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Turkish PM claims Russia’s Aerospace Forces deliver strikes at Syrian opposition

December 28, 2015, 8:16 UTC+3
"Out of 4,198 sorties made by Russia over the past time, only 191 were directed against IS," Davutoglu said in a video address to the nation shown by local television channels
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© Alexander Yelistratov/TASS

ANKARA, December 28. /TASS/. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Sunday claimed that Russia’s Aerospace Forces mainly deliver strikes at the Syrian opposition rather than militants of the Islamic State terrorist group (IS, banned in Russia).

"Out of 4,198 sorties made by Russia over the past time, only 191 were directed against IS," Davutoglu said in a video address to the nation shown by local television channels.

Russia has repeatedly denied statements that its Aerospace Forces allegedly deliver strikes at the so-called "moderate" Syrian opposition. Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov called such accusations "unfounded".

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 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.

Russia’s aircraft have made 5,240 sorties since the start of the operation in Syria, with 145 of them performed by long-range aircraft.

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.

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