Four Russian warships in the Caspian Sea launched 26 rockets at Islamic State in Syria which hit their targets, Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and President Vladimir Putin said in a joint television appearance on Wednesday.
He said that in the next few days there would be another video conference between Russian and U.S. military, as the first was held Thursday following the start of Russian air strikes against IS facilities.
U.S. and Russian officials held discussions last week – at Russia’s request – on a mechanism to avoid accidents between warplanes flying over Syria.
Moscow has mainly targeted central and north-western Syria, strategic regions that are the gateway to president Bashar Assad’s strongholds in Damascus, and along the Mediterranean coast.
The Russian defense ministry said on Wednesday that Washington’s refusal to share intelligence with it about the positions of Islamic State militants showed the United States was looking for an excuse not to fight terrorism.
An estimated 3,000 Islamic State fighters as well as militants from other extremist groups have fled Syria for Jordan fearing a renewed offensive by the Syrian army in addition to Russian airstrikes, a military official has told RIA news agency.
The Local Coordination Committees, another activist group, said rebels were able to destroy two tanks and an armored personnel carrier in northern parts of Hama province near Idlib. The airstrikes were clearly meant to tip the area to the government’s favor, he added.
The Iraqi official said that the decision would depend on how efficient the Russian campaign in Syria proved to be.
Syria’s foreign minister said on Monday that the Russian air strikes had been planned for months.
Russian Federation claims to be targeting ISIS in its air offensive launched a week ago.
“They are afraid of the Syrian army having stepped up activities on all fronts and of Russian airstrikes”, the RIA source said. The attacks apparently required cooperation from Iran and Iraq, as the missiles had to travel through their airspace to reach Syria.
The spokesperson added that Defense Department officials are ready to meet with Russians as soon as possible, but have not received a follow-up from Moscow yet.
US officials have been critical of Russia’s entrance into the Syrian conflict and Carter said the latest issues will cause the U.S.to further strengthen its posture against Moscow.
The Islamic State group is not present in the areas where the fighting is underway.
“The impression is that the incident in Turkish airspace was used in order to include (it) … into the information campaign unleashed in the West, which perverts and distorts the purposes of the operation conducted by the Russian air forces in Syria”, Aleksandr Grushko, Russia’s envoy to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, said.