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Russian Aerospace Forces to help Syrian army fight terrorists after ceasefire — Kremlin

February 26, 12:43 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Kremlin spokesman also rejected reports on Russia’s alleged massive airstrikes on civilian facilities in Syria
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© Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry's Press Office/TASS

MOSCOW, February 26. /TASS/. Russia will continue airstrikes on terrorists in Syria even after the planned cessation of hostilities due to come into effect at midnight on Saturday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

"Russia’s Aerospace Forces will continue the operation in Syria in support of the country’s armed forces, it is aimed against the Islamic State [terrorist group outlawed in Russia] and other terrorist organizations that are included in a respective list of the UN Security Council," Peskov said.

The Kremlin spokesman reminded that "even after the ceasefire comes into effect the offensive against terrorist organizations in Syria will not be stopped." "This is one of the conditions of the initiative agreed by the Russian and US presidents." 

Peskov also rejected reports of some organizations, including the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, on Russia’s alleged massive airstrikes on civilian facilities in Syria. "We know that this Observatory has repeatedly given information that unfortunately was not confirmed and was not proved by at least any data, I do not say true data," he said.

Russian and US presidents Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama issued a joint statement on Monday to declare ceasefire in Syria from midnight Damascus time on February 27. Both sides said they would use their influence on the political forces in the country to achieve truce.

The statement says that the cessation of hostilities is to be applied to all parties to the Syrian conflict but for Daesh (the Arabic acronym for Islamic State) and Jabhat an-Nusra (both are banned in Russia) "or other terrorist organizations designated by the UN Security Council." Airstrikes on them will be continued.

On Thursday Russia and the United States submitted to the UN Security Council a draft resolution in support of Syrian political process and the ceasefire regime that is to take effect on Saturday. 

Russian military operation in Syria

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.

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