Russian warships launch 26 missiles into Syria, hit 11 IS targets
Four Russian Navy warships have fired a total of 26 missiles at the position of the terrorist group Islamic State in Syria, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced. The missiles were fired from the Caspian Sea, RT said.
“Four missile ships launched 26 cruise missiles at 11 targets. According to objective control data, all the targets were destroyed. No civilian objects sustained damage,” Shoigu said.
The missile attacks came from Russia’s fleet in the Caspian Sea, which borders Russia, Iran and three other littoral countries. The precision weapons hit all intended targets. The attacks required cooperation from Iran and Iraq, as the missiles had to travel through their airspace to reach Syria.
The Russian Defense Ministry said it had worked with its partners to plan the flight path so that the missiles traveled only over desolate areas and didn’t pose any danger to civilians.
Four warships of the Caspian fleet were involved in the missile attacks, the Gepard-class frigate Dagestan and the Buyan-M-class corvettes Grad Sviyazhsk, Uglich and Veliky Ustyug. They fired cruise missiles from the Kalibr NK (Klub) VLS launchers. The missiles used are capable of hitting a target within 3 meters at a range of up to 2,500 km.
Earlier, Russian warships played a key part in deploying the Russian warplanes to Syria, delivering equipment and supplies to an air base near Latakia and the Navy’s old base in Tartus.
Iraq leans toward Russia in war on IS
Iraq may request Russian air strikes against Islamic State on its soil soon and wants Moscow to have a bigger role than the United States in the war against the militant group, the head of parliament’s defense and security committee said Wednesday.
“In the upcoming few days or weeks, I think Iraq will be forced to ask Russia to launch air strikes, and that depends on their success in Syria,” Hakim al-Zamili, a leading Shi’ite politician, told Reuters.
The comments were the clearest signal yet that Baghdad intends to lean on Russia in the war on Islamic State after US-led coalition airstrikes produced limited results.
Russian military action in Iraq would deepen US fears that it is losing more strategic ground to rivals in one of the world’s most critical regions.
Russian strategy tragically flawed: US
The United States will not cooperate militarily with Russia in Syria because Moscow’s strategy is “tragically flawed”, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Wednesday in his strongest comments yet on the issue, Reuters reports.
However, the United States is willing to hold basic, technical discussions with the Russians to try to secure pilot safety.
“We are not prepared to cooperate in a strategy which as we explained is flawed, tragically flawed on Russia’s part,” Carter said during a trip to Rome, renewing US accusations that Russia’s strikes were not focused on Islamic State militants.
Russia launched its air campaign last month saying it would target Islamic State. But its planes have also hit other rebel groups opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Moscow’s ally. Some of these groups are backed by Washington.
“Despite what the Russians say, we have not agreed to cooperate with Russia so long as they continue to pursue a mistaken strategy and hit these targets,” Carter said.
“What we will do is continue basic, technical discussions on professional safety procedures for our pilots flying (over) Syria. That is it. We will keep the channel open because it is a matter of security and safety for our pilots,” Carter said.