2015 Russian air raids in Syria

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Template:Operational plan Template:Campaignbox Foreign involvement in the Syrian Civil War

Russian air raids in Syria began on September 30, 2015,[1] following the Federation Council approval to use troops in Syria in order to fight millitant groups, notably the Islamic State, at the request of President of Syria Bashar al-Assad.[2]


Russian Sukhoi Su-25 at Latakia, 3 October 2015

Prior to September 2015, Russia had armed and trained the Syrian Armed Forces in the use of Russian-supplied weaponry.[3][4]

Reportedly, the first Russian airstrikes came on September 30, 2015, against targets in Rastan, Talbiseh, and Zafaraniya, in the vicinity of the city of Homs.[1] Bild journalist Julian Röpcke said at least 65 were killed.[5] Some of the airstrikes on September 30, 2015 targeted the Free Syrian Army.[6][7]

According to a Twitter feed identifying as the Ministry of Defence (Russia), Russia on October 1 launched a fresh wave of strikes. The strikes reportedly targeted positions in the north-west held by the Army of Conquest Islamist alliance.[8] The Russian Ministry of Defense also claimed that Su-24M and Su-25 aircraft performed 8 sorties eliminating ISIS terrorist staff and ammunition depot near Idlib & 3-level HQ centre at Hamah.[9]

The Homs area is crucial to President Bashar al-Assad’s control of western Syria. Insurgent control of the area would separate the coastal cities of Latakia (where Russian aircraft are based) and Tartus from the Russian naval facility in Tartus.[10]

Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar quoted sources from Raqqa which reported a "state of confusion" in the ranks of ISIL, as fighters were leaving their headquarters and were heading to civilian areas. Some of the militants reportedly began evacuating their families to the Iraqi city of Mosul fearing further Russian air raids. Patrols on the streets of Raqqa were also being reduced.[11]


The strikes were criticized on the basis that the strikes were not directed at ISIL-controlled targets and that they targeted the Free Syrian Army,[12][7] though ISIL targets have since been attacked (on 1 October 2015).[13] Some commentators indicate that the strikes were directed at "CIA-backed" anti-Assad rebels.[14] U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter characterized the strikes as tantamount to “pouring gasoline on the fire.”[7]

In response to these criticisms, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov insisted that they were consistent with a broad anti-terrorist framework.[15] The Army of Conquest includes an Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front,[16][17] which had been declared a terrorist organisation by the United States,[18] and another Salafi-jihadi coalition known as Ahrar ash-Sham.[19][20]

See also



  1. 1.0 1.1 "US and Russian military to hold urgent talks over Syria crisis after Putin defies West - live updates". The Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/11900853/Putin-request-for-use-of-Russian-troops-in-Syria-approved-live.html. Retrieved 30 September 2015. 
  2. "Russian parliament unanimously approves use of troops in Syria". RT. 30 September 2015. http://www.rt.com/news/317013-parliament-authorization-troops-abroad/. Retrieved 30 September 2015. 
  3. "Russia Arming Syria to Counter Terrorism". Sputnik. 30 September 2015. http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20150909/1026775138/russia-syria-weapons.html. Retrieved 30 September 2015. 
  4. "Russia 'is pouring gasoline on the fire' of Syria's civil war, says America after Putin defies the West and drops bombs on non-ISIS forces fighting Assad". Daily Mail. 1 October 2015. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3254579/Russian-politicians-grant-permission-send-troops-Syria-fight-ISIS-12-Cubs-Caliphate-child-soldiers-killed-France-s-air-strike-against-jihadis.html. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  5. "Julian Röpcke: 65 deaths so far". Twitter. 30 September 2015. https://twitter.com/JulianRoepcke/status/649200558956519424. Retrieved 30 September 2015. 
  6. "'Russia kills US-backed Syrian rebels in second day of air strikes as Iran prepares for ground offensive' - live updates". Telegraph.co.uk. 1 October 2015. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/11903702/Russias-Vladimir-Putin-launches-strikes-in-Syria-on-Isil-to-US-anger-live-updates.html. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Shaun Walker. "US accuses Russia of 'throwing gasoline on fire' of Syrian civil war". the Guardian. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/30/russia-launches-first-airstrikes-against-targets-in-syria-says-us. 
  8. "Syria conflict: Russia launches fresh strikes". BBC News. 1 October 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-34413050. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  9. "Минобороны России on Twitter". Twitter. https://twitter.com/mod_russia/status/649539144838942720. 
  10. "France claims Russian jets have struck rebel, not IS forces in Homs". euronews. 30 September 2015. http://www.euronews.com/2015/09/30/syria-russian-air-strikes-have-started-according-to-us-official/. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  11. ""داعش" ينقل عوائل مقاتليه... والجيش يصدّ هجماته في دير الزور ("Daesh evacuates the families of fighters while the Army repels attacks in Deir Ezzor")". Al Akhbar. 3 October 2015. http://www.al-akhbar.com/node/243185. Retrieved 4 October 2015. 
  12. "'Russia kills US-backed Syrian rebels in second day of air strikes as Iran prepares for ground offensive' - live updates". Telegraph.co.uk. 1 October 2015. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/11903702/Russias-Vladimir-Putin-launches-strikes-in-Syria-on-Isil-to-US-anger-live-updates.html. 
  13. "Russia jets strike Islamic State in northern Syria: al-Mayadeen TV". Reuters. 1 October 2015. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/01/us-mideast-crisis-syria-raqqa-idUSKCN0RV4UV20151001. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  14. Dion Nissenbaum; Adam Entous; Nathan Hodge; Sam Dagher (1 October 2015). "Russian Airstrike in Syria Targeted CIA-Backed Rebels, U.S. Officials Say". Wall Street Journal. http://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-airstrike-in-syria-targeted-cia-backed-rebels-u-s-officials-say-1443663993. 
  15. "Syria conflict: Russia defends air strikes". BBC News. 1 October 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-34416978. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  16. "Russia launches media offensive on Syria bombing". BBC News. 1 October 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34411653. 
  17. "Gulf allies and ‘Army of Conquest". Al-Ahram Weekly. 28 May 2015. http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/News/12392/21/Gulf-allies-and-%E2%80%98Army-of-Conquest%E2%80%99.aspx. 
  18. "'Russia kills US-backed Syrian rebels in second day of air strikes as Iran prepares for ground offensive'". The Daily Telegraph. 2 October 2015.
  19. Kim Sengupta (12 May 2015). "Turkey and Saudi Arabia alarm the West by backing Islamist extremists the Americans had bombed in Syria". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-crisis-turkey-and-saudi-arabia-shock-western-countries-by-supporting-antiassad-jihadists-10242747.html. 
  20. "Who is Russia bombing in Syria? The militant groups determined to fight to the death". The Independent. 1 October 2015. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/who-is-russia-bombing-in-syria-the-groups-set-for-fight-to-the-death-isis-al-nusra-a6675751.html. 

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