Russian Military Fully Coordinating Activity With Syrian Army - Damascus
15:41 01.10.2015(updated 17:02 01.10.2015)
Moscow coordinates all its activities in Syria with Damascus, the Syrian ambassador to Russia said.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Russian military is fully coordinating its activity with the Syrian Army and airstrikes are directed only at Islamic State terrorist positions, Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riad Haddad said Thursday.
"The Russian Air Force, naturally, is fully coordinating its activities with the commanders of the Syrian Army," Haddad said at a press conference in Moscow.
He said that there are exact coordinates of where terrorist groups are located, so "all airstrikes are aimed only at IS positions in some cities or suburbs like Homs or Hama."
'Today's actions, taken under the supervision of Russian friends, are very important, and the future will show the importance, the effectiveness of Russian aviation in Syria. Several airstrikes were carried out yesterday. Today, five Islamic State positions were destroyed. These are not the strikes talked about and carried out by the Western coalition over the past year.'
Russian Airstrikes in Syria Aimed at Terrorists, Not Opposition
Russia's airstrikes in conflict-torn Syria are aimed at terrorists, and not the local opposition, Riad Haddad said.
'Syrian army strikes, supported by Russian aviation, are specifically directed against armed terrorist groups. As for the opposition, it has no combat positions on Syrian ground,' Haddad said.
'Political positions are another thing, but all who fight against the Syrian army, who kill Syrians, are acting in the interests of the Islamic State,' he added.
Syrian Army Has Coordinates of Terrorist Groups for Airstrikes
The Syrian Army has the exact coordinates of terrorist groups in the country and airstrikes are being conducted exclusively against militants and not civilians, Riad Haddad said.
"The Syrian Army has experience and we have the exact coordinates of all the armed terrorist groups that are in our territory. We, naturally, are not carrying out airstrikes against civilians or in populated areas," Haddad said.
He added that terrorist groups are located on the outskirts of cities and far from living quarters.
"I should say that it's very difficult to predict some sort of timeframes because the IS is an international terrorist organization with representatives fighting from 80 different states and these groups have weapons and financing. We don't believe this war will end in a few days…so I can't give any type of timeframe of how long the [Russian operations] will last," Haddad added.
Syria has been in a state of civil war since March 2011. Government forces have been fighting so-called moderate opposition factions and extremist groups, including the Islamic State and the Nusra Front.
A US-led coalition has been bombing ISIL targets in Syria since 2014 without the approval of the UN Security Council or Damascus.
On Wednesday, the Russian parliament backed President Vladimir Putin's request to conduct airstrikes against the Islamic State, following a request by the Syrian government.
According to an earlier statement by the Russian Defense Ministry, at least 8 ISIL targets were struck by 20 operations by the Russian Air Force.
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