Russian Tu-95 bombers have struck key Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Nusra Front) facilities in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor and Idlib provinces, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
“Tu-95MS strategic bombers have carried out strikes with cruise missiles against the facilities of international terrorist groups in Syria. Taking off from the Engels airfield in Russia, the Tu-95s bombers flew over the territory of Iran and Iraq” to perform the mission, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.
The H-101 cruise missiles, fired by the Russian bombers, targeted the “most important” Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Jabhat al-Nusra facilities, which were uncovered by military intelligence, he added.
“The sudden strikes destroyed the terrorists’ command posts, areas where militants and their equipment were concentrated, as well as ammunition depots,” Konashenkov said, adding that “objective control data confirmed that all targets were struck.”
During the mission, the Tu-95 bombers received Su-30 and Su-35 cover, stationed at the Russian base in Khmeimim, Syria, he said.
In order to strike targets in Syria, the bombers covered a distance of around 7,000 kilometers, performing one refueling in the air via Il-78 tankers, the spokesman added.
The airstrikes were carried out in support of a successful offensive on Islamic State positions in Deir ez-Zor by the Syrian government forces, Konashenkov said.
The spokesman stressed that the terrorist targets destroyed during the operation were “outside of residential areas and at a safe distance from support points of US Special Forces and the fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces, located in areas controlled by IS.”
Konashenkov also said it was puzzling that the aerial photos of American support points showed no signs of any military action around them.
“This begs the question: With whom and against whom are the US Special Forces fighting in Syria,” which still remains unanswered by Washington, he said.