A timeline of Russian air strikes on Syria

5th October 2015, Comments 0 comments

Russia has launched air strikes on Syria, saying its intervention is against the jihadist Islamic State group, while Turkey and its allies say it is targeting moderate regime opponents.

Moscow says it has sent more than 50 military aircraft as well as marines, paratroopers and special forces to the war-torn country.

Wednesday, September 30

- The Russian parliament's upper house gives President Vladimir Putin formal permission to begin air strikes in Syria.

- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad asks Putin for military aid.

- Russian warplanes carry out their first strikes in Syria, hitting "eight Islamic State targets" including a command post, the defence ministry says.

- A Syrian security source says Russian and Syrian warplanes strike "terrorist positions" in the provinces of Hama in the northwest and Homs in the centre.

- The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor says, however, the strikes mainly targeted Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front and other Islamist rebels.

- Putin says Moscow must act preemptively to destroy jihadists in Syria before they present a threat closer to home.

Thursday, October 1

- The Russian warplanes destroy Al-Qaeda and Islamist rebel targets in Idlib and Hama, a Syrian security source says.

The IS is not present in Idlib, has only a marginal presence in Hama, and in Homs is present only in desert areas and the ancient city of Palmyra.

- Russia carries out its first air strikes on IS's main Syrian bastion of Raqa.

- The US and Russia discuss how to avoid mishaps between planes from the American-led coalition and Moscow.

Friday, October 2

- Seven members of the coalition -- the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey -- urge Moscow to stop attacks on the Syrian opposition and civilians and focus on fighting IS.

- Russian strikes in Syria will last for three to four months and will intensify, says Alexei Pushkov, head of the foreign affairs committee of Russia's lower house of parliament.

- US President Barack Obama warns Russia's engagement in Syria is a "recipe for disaster," as Putin "doesn't distinguish between ISIL (IS) and a moderate Sunni opposition that wants to see Mr Assad go."

Sunday, October 4

- Russia's bombing campaign is a "grave mistake", Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warns.

- Assad says that the success of Russia's intervention is vital for the whole Middle East, and that its failure would mean the region risks being "destroyed".

- The IS riposts to the strikes by blowing up the famous Arch of Triumph in Palmyra.

Monday, October 5

- Turkey protests to Moscow after its F-16 jets intercept a Russian fighter plane that violated its airspace near Syria at the weekend, forcing it to turn back. Two Turkish jets were also harassed by an unidentified MIG-29 on the border, Turkey says.

- NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warns Russia to avoid escalating tensions with the trans-Atlantic alliance through "unacceptable" violations of Turkish airspace.

- Russian jets carry out strikes on nine IS sites in Syria in 24 hours, Moscow says. But the details indicate they mostly aimed at positions belonging to other groups, notably Al-Nusra Front.

- More than 40 of the most powerful rebel factions say that Russia's campaign has made a political solution to the country's conflict impossible.

© 2015 AFP

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