Russian long-range fighter bombers have dropped nearly 1,500 bombs on positions of Daesh terrorists in Syria and conducted 145 sorties against the foreign-backed militants since mid-November said an air force commander.
“In total, long-range aviation aircraft in Syria have carried out around 145 mission sorties, some 1,500 bombs have been dropped and about 20 cruise missiles have been fired,” said Russia’s deputy commander of long-range aviation force General Anatoly Konovalov in an interview with a local radio station on Saturday.
The Tu-22 (Blinder) and Tu-160 (Blackjack) strategic bombers departed from Russia-based airfields and spent 16 hours in flight to carry out their combat missions over Syria since joining the anti-terror campaign in the war-ravaged Arab country on November 17.
According to the Russian commander, while the Tu-22s conducted the bombing runs, the cruise missiles were fired by the Tu-160 warplanes.
“It was extraordinary and new how the Tu-160s performed their sortie from our northern airfield of Olenegorsk, flying around Europe, entering the Mediterranean and by carrying out missile launches at Daesh targets in Syria. Notably, those targets were hit with high precision,” Konovalov added.
Previously, Russia’s anti-terror air strikes over Syria were carried out exclusively by Sukhoi warplanes, including the advanced Su-34 as well as the Su-25 and Su-24M fighter bombers.
Konovalov’s remarks coincided with a statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin, insisting that the Russian military has not yet employed all of its capabilities during its anti-terror air campaign over Syria.
“We see how effective our pilots and intelligence officers are [in Syria], how effective they are in coordinating their efforts with each other and different military branches – Army, Navy, Air Force,” said Putin.
He further emphasized that “the most modern weaponry is employed” during the air campaign and reiterated that Russia “is using everything it has in its possession” against Daesh and other terrorist groups.
He also suggested resorting to other means against Syria-based terrorists if conditions warrant it.
“We also have additional means. If there’s such a need we’ll implement them,” he said.
Russia has been engaged in operations against the Takfiri elements and other terrorist targets in Syria since September 30 following an official request by President Bashar Assad.