Russia delivers up to 40 airstrikes daily to help Free Syrian Army fight terrorists - General Staff

Free Syrian Army fighters © Khalil Ashawi
Warplanes of the Russian task force in Syria deliver 30 to 40 airstrikes daily in support of the Free Syrian Army, the General Staff reports. Some 5,000 FSA troops together with the Syrian Army are on the offensive in Hama, Homs, Aleppo and Raqqa provinces.

The number of FSA personnel who have come over to the Syrian Army is constantly growing, Russia’s Defense Force Chief of Staff, Army General Valery Gerasimov, said.

READ MORE: Free Syrian Army shares intel on ISIS targets, US reluctant to cooperate - Putin

He added that Russia’s task force in Syria is also supplying FSA units with “weapons, munitions and other material supplies.” In this way, Russia is “promoting the [Syrian] government troops and opposition groups joining efforts to defeat the terrorists,” the general said.

On Monday, a Russian presidential aide for military and technical cooperation rebuked claims about Moscow shipping weapons to the FSA.

“No,” Vladimir Kozhin told media while answering a question about alleged arms supplies, RIA Novosti reported.

According to the General Staff, for the purpose of cutting off the terrorists' financing, Russian jets bomb oil-processing infrastructure controlled by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), such as oil refineries, oil pipeline pumping stations and oil tankers en route to the Turkish border.

Gerasimov said the Russian task force in Syria is delivering bomb and missile strikes solely on installations of terrorist infrastructure. He added that Russia has so far received no substantial support from countries Moscow considered partners in regard to fighting terrorism in Syria.

“In the course of battling radical Islamism we’ve not received support on the part of those [countries] we used to believe to be our partners. On the contrary, we received a stab in the back with a Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jet violating Syrian airspace and downing our Su-24,” General Gerasimov said at a briefing for foreign military attachés in Moscow.

Meanwhile rebels from a separate, recently-formed alliance of armed groups - including some that identify themselves as FSA – have confirmed to Reuters that their fighters benefited indirectly from Russian air strikes in a recent battle with militants, including the Al-Nusra Front. However, they denied any direct Russian support.

One of the Free Syrian Army leaders, General Hossam Awak, said the FSA is ready to provide Russia with “precise intelligence” on IS terrorists’ positions and is willing to cooperate with Moscow in the fight against the extremist group.

"We have precise intelligence, documents, maps, and we can share them with the Russians so that their strikes on Daesh [Islamic State] are more effective," Awak told Sputnik News.

"We really want to cooperate with the Russians in the fight against Daesh on condition that their airstrikes hit solely Daesh targets," he added.