Russia has launched a major air offensive in Syria as part of a joint operation with Bashar al Assad’s regime.
Jets have taken off from the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier and hit targets in Idlib and Homs, while the Syrian military has attacked rebel groups inside east Aleppo.
Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu said the main targets include Islamic State (IS) and al Nusra ammunition depots, as well as plants producing weapons.
According to the minister, operations launched from the country’s sole aircraft carrier, which arrived on the Syrian coast at the weekend, are targeting IS operations in the two areas.
This is the first time the aircraft carrier, the flagship of the Russian Navy, has taken part in a military operation.
Another ship in the flotilla, the frigate Admiral Grigorovich also fired cruise missiles at Syrian targets, the minister said.
Mr Shoigu said terrorists have developed “factories” for producing weapons and claimed this is the reason for the fresh attacks.
He also said the Russian military had thoroughly assessed the targets before striking them.
He said: “You are aware that we have sent a large group of our radiation, chemical and biological protection troops to determine the toxic substances which are used by terrorists.
“Within the past week they used them twice – in one case, 27 people were hospitalized and three died, in the other case 30 people were hospitalised – I mean the Syrian Army soldiers.”
To the west of Aleppo, heavy strikes have been reported in the opposition-controlled countryside and three hospitals have been bombed in the last two days.
At present, 275,000 people are said to be trapped by regime troops inside the besieged city.