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Syria air strikes: Russian military claims it has hit 86 Isis targets, destroying 'most' munitions and heavy weapons

Published 13/10/2015

A video grab made on October 13, 2015, shows an image taken from a footage made available on the Russian Defence Ministry's official website, purporting to show explosions after airstrikes carried out by Russian air force on what Russia says was an Islamic State ammunition depot in the Syrian province of Latakia. Russia's air force hit 86
A video grab made on October 13, 2015, shows an image taken from a footage made available on the Russian Defence Ministry's official website, purporting to show explosions after airstrikes carried out by Russian air force on what Russia says was an Islamic State ammunition depot in the Syrian province of Latakia. Russia's air force hit 86 "terrorist" targets in Syria in the past 24 hours, the defence ministry said on October 13, in the highest one-day tally since it launched its bombing campaign on September 30. AFP/Getty Images
In this photo taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015, a Russian SU-24M jet fighter takes off from an airbase Hmeimim in Syria. A spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry has rejected claims that Russia in its airstrikes in Syria is targeting civilians or opposition forces. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)
A video grab made on October 13, 2015, shows an image taken from a footage made available on the Russian Defence Ministry's official website, purporting to show explosions after airstrikes carried out by Russian air force on what Russia says was an Islamic State ammunition depot in the Syrian province of Hama. Russia's air force hit 86 "terrorist" targets in Syria in the past 24 hours, the defence ministry said on October 13, in the highest one-day tally since it launched its bombing campaign on September 30. AFP/Getty Images

The Russian military claims to have destroyed “most” of Isis’s ammunition and heavy weapons after days of intensive air strikes across Syria.

The extraordinary claims, which have been met with scepticism from experts, were accompanied by a series of videos showing attacks on targets by Su-24 and -24M bombers.

According to the ministry, at least 86 Isis targets were hit during 88 separate sorties over 24 hours on Monday and Tuesday. Russia said it carried out more than 100 air missions in Syria over the weekend.

“Russian air strikes resulted in the elimination of the majority of ISIS ammunition, heavy vehicles and equipment,” the Russian defence ministry said in a statement.

It added that Russian jets hit command posts, military vehicles, ammunition and armament depots, plants producing explosives, field camps and bases in the provinces of Raqqah, Hama, Idlib, Latakia and Aleppo.

Srdja Trifkovic, a Serbian-American foreign affairs expert and editor with Chronicles magazine, told Russa Today: “The Russians with Syrian boots on the ground have done more to degrade Isis in less than 10 days than the US did in more than a year of its half-hearted campaign.”

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But Charlie Winter, a senior researcher for UK think-tank Quilliam, said Russia's claims were 'ridiculous'. “I highly doubt that even the Russians, who will be party to much of Assad intelligence, know where the “majority of ISIS ammunition, heavy vehicles and equipment” is located,” Mr Winter told The Independent.

