49 targets hit in strikes in Syria: Russia

Moscow, October 19

Russia’s military said today that its jets hit an Islamic State training camp and command post of al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front in Syria as they bombed 49 targets in the latest wave of strikes.

Moscow said it has hit some 500 “terrorist” targets since launching a bombing campaign in Syria on September 30 in support of forces loyal to its long-standing ally President Bashar al-Assad, but so far the effect on the ground appears negligible.

Russia insists it is targeting IS and other groups it deems “terrorist” but the United States and its allies say it is mainly hitting more moderate rebels battling Assad. Russia’s defence ministry said in a statement that over the past 24 hours its planes had taken out an Al-Nusra command point in Idlib province in the northwest.

In the coastal Latakia province Russia said its bombing destroyed a “major training camp” of IS, while targets were also hit in the Aleppo, Hama and Damascus provinces. Joined by fighters from Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah group and Iran’s elite Quds force, Syria’s army has in the last two weeks launched ground assaults in Aleppo in the north, Hama and Homs in the centre, Latakia and outside Damascus.

The army has made small gains, seizing some villages in Aleppo, Homs and Hama.

It has yet to regain control over any key sites or supply routes and a major advance launched in Aleppo on Saturday has apparently failed to make a major breakthrough.