A Russian submarine launched missiles at Islamic State group targets in Syria, the government-funded television network Russia Today reported Tuesday. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said this marked the first time a Russian submarine targeted the militant group, also known as ISIS, in Syria.
Russia and Syria have been at odds for months after Moscow began performing airstrikes against ISIS in Syria on Sept. 30. In October, ISIS militants claimed responsibility for bringing down Russian passenger plane Metrojet Flight 9268, and in November, Turkey added to the conflict by shooting down a Russian jet it said had violated its airspace near the Syrian border.
This is not the first time Russia has attacked ISIS using submarines. In November, Russian warships in the Mediterranean and Caspian seas targeted ISIS using similar missiles. The missiles launched Tuesday came from a Rostov-on-Don Kilo-class diesel-electric submarine, according to Russia Today.
The Rostov-on-Don submarine is considered one of the first trade-off models in the third generation of the Varshavyanka class. It is one of the quietest submarines in the world, holds a 52-person crew and can stay underwater for 45 days, RT reported. It is also fairly small, which allows it to steer into shallow waters.
Earlier Tuesday, Russia Today had reported that the submarine was seen near the Syrian coast, but Russian defense ministry officials initially declined to confirm the reports.
The missiles “targeted two major terrorist positions in the territory of Raqqa,” Shoigu said Tuesday, according to Russia Today. “We can say with absolute confidence that significant damage has been inflicted upon ammunition warehouses and a mine production plant, as well as the oil infrastructure.”
Over the past three days, Russian air forces have made 300 attacks that hit 600 terrorist targets, Shoigu said.“In the past three days, the operation involved Tu-22 planes as well as warplanes from the Khmeimim air base,” he said. Shoigu added that all the attacks had backup from Su-30 fighter jets.
Russia has been saying it would increase its response to ISIS following the incident in Turkey and recent terror attacks around the world.