A Russian SU-24M jet fighter takes off from an airbase Hmeimim in Syria (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)
A Russian SU-24M jet fighter takes off from an airbase Hmeimim in Syria (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)
In this photo taken from Russian Defense Ministry official website on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015, a Russian SU-34 bomber taxies at an air base Hmeimim in Syria. A spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry has rejected claims that Russia in its airstrikes in Syria is targeting civilians or opposition forces. (AP Photo/ Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)
In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015, two Russian SU-25 ground attack aircrafts take off from an airbase Hmeimim in Syria. A spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry has rejected claims that Russia in its airstrikes in Syria is targeting civilians or opposition forces. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)
In this photo taken from Russian Defense Ministry official website on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015, a Russian SU-24M jet fighter prepares to take off from an airbase Hmeimim in Syria. A spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry has rejected claims that Russia in its airstrikes in Syria is targeting civilians or opposition forces. (AP Photo/ Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)
A picture taken on October 5, 2015 shows Russian air force pilots and technicians checking a Russian Sukhoi Su-30 jet fighter at the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. AFP PHOTO / KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA / ALEXANDER KOTS *RUSSIA OUT*ALEXANDER KOTS/AFP/Getty Images
In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Monday, Oct. 5, 2015 a bomb is released from Russian Su-24M jet fighter in Syria. NATO strongly criticized the Russian air campaign in Syria that began Wednesday. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)
A picture taken on October 3, 2015 shows Russian air force technicians checking a Russian Su-34 fighter bomber at the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. AFP PHOTO / KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA / ALEXANDER KOTS *RUSSIA OUT*ALEXANDER KOTS/AFP/Getty Images
A picture taken on October 5, 2015 shows Russian air force pilots and technicians checking a Russian Sukhoi Su-30 jet fighter at the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. AFP PHOTO / KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA / ALEXANDER KOTS *RUSSIA OUT*ALEXANDER KOTS/AFP/Getty Images
A picture taken on October 3, 2015 shows a Russian army pilot leaving the cockpit of a Russian Sukhoi SU-25 ground attack aircraft at the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. AFP PHOTO / KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA / ALEXANDER KOTS *RUSSIA OUT*ALEXANDER KOTS/AFP/Getty Images
A picture taken on October 3, 2015 shows a Russian Sukhoi SU-24 bomber taking off from the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. AFP PHOTO / KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA / ALEXANDER KOTS *RUSSIA OUT*ALEXANDER KOTS/AFP/Getty Images
A picture taken on October 3, 2015 shows a Russian Sukhoi SU-30 SM jet fighter standing on a runway at the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. AFP PHOTO / KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA / ALEXANDER KOTS *RUSSIA OUT*ALEXANDER KOTS/AFP/Getty Images
An image grab made from a video released by the Russian Defence Ministry on October 5, 2015 reportedly shows a Russian aircraft dropping bombs during an airstrike against Islamic State (IS) group's positions at an undisclosed location in Syria. Russia has launched air strikes on Syria, saying its intervention is against the jihadist IS group, while Turkey and its allies say it is targeting moderate regime opponents. AFP PHOTO / HO / RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT " AFP PHOTO / RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS-/AFP/Getty Images
A picture taken on October 3, 2015 shows Russian Sukhoi SU-30 SM jet fighters landing on a runway at the Hmeimim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia. AFP PHOTO / KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA / ALEXANDER KOTS *RUSSIA OUT*ALEXANDER KOTS/AFP/Getty Images
This photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Monday, Oct. 5, 2015 shows an attack made from a fighter jet in Syria. Russian Defense Ministry describes the incident as an airstrike against an ISIS ammunition depot near Talbiseh settlement (Homs). The object is completely destroyed. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)
In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, an aerial view of a bomb explosion in Syria. According to information released by the Russian Defense Ministry, Russian aircraft have carried out 20 sorties in Syria in the past 24 hours. (AP Photo/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)
In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, an aerial view of a bomb explosion in Syria. According to information released by the Russian Defense Ministry, Russian aircraft have carried out 20 sorties in Syria in the past 24 hours. (AP Photo/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)
In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, an aerial view of a bomb explosion in Syria. According to information released by the Russian Defense Ministry, Russian aircraft have carried out 20 sorties in Syria in the past 24 hours. (AP Photo/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)

Russia began launching air strikes in Syria on 30 September at the request of the Syrian government, allowing Syrian government forces to carry out a multi-pronged ground assault.

Moscow insists it is mainly targeting the Isis group, but Western-backed rebels say the ground-and-air offensive is largely being waged in areas controlled by other insurgents in order to strengthen the Assad regime’s position.

“[Western countries] say we are bombing false targets. On Sunday US air forces targeted a power station and a transformer in Aleppo. Why did they do it? Whom did they punish? What was the sense? That is unclear,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, Iraq said it had begun bombing Isis targets with help from a new intelligence centre that has staff from Russia, Iran and Syria.

"We can get a lot of use from Russian intelligence [in Iraq], even if they don't do air strikes,” Shia politician Hakim al Zamili told Reuters.

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