Russia Says Struck Over 50 ISIS Targets in Last 3 Days

Russia had warned U.S. ahead of launching its air strikes, recommended that U.S. stop its flights in areas where Russia was operating, official says.

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Airstrikes carried out by Russian air force on what Russia says was an underground explosives warehouse in Raqqa, Syria, in a screengrab from footage by Russian Defense Ministry, Oct. 3, 2015.
Airstrikes carried out by Russian air force on what Russia says was an underground explosives warehouse in Raqqa, Syria, in a screengrab from footage by Russian Defense Ministry, Oct. 3, 2015. Credit: Reuters

Russia's Air Force has carried out more than 60 flights in Syria in the past 72 hours and significantly reduced the military potential of terrorists there, a senior official in the Russian army told Russian news agencies on Saturday.

The official, Andrei Kartapolov from the Russian army's General Staff, said Russia's Air Force had targeted more than 50 Islamic State objects in its air strikes.

"The strikes were carried out around the clock from the Hmeymim air base along the whole depth of the territory of Syria," Kartapolov said, according to RIA news agency.

He said Russia had warned the United States ahead of launching its air strikes and recommended that the United States stop its own flights in areas where Russia's air force was operating.

"The Americans told us during discussions, that no one apart from terrorists were in that region," Kartapolov said, referring to the area where Russia's Air Force was active, according to Interfax.

Russia's intervention in Syria has been criticized by several world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, for targeting Western-backed rebels as well as ISIS. On Saturday, British Prime Minister James Cameron echoed the criticism, accusing Russia of "only making matters worse" with its airstrike campaign, saying it mostly serves to prop up the regime of the "butcher" Syrian president, Bashar Assad.

Also on Saturday, the U.S.-led coalition also targeted Islamic State insurgents in some 27 air strikes in Iraq and Syria on Friday, the Combined Joint Task Force said on Saturday.

Russian Su-34 fighter jets performing a military drill, August 2, 2015.Credit: Reuters

Seventeen of the U.S.-led attacks were in Iraq with six of them focused near Ramadi. In all, eight areas were targeted and Islamic State tactical units, fighting positions, weapons and other assets were hit, the task force said in a statement. In Syria, 10 strikes near five cities hit similar targets.

Russian military spokesman Maj.-Gen. Igor Konashenkov said earlier Saturday the warplanes flew 20 missions in Syria over the past day, hitting nine ISIS targets. He said an ISIS command post and a weapons storage bunker were destroyed in the area of Raqqa, the extremists' de facto capital.

Konashenkov said equipment and weapons storage facilities were destroyed in a strike near Jisr al-Shughour and an ammunition depot was destroyed in Maaret al-Numan.

The ISIS group has no presence in the northwestern province of Idlib, which includes Jisr al-Shughour and Maaret al-Numan.

The Russian airstrikes that began Wednesday have mainly targeted central and northwestern Syria, strategic regions that are the gateway to President Bashar Assad's strongholds in the capital, Damascus, and the coast.

Russia says it is targeting the ISIS group and Al-Qaida's Syrian affiliate, but at least some of the strikes appear to have hit Western-backed rebel factions.

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