Russian strikes destroy ISIS command post, underground bunker in Syria: Official

A handout frame grab taken from video footage released by the Russian Defence Ministry's press service 02 October 2015 shows an airstrike carried out by Russian warplanes
A handout frame grab taken from video footage released by the Russian Defence Ministry's press service 02 October 2015 shows an airstrike carried out by Russian warplanesPHOTO: EPA

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russian airstrikes destroyed an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) command post near Raqa as well as an underground bunker, the defence ministry said on Saturday (Oct 3), as Moscow pressed along with its bombing campaign in Syria.

"Over the past 24 hours SU-34 and SU-24M jets of the Russian airborne formation in Syria made more than 20 sorties over nine Islamic State infrastructure facilities," the defence ministry said. ISIS is alsoknown as Islamic State (IS) and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

A command post in the area of ISIS stronghold Raqa as well as an underground bunker storing explosives had been destroyed, it added.

Russian jets had launched a fourth day of air raids in Syria on Saturday.

Earlier, a monitor said that the air raids hit ISIS's main stronghold after claims Moscow was instead targeting moderate rebel factions.

"Several Russian strikes hit IS positions west of Raqa overnight and explosions were heard in the city," Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP.

Raqa has acted as the extremist group's de facto Syrian "capital" since 2013. Russian warplanes killed 12 jihadists in Raqa province in Thursday strikes, the Observatory said, after Moscow had come under fire from the United States for allegedly targeting moderate rebel groups in Syria.

Strikes ordered by Russia - a staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad - have hit several provinces since Wednesday, including Aleppo in the north, Idlib in the northwest and Hama in central Syria.

The Russian defence ministry and the Kremlin said its planes bombed ISIS targets six times Friday and also hit the group's jihadist rival, Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate Al-Nusra Front.

US President Barack Obama later warned that Russia's aggressive military campaign in support of Assad was a "recipe for disaster". He told reporters that Russia "doesn't distinguish between (IS) and a moderate Sunni opposition that wants to see Mr Assad go."

A US-led coalition has been bombing ISIS positions in Syria since September last year.