Russian Air Force intensifies strikes on terrorists near Palmyra (VIDEO)
Russia used six long-range bombers to target terrorist forces and oil sites in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry reported, saying it is intensifying airstrikes near Palmyra.
The Tu-22M3 bombers flew all the way from Russian territory to deliver their deadly cargo, the report said.
The ministry also released a video of the operation.
The airstrikes focused on areas around as-Suhnah and Arak, the Russian military said. Both towns are located east of Palmyra on a strategic road connecting the ancient city with Deir ez-Zor, an Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) stronghold in the east of Syria.
“The strikes destroyed a command point, a militant field camp, two oil pumping sites, a significant number of enemy personnel and hardware,” the military reported.
The US-led coalition, which is fighting IS separately from Russia, was duly notified of the pending mission, the ministry noted.
This week, Russian airstrikes have hit over 50 targets in Syria since Tuesday, the ministry said.
Moscow sent warplanes to Syria in September of last year at the request of its government, turning the tide of the bloody war. Russia has since downsized its military presence in Syria, however. One of the biggest successes of the campaign was the re-capture of Palmyra from IS in March.
Russia and the US are trying to stabilize the situation in Syria by bringing together Damascus and "moderate" groups that do not share a jihadist agenda, but the effort has been stalled by the animosity of the warring parties, as well as other factors. Difficulty in distinguishing opposition groups as either jihadists or "moderates" has also been a bone of contention.