The Russian Air Force has hit 53 Islamic State group targets in a 24-hour bombing frenzy in Syria, claimed Moscow’s Defense Ministry Monday. Strongholds of the militant group, also known as ISIS, in the regions of Salma and Latakia were hit, including command centers, training camps and ammunition depots.
"As a result of a pinpoint strike of Su-24M bombers near Salma settlement [in Latakia province], fragmentation air bombs destroyed a large ISIS transfer point with underground facilities and ammunition depots detected by means of space reconnaissance," Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said at a briefing, according to Russian news site Sputnik. "Detonation of munitions caused large fire. The object was completely destroyed."
Russia began strikes against rebel groups and ISIS nearly two weeks ago, as Moscow signaled its intentions to prop up authoritarian leader Bashar Assad’s regime. The Kremlin had been laying the groundwork for the strikes as it began building up a military force at the beginning of September. Along with military aircraft landing in the government-held north of the country, troops and heavy weaponry had been ferried into the nation on ships that docked at an old Soviet base on Syria’s Mediterranean coast.
While Syrian troops are actively engaging rebels and ISIS by using Russian-supplied hardware, Moscow is conducting an aggressive air campaign aimed at destroying the military units and infrastructure of any groups in opposition to Assad.
“Su-34 bombers attacked a militant camp located in the town of Mastumah, Idlib province. According to intelligence data, this camp was used by the IS group as a gathering point for militants arriving from foreign countries," Konashenkov told reporters. "In the area of the Hamah province, a Su-24M bomber destroyed an ISIL underground command center with a KAB-500 guided air bomb. The precision strike eliminated all the engineer facilities of terrorists."
The impact of the Russian involvement has seen a Syrian army resurgence against the previously dominant ISIS that has been aggressively pushed back from regions it held since it invaded more than one year ago. Intelligence reports from the Russian military have suggested that ISIS has been scrambling to resupply its beleaguered front-line soldiers.
“Over the last few days, terrorists have been making desperate attempts to send armaments, weapons, fuel, and technical equipment from the Raqqa Province to the front line with the Syrian Army,” Konashenkov said.
Since the Syrian civil war began, more than four and half years ago, more than 250,000 people have been killed and around 4 million displaced.
#SYRIA: In 24 hrs destroyed: 25 strongpoints 7 HQs 6 training camps 6 ammo depots vehicle column 3 undrgrnd shelters mobile mortar group
— Минобороны России (@mod_russia) October 12, 2015