Russia Launches Naval Strikes on Targets in Syria
Russia launched a naval bombardment of ISIS targets in Syria on Wednesday, a senior official said, ramping up a newly muscular presence in the Middle East.
Four Russian ships fired 26 missiles into Syria, hitting 11 targets, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin during a televised meeting.
Shoigu said the strikes were launched from the Caspian Sea using precise long-range missiles that flew 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) to their targets.
Wednesday also appeared to mark new and closer military cooperation between Russia and the embattled Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Russia and Syria launched coordinated attacks on Islamist factions in numerous towns in Hama and Idlib provinces in western Syria on Wednesday, with Syrian shelling being conducted in apparent concert with Russian airstrikes, according to an opposition group.
If the report is correct, it could offer fresh evidence that Russia’s primary goal is propping up al-Assad rather than fighting terrorism.
Even as its ships and warplanes conducted fresh strikes, Russia said it was willing to cooperate with the United States in carrying out attacks in Syria.