Filed Under:  U.S. & World

Moscow Says It Has Stepped Up Syria Air Strikes

Contributed by on October 18, 2015 at 10:24 am

IS militants drove out rebels from the localities of Tall Qrah, Tall Soussin, Kafar Qares and the base of Madrasat al-Mushat, he said.

Since Russian Federation began air strikes last week it has described all its targets as belonging to the Islamic State group, although most have been in areas controlled by other rebel movements where Islamic State has little or no presence. Syria’s rebels are mostly Sunni. Russian Federation strongly denied the reports, noting 26 missiles were fired at 11 Islamic State targets in Syria Wednesday, and each struck its target.

Another USA official said the missiles that landed in Iran were Kalibr-NK cruise missiles, which Russian Federation had “used for the first time in a combat setting”.

“This will have consequences for Russian Federation itself which is rightly fearful of attacks…”

On Thursday, Ashton Carter, the USA defence secretary, accused Moscow of inflaming extremism.

“This is further reassurance for our allies on the eastern flank of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation - for the Baltic states and for Poland”, he said, as he arrived in Brussels for a meeting of alliance defence ministers.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation secretary general Jens Stoltenberg sought to address such concerns, announcing plans had been finalised for a response force of up to 40,000 - twice the current size - and new North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters offices in Hungary and Slovakia.

Assad’s armed forces “have launched wide-ranging attacks to deal with the terrorist groups, and to liberate the areas which had suffered from the terrorist rule and crimes”, Syria’s Army Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Ali Abdullah Ayoub, was quoted as saying by state media.

“In the initial stage of our operation, our aircraft destroyed the principal and largest logistical hubs of the ISIS terrorist group”, the statement said.

France has also been involved in the anti-Islamic State effort, launching its first air strike in Syria on September 27.

Backed by allied militia and Russian air cover, regime troops have retaken around a dozen villages in Hama, according to Syrian daily Al-Watan, which is close to the government. The state run SANA news agency said joint Syrian-Russian airstrikes hit 27 targets belonging to Nusra Front.

Officials said earlier this week that it was senior Iranian military officials who worked with Moscow to plot a course in Syria to keep Assad in power, convincing the Russians to dramatically increase their involvement in the grinding four-plus-year conflict which has already claimed more than a quarter of a million lives.

The Russian defence ministry said stepped-up air strikes on rebel positions in Syria killed 300 anti-Assad rebels and that it hit 60 Islamic State targets over the last day.

The ultraconservative militant group Ahar al-Sham, part of the coalition known as the Army of Conquest that controls Idlib, posted video showing it launching Grad rockets at government troops.

The group said it documented the use of at least two vacuum bombs - thermobaric weapons “which are entirely indiscriminate in nature and impossible to evade, even when taking shelter”.

A Trident submarine left and Vladimir Putin right

GETTYBritain will test its nuclear submarines in war games with NATO