Joining forces with French warplanes in a brutal campaign against ISIS in Syria, Russia has just used some its most lethal weapons.
Moscow has launched a massive air and sea campaign involving cruise missiles against ISIS targets in Syria in retaliation for the downing of a Russian plane over Egypt last month as well as the Paris terror attacks, according to The National Interest. The two terror attacks by ISIS killed at least 353 people.
Cruise missiles were launched from Russia’s Tupolev Tu-22M3 Backfire, Tu-95MS Bear and Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers, as reported by the news outlet citing the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Meanwhile, the Russian navy launched a barrage of cruise missiles against Islamic State militants in Syria, according to some reports.
“In accordance to the task assigned by the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces concerning enhancing combat air operations in the Syrian Arab Republic, crews of Tu-160, Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3 long-range aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out strikes with air-based cruise missiles at the ISIS terrorist objects within the air operation,” the Russian defense ministry said in a statement.
Russia intensifies its chaotic military campaign in Syria
First, a dozen of Tu-22M3 bombers struck Daesh targets in Syria’s Raqqah and Deir-ez-Zor provinces. Then Russia ordered its highly-destructive Mach 2.0-capable Tu-160 supersonic bombers and quad-turboprop Tu-95MS Bears to hit terrorist targets in Aleppo and Idlib, launching a salvo of 34 air-launched cruise missiles.
The Kremlin then reported that 14 terrorist facilities “of special importance” were destroyed by Russian warplanes, according to The National Interest. It was the first instance in years that Russian strategic bombers have conducted combat operations.
As for Russia’s naval cruise missile operation against terrorist targets, the Russian defense ministry did not provide any details. But the news outlet presumes that Moscow followed the same tactic it used when launched a series of sea-based cruise missile strikes from the Caspian Sea in October.
The Russian aerial operation involved 25 bombers backed by eight Su-34 Fullback strike aircraft and four Su-30SM multirole fighters. The Russian defense ministry said in the statement that the Fullback strike aircraft destroyed Daesh’s fuel supply, while Su-34 aircraft destroyed two columns of fuel bowsers and about 50 vehicles.
“As a result, taking into consideration previous airstrikes aimed at oil supply transports (410 fuellers in total) and several infrastructure elements, the illegal fuel export capabilities of the terrorists have been significantly cut,” the statement reads.
Russia and France join forces to bomb Syrian targets
Russian military has joined French warplanes on Tuesday when the two nations bombed ISIS targets in retaliation for the well-organized terror attacks in Paris, which left 129 people dead.
10 French fighter jets carried out a new round of airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria, according to Fox News citing French defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
Russia supported the French airstrikes by sending on a mission 12 of its long-range bombers including supersonic Tu-22M Backfires, which made a long trip from a base in Mozdok, Russia near the border of Georgia and Azerbaijan and launched cruise missiles against ISIS targets in Raqqa, a U.S. official familiar with the mission told Fox News.
While the U.S. military is still assessing the threats and damage of such an operation, Russia’s supersonic bombers flew over the Caspian Sea, Iran, Iraq and into Syria before launching a volley of cruise missiles against ISIS targets
However, another defense official in the Middle East told the American TV channel that even though the countries share the ultimate goal of eradicating ISIS, it is “highly unlikely” the French and Russians coordinated their strikes. The official also added that he did not think France would communicate with the Kremlin in secret.
Russia starts military competition
Russia starts the final stage of the all-military competition for the Cup of the Russian Defense Ministry, according to Sputnik News.
The final stage of the competition for the all-military competition for the Cup of the Russian Defense Ministry opens in Moscow on Wednesday, as said by a spokesman for the Central Army Sports Club (CSKA).
The finalists of the previous stage of the competition – Russia’s most skillful and experienced officers of the armed forces – arrived in Moscow on Monday to participate in the Cup of the Russian Defense Ministry.
“During the four days of the competition, the officers will compete in five sports: shooting, swimming, lifting or snatching two weights, jogging and in the relay race,” Col. Sergei Vlasov told RIA Novosti.
Vlasov also added that each team consists of ten commanders of various categories ranging from lieutenant to general. Russia has been holding such annual competitions since 2013 after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had put forward such an initiative.
Russia intensifies all types of intelligence in Middle East
Russia has recently intensified all types of intelligence efforts in the Middle East, including space reconnaissance, according to ITAR-TASS citing the head of the Main Operations Directorate of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff, Col. Gen. Andrey Kartapolov.
“All strikes are delivered by Russian aircraft at previously reconnoitered targets. In order to increase the operational efficiency of terrorist organizations’ facilities’ disclosure and precision of determination of their coordinates, we have enhanced all types of reconnaissance in the Middle East region, including space reconnaissance,” Kartapolov told journalists, as reported by ITAR-TASS.
Kartapolov added that Russia is now capable of discovering new Syrian targets and hitting them in real time.
Russia has destroyed more than 2,000 terrorist facilities since the start of its military campaign in Syria late September. However, according to recent reports, Russia is not planning to send ground troops to Syria any time soon.