RED DAWN: Russia Pounds ISIS With Biggest Bomber Raid in Decades
Putin’s air force just used its nuclear bombers to lay waste to the capital of the ‘Islamic State.’ But they also hit areas that have little to do with ISIS.
The Russian air force just pulled off one of the biggest and most complex heavy bomber missions in modern history—sending no fewer than 25 Backfire, Bear, and Blackjack bombers on a coordinated, long-range air raid against alleged ISIS forces in Syria.
The Tuesday mission, which launched under the cover of darkness from a base in Ossetia in southern Russia, signaled a significant escalation of Moscow’s air war in Syria—and heralded the rebirth of Russian heavy bomber squadrons that once had withered from a lack of funding.
Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russia’s general staff, announced the raid on Tuesday, calling it part of “a new plan [for] the air campaign.”
“During a massive airstrike today, 14 important ISIL targets were destroyed by 34 air-launched cruise missiles,” Gerasimov said, using an alternative acronym for the terror army. “The targets destroyed include command posts that were used to coordinate ISIL activities in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo, munition and supply depots in the northwestern part of Syria.”
Idlib and Aleppo are not ISIS strongholds. Indeed, U.S.-backed rebels hold much of both provinces. Russia has maintained all along that its roughly six-week-old intervention in Syria is aimed at defeating ISIS, but in fact many Russian air and missile strikes have hit rebel groups that oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and ISIS.
Russian officials notified U.S. planners at a coalition headquarters in Qatar before the strike, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said. It was the first time the Russians and Americans have put into action an October agreement to coordinate their countries’ respective operations in Syria.
The raid came the same day Kremlin officials
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