Russia claims Syrian opposition gave coordinates for strike

Russia says Syrian opposition gave coordinates for air strike in Syria, marking first time Moscow admits to be cooperating with opposition factions

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

A Russian war jet takes off from an air base in Syria

Updated Nov 15, 2015

More than 24 positions have been targeted by Russian warplanes on Tuesday as Russia says that Syrian “opposition representatives” gave intelligence for the air strikes.

"The coordinates of all of these targets were given to us by opposition representatives," senior military official Andrei Kartapolov said, but he did not specify any definite group of opposition.

According to Kartapolov, the Russian jets on Tuesday hit targets close to Palmyra, Deir Ezzor, Ithriya and eastern Aleppo in targeting “terrorist” bastions depending on intelligence provided by the Syrian opposition.

"Such close cooperation will allow us to unite the efforts of the government troops with other patriotic forces in Syria that used to be in the opposition and act as a united front against the common enemy - international terrorism," the defence ministry said in a statement.  

Last week, Russia said it had met with members of the Syrian opposition specifying no definite group being involved.

On Tuesday it was announced that the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the UN envoy for Syria will meet in Moscow for talks to discuss the Syrian crisis and to prepare for “real” talks between the Syrian regime representatives and Syrian opposition.

Moreover, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on Tuesday that his country is preparing for talks between Syrian government officials and opposition members in Moscow within the next week, as Russia said last week that it had met with members of the Syrian opposition, although it did not identify which groups or individuals were involved.

Russia has been one of the main allies of the Syrian regime and its leader Bashar al Assad since the four-year-long war in Syria started.

Russia has launched an aerial campaign since September 30, mainly targeting Syrian rebels’ positions despite the initially claims to attack DAESH.

US, who is leading another air campaign in Syria, has accused Russia of targeting the US-trained “moderate Syrian opposition” fighting against Assad’s regime. On Wednesday, US officials said Moscow's military force in Syria has grown to about 4,000 personnel, claims which Russia denies saying that only Russian military experts are involved on ground.

According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), more than 600 people have been killed including 186 civilians since Russia started its air campaign in Syria.

The UN estimates the death toll in Syria, since the war started, to be at least 250,000, while the SOHR states that the number have now reached 350,000.

A further estimate of 350,000 refugees have sought asylum in European Union countries since the war began in Syria in 2011.

About 4 million others took refuge in neighbouring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt, with Turkey hosting the largest group with over 2 million.

Thousands are still pushing towards EU countries which caused a global refugee crisis urging for an immediate solution in Syria.

TRTWorld and agencies