LATAKIA, February 16. /TASS/. Aircraft of Russia’s aviation group in Syria have made 444 sorties in the period from February 10 to 16, delivering strikes on almost 1,600 terrorist facilities in the country, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told journalists on Tuesday.
"Warplanes of the Russian aviation group in the Syrian Arab Republic have made 444 sorties in the period from February 10 to 16 during which delivered pinpoint strikes against 1,593 terrorist facilities in the provinces of Deir ez-Zor, Daraa, Homs, Hama, Latakia and Aleppo," Konashenkov said.
According to previous reports, in the period from February 4 to 11, Russia’s warplanes made 510 sorties in Syria, destroying almost 1,900 terrorist facilities in eight Syrian provinces.
According to Konashenkov, the Syrian government army has liberated over 800 square kilometers of the territory and 73 populated settlements from terrorists with the support of loyal opposition forces since early February.
"Since the beginning of the month, over 800 square kilometers and 73 populated settlements have been liberated in the Syrian Arab Republic," the defense ministry's spokesman said.
In the past twenty-four hours alone, the Syrian government troops have fully liberated "over 100 square kilometers of the territory from militants, including seven populated settlements, in north and northwest Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said.
Terrorists in Syria’s provinces of Idlib and Aleppo continue to receive weapons, ammunition and reinforcements across the border with Turkey, Igor Konashenkov went on to say.
"Weapons, ammunition and manpower continue to be delivered to terrorists in Idlib and Aleppo across the Turkish-Syrian border during dusk-to-dawn hours," he said.
Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry said groups of militants and also supplies of explosives and weapons were delivered to Syria from Turkey. It accused senior Turkish officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, of connections with illegal oil production and trafficking from Syria and Iraq.
At the beginning of February Konashenkov said the militants in Idlib and Aleppo were getting night-time supplies from Turkey in the area of the Sarmada-Reyhanli checkpoint.
In Russian Defense Ministry spokesman's words, terrorists are evacuating their families to the Turkish border as the situation around Syria’s city of Aleppo is becoming more serious.
"But as the Turkish authorities have toughened the border crossing regime only wounded gunmen are let into Turkey without impediment," he said.
In the recent time, Syria’s government army has been on an offensive near Aleppo. Syrian President Bashar Assad said the key goal of this operation is not to take full control of the city but to block logistics routes used by terrorists to replenish their reserves from Turkey.
Terrorist activity in the south and north of Syria showed a noticeable upsurge after last week’s conclusion of framework ceasefire agreements, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told the media.
"After last week’s framework agreements on the cessation of hostilities in Syria the south of the country and, in particular northern areas saw a sharp upsurge in the activity of terrorist groups," he said.
At the same time among militant groups in the southwest of Aleppo province and the northwest of Idlib province there have developed growing territorial disputes, he added.
The participants in the International Syria Support Group incorporating about two dozen countries and organizations on February 11 agreed to ensure ceasefire in the whole of Syria within a week’s time and also to deliver humanitarian assistance to the country. The ceasefire will not apply to strikes against the Islamic State group and Jabhat Al-Nusra (both outlawed in Russia) and other affiliated organizations the UN Security Council had declared as terrorist.
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 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 deployed to the Khmeimim airbase in the province of Latakia.
On October 7, 2015, 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 2015, 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. Russia’s aircraft have made thousands of sorties since the start of the operation in Syria.
Moscow has repeatedly said that Russia plans no ground operation in Syria.