On Friday, Russian military officials said that the Russian Air Force had destroyed over 1,600 terrorist targets since the start of Russia’s anti-terror operation in Syria a month ago.
According to Colonel General Andrey Kartapolov of Russia’s General Staff, some of the targets destroyed include command posts, training camps, ammunition and fuel depots and field bases.
Kartapolov also said that 28 of the “most odious” terrorist leaders have been eliminated and that the Russian airstrikes allowed the Syrian military to free over 50 towns and villages from ISIS control.
According to RT, Kartapolov stressed that despite the Islamic State’s “considerable losses and mass walkouts,” it is too early to claim a complete victory over the terrorists in Syria. He added that militants are continuing their stand against Syrian government troops in some regions, but the Syrian Army has suppressed all their efforts.
Kartapolov believes that it is more difficult to defeat jihadists in some regions because they have controlled the areas for some time and have turned them into powerful tactical localities that have a network of underground passages and hideouts.
In his report, Kartapolov also said commanders that used to be a part of Al-Nusra Front have joined the ranks of the moderate opposition, and they are hoping to receive political and financial support from foreign nations.
ISIS has recently seen a decrease in their number of fighters, which is why the group is redeploying fighters from Iraq to Syria. The group has also had some fighters deserting and fighting for the Syrian government, so they have started executing deserters publicly to dissuade other fighters from leaving.
According to Kartapolov, the Russian Defense Ministry is willing to work with all Syrian forces fighting ISIS and Al-Nusra Front, including opposition forces like the Free Syrian Army.
“We are ready to interact with patriotic opposition in any format, also within a joint information center in Baghdad,” Kartapolov said, adding “all patriotic forces in Syria should act as a united front” in the face of the international terror threat. “Unfortunately, this [unity] hasn’t happened yet.”
Despite the success the Russian military has had against ISIS in Syria, Moscow has been under scrutiny by Western countries amid unconfirmed reports circulating in the mainstream media.
“Despite the fact that the General Staff immediately and mostly fully informs the public on the actions of the Russian Air Force in Syria, new forgeries appear in the western media almost daily,” Kartapolov said.
Kartapolov believes that the reports in the news make it look like the Russian airstrikes have destroyed more civilian structures than terrorist inhabited areas, which he says isn’t true.
To prove his point, Kartapolov showed a picture of a mosque that some media outlets reported was allegedly bombed by the Russians. The picture, which was taken after the reports were published, show the mosque was still intact.
Despite Kartapolov’s claims, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told the Associated Press that the Russians appeared to have targeted areas that did not include IS militants. Carter also said that the Russians did not use formal channels to give advance notice of its airstrikes to the United States, which is conducting its own airstrikes in Syria against ISIS.
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