Russia], we have deprived them of the possibility to promptly replenish their ammunition, armament and material supplies and recruit new mercenaries into their ranks," the general said.

According to Rudskoy, this has allowed the Syrian army to switch to an offensive, which is currently under way in 15 directions at once.

Russia’s Aerospace Forces launched a military operation in Syria on September 30 after the Federation Council unanimously approved President Vladimir Putin’s request for the use of the armed forces against terrorists outside the territory of Russia. On the same day, Russia’s aviation group started to deliver the first pinpointed airstrikes against the militants’ positions. The Russian aviation grouping comprises more than 50 aircraft and helicopters, including the Sukhoi Su-34 and Su-24M bombers, Su-25 attack aircraft, Su-30SM fighters and Mil Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters. Also, overnight to October 7, the Caspian Flotilla ships delivered a massive strike on the IS objectives in Syria, using Kalibr NK shipborne cruise missiles.

From November 17, the Russian aviation group in Syria switched to delivering massive strikes against militants, including with the involvement of strategic bombers. As the Russian Defense Ministry reported, Russia’s air grouping has focused on destroying terrorist-controlled oil extraction, storage, transportation and refining facilities.

The airstrikes are conducted at the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The Russian authorities have said on many occasions that Russia’s armed forces would not take part in any ground operation in Syria. The time limit of the operation will depend on the results of the fight against the Islamic State group.

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