Russia warships and sub fire cruise missiles at Syria

MOSCOW (AFP) – Two Russian warships and a submarine in the Mediterranean have fired missiles at ISIS group targets in Syria, the defence ministry said Friday (June 23).

It said that Turkish and Israeli military “were informed in a timely manner of the missile launches through communication channels,” but it did not mention the United States.

Russia has suspended its communication channel with the US on military operations in Syria after a US jet shot down a Syrian warplane on Sunday, with Moscow accusing Washington of failing to issue a warning.

The defence ministry said that Russia’s Admiral Essen and Admiral Grigorovich warships and the Krasnodar submarine fired six Kalibr missiles at command centres and weapons stores in Syria’s Hama region.

“As a result of the surprise mass missile strike, command points were destroyed and also large stores of weapons and ammunition of the IS terrorists in the area of Aqirbat in the Hama province,” it said, using another name for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group. 

The ministry added that Russian planes then carried out aerial strikes that “destroyed the remainder of the IS fighters and their facilities.” 

The ministry released video footage of missiles being fired from underwater by the submarine and from the ships as well as aerial footage of the missiles striking two-storey buildings in what appeared to be semi-desert areas.

The most recent such strikes from ships and submarines were announced by the ministry on May 31, aimed at targets around Palmyra.

The defence ministry said Friday that ISIS  fighters have been moving forces into Hama province this week under cover of night and using large buildings there as command points and weapons stores.

It said the fighters were trying to move out from Raqa towards Palmyra.