Russian Navy joins Air Force in attacking IS targets in Syria

Moscow: Russian warships based in the Caspian Sea have joined the country’s air campaign against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria by launching over two dozen cruise missiles on targets of the terrorist group, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday.

“This morning, Caspian flotilla ships were engaged in the campaign. Four warships launched 26 Calibre cruise missiles against 11 targets,” Shoigu said at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

He added that all targets located at a distance of 1,500-km were destroyed with no civilian casualties.

According to the defense minister, 23 Russian combat aircraft continued strikes against IS facilities.

Shoigu said the Russian air force has attacked a total of 112 targets, destroying 19 command posts, 12 ammunition depots, 71 armored vehicles as well as factories and workshops producing various explosives, including devices used in car bombs since Russia started its anti-terrorist airstrikes in Syria on Sept. 30.

“The work of the Defense Ministry in general, of General Staff experts, of officers and military personnel operating on the ground, and of our pilots in Syria merits special thanks,” Putin said in praise of the week-long campaign.

He noted that further actions of Russian military would be synchronized with those of the Syrian army on the ground.

Moreover, the Russian leader expressed the hope that a political solution to the Syrian conflict could be found with the participation of the opposition forces.

“If it is possible to combine their efforts in the fight against the common enemy, the IS and al-Nusra Front, it would create good prerequisites for future political settlement in Syria,” Putin said.

Shoigu also said that Russian and US militaries have held a second video-conference where both parties made proposals on ways to cooperate in Syria and agreed to continue this work.

“We expect a response from our colleagues. We hope that they will tell us about the targets they know,” said Shoigu, who urged establishment of a systemic cooperation mechanism, since “without the support of each other, we are unlikely to solve this problem,” the minister said.