Twenty six rockets were launched at ISIS positions inside Syria, all the way from the Caspian Sea, Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and President Vladimir Putin said in a joint television appearance on Wednesday.
The initial purpose of the Russian presence in Syria was to battle the growing militancy of ISIS, however, since the beginning of the Russian operations in September 30, majority of Russian air strikes had targeted the Syrian opposition including US-trained moderate rebels.
Russian military had released videos and photos of Wednesday’s Caspian Sea operation, in which graphics were used to show the trace of each rocket’s journey from the warship to the targets in Syria.
Homs,Hama, Idlib and Aleppo in Syria have all witnessed the first joint operations of the Syrian regime on the ground, and the Russian warplanes in the air on Wednesday. All hit positions with weak or no ISIS presence, and all have high concentration of Syrian opposition forces.
US, Turkey, and several Arab states are accusing Moscow of using ISIS as a pretext to aid Assad’s power in Syria and attack opposition held areas. However Putin said it was too early to demand results of the Russian air strikes in Syria.
Putin ordered Shoigu to continue cooperation with the United States, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq on Syria according to media reports.
However, the Turkish Foreign Ministry has denied on Wednesday discussing with Russian officials over the establishment of 'any working group' between the countries on the coordination of military activities, concerning primarily on the air strikes against the militant groups in Syria.
US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter also said the US did not agree to cooperate militarily with Russia in Syria, calling the strategies of Russian military operations as "tragically flawed".
Shoigu said on Tuesday that Russia had summoned foreign military attaches in Moscow and suggested Western countries should help supply Russia with intelligence on ISIS positions.
"Today we are expecting a reply from our colleagues and we hope they will tell us about those targets which they have," he said.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has strongly criticised the air strikes on Wednesday saying that, "[Russians] are not making their air strikes against DAESH [ISIS],” speaking in a meeting organised by his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in Istanbul
“Russian air forces have carried out 55 air strikes against moderate opposition groups out of a total of their 57 air strikes in Syria. They have only carried out two attacks against DAESH according to our military sources,” he detailed.
Turkey and US have consistently defended to topple the Assad regime backing opposition groups, while Russia and Iran have been backing the Syrian regime since the beginning of the four-year war in Syria.
During the bloody Syrian civil war, more than 250,000 Syrians have been killed, whilst, half of the country’s population are displaced internally or in the neighbouring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq and in Europe, where more than 350,000 Syrians have claimed asylum.