Taking on ISIL: Assad is Russia's Wingman in the Skies Over Syria
Russian and Syrian warplanes are successfully coordinating their efforts to destroy Islamic State targets in Syria, according to RIA Novosti.
The Syrian Air Force and a unit of the Russian Aerospace Forces remain in constant contact, with a special headquarters relaying Islamic State targets between Russian and Syrian aircraft. If the warplanes are on a mission at the same area, the pilots choose different altitudes, the commander of Hama Airbase was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying.
According to him, the Syrian and Russian warplanes mainly target mass gatherings of Islamic State militants, as well as their control centers, headquarters and convoys.
'Each and every target is meticulously tracked down, which excludes attacks on civilians,' he said.
'The location of the targets is defined very clearly, and the headquarters then distributes them among the Russian and Syrian [aircraft],' he added.
As for the Hama air base, it is located on the outskirts of the city of Hama in central Syria and is believed to be a facility which is of strategic importance. Islamic State militants have repeatedly tried to seize the base, which has seen sporadic fire from the jihadist group.
There are a total of fifteen military airfields and airbases in Syria; five of them are currently controlled by the Islamic State. Additionally, there is the Deir Ezzor airbase in eastern Syria, which was seized in the past three years, and the Kwayre base outside the city of Aleppo, where deadly clashes between the army and militants have repeatedly taken place.
On September 30, more than fifty Russian aircraft, including Su-24M, Su-25 and Su-34 warplanes, commenced precision airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria at the behest of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Earlier that day, the Russian upper house of parliament unanimously supported the request of President Vladimir Putin to deploy units of the Russian Aerospace Forces abroad.
Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riad Haddad confirmed that Syrian Army strikes, supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces, had been carried out against armed terrorist organizations, not opposition political factions or civilians.
Russian aircraft reportedly conducted more than a thousand sorties, killing several hundred Islamic State militants as well as dozens of control centers, warehouses and other facilities owned by terrorists.
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