September 26, 16:39 UTC+3
According to the Russian military, all targets were located at a safe distance from the US-led coalition force and Syrian Democratic Forces groups
Tu-95MS strategic bomber
Russian Defense Ministry’s Press and Information Department/TASS
MOSCOW, September 26. /TASS/. Russian strategic bombers hit command centers belonging to the terrorists and munitions depots in Syria with Kh-101 cruise missiles, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Tuesday.
“Tu-95MS strategic bombers delivered a strike with cruise missiles at terrorist groups’ targets in Syria. The bombers took off from the Engels airfield in Russia and flew over Iran and Iraq,” he said.
“The strategic bombers’ crews fired cruise missiles Kh-101 at most important Islamic State and Al-Nusra (both outlawed in Russia as terrorist organizations) targets detected by reconnaissance in the provinces of Deir ez-Zor and Idlib. The sudden strike hit terrorists’ command centers, areas of concentration of militants and their weapons, as well as munitions depots. Objective control data confirmed that all targets have been hit,” he said.
The Kh-101 is the Russian strategic airborne cruise missile based on modern stealth technologies. It is capable of striking targets at a distance of up to 4,500 km. Kh-101 missiles can carry nuclear warheads.
The details of the operation
All targets hit by Russia’s planes were located at a distance from populated areas and safely away from positions of US commando units and militants of the Syrian Democratic Forces:
“The attacks against the Islamic State near Deir ez-Zor were carried out to support successful offensive operations by the Syrian army to wipe out the terrorists’ last stronghold. In particular, I would like to emphasize the fact that all the targets hit were outside populated areas and safely away from US commandos’ strongholds and militants of the Syrian Democratic Forces located in the Islamic State-held areas,” the spokesman said.
Konashenkov added that aerial images of the vicinity of Deir ez-Zor the Russian Defense Ministry presented earlier showed these facilities clearly enough.
“For the sake of ensuring the security of US forces and Kurdish groups we refrain from mentioning the exact locations of these strongholds,” he noted.
Konashenkov pointed out once again that the photos of Islamic State strongholds taken over by US commando units showed no traces of hostilities.
“There are no craters artillery shells or air bombs might have left. Nor are there any guards or defense fortifications. On the basis of the two-year combat experience gained by Russian special forces operating in the rear of the Islamic State forces one cannot but ask who the US commando units are fighting side by side and against whom,” he said.
“We have received no plausible explanations on that score yet,” he said.
Earlier, the Defense Ministry published on its official Facebook page a series of aerial images of the area of Deir ez-Zor and marked the locations of US commando units. The Defense Ministry then said that US commandoes were arranging for the free passage of the Syrian Democratic Forces’ militants through Islamic State combat formations.