The Russian air force is carrying out increased airstrikes to aid a Syrian military campaign aimed at devastating rebel positions along the Syria-Turkey border, an official from Syria’s Ministry of Information told Breitbart Jerusalem.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described a battle plan under way in multiple Syrian districts close to the Turkish border. The official stated:
The Russians are investing great efforts from the air in order to assist the Syrian infantry forces and their allies in their attempt to break through the areas still in the rebels’ control in and around the city of Aleppo, and in the Aleppo region in general.
Simultaneously, a similar effort is being made in the Daraa province near the Turkish border. The goal is that the forces of the official Syrian army will create a continuum in the Daraa-Halab area. This means a fatal blow to Turkey’s ability to continue to assist the rebels.
In the Latakia province as well, the Russians and the Syrian army are operating in order to break through the rebel positions leading to the depths of the Turkish border area. In this region, efforts focus on controlling the strategic hilltops in the province’s rural area.
The official said the Russians are determined to “debilitate” Turkish assistance to the rebels, “an assistance which, if damaged, would serve a lethal blow to the terrorists.”
The official said that “today it is possible to say that the Syrian army is in control of over a third of the land” and he estimated that in the next two days Syria will control about half of the area near the Turkish border.
While not mentioning any Russian air assistance, Syria’s state-run SANA news agency on Tuesday reported on major battles in Aleppo, Daara and Latakia.
In Daara, an army unit destroyed “Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist’s hideouts with all terrorists inside south of the Court’s vicinity in the Daraa al-Balad neighborhood in the southern Daraa province.”
A military source told SANA Tuesday that another rebel headquarters was destroyed in the Al-Bado neighborhood “with all weapons and ammunition inside.”
In Apello, SANA reported:
An army unit clashed with terrorists who attempted to attack AzizeIt Sama’an village in the southwestern countryside of Aleppo province, destroying a mortar cannon, a heavy cannon, a heavy-equipped machine gun, an armored vehicle and killing a number of them, while the rest fled away.
The army units destroyed terrorist organizations’ gatherings with all weapons and equipment in Kafernaha and west of al-Hader in the southern and southwestern countryside of the province.
Another army unit destroyed Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorists’ vehicles, some equipped with heavy machineguns in the village of Hazazeh, 52km east of Aleppo city.
In Aleppo city, an army unit targeted Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists’ hideouts and hotbeds in the neighborhoods of al-Ameriyeh, al-Rashideen1, al-Lairamoun, Bani Zaid and al- Sheikh Khedur, inflicting heavy losses upon them.
And in Lattakia, SANA claimed more villages came under the Syrian military’s control.
Russian airstrikes have been aiding Syrian ground operations for months. Yesterday, Russian airstrikes cleared the way for Syrian military operations in northwestern and southwestern portions of Syria, UPI reported.
On Sunday, Russian airstrikes killed at least 30 people in the town of Ariha in northwestern Syria.
The report of a stepped up Russian presence along the Turkish border comes as the Obama administration reportedly pressed Turkey to deploy thousands of additional troops along the Turkish side of the border with the goal of cordoning off a 60-mile stretch to block the transport of Islamic State fighters into and out of Syria.
Last month, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told China’s Phoenix Television that Russian airstrikes aid Syrian ground operations that that the Russians depend on Syrian soldiers on the ground and “co-operate with us.”
The Wall Street Journal reported:
The U.S. hasn’t officially requested a specific number of soldiers. Pentagon officials estimated that it could take as many as 30,000 to seal the border on the Turkish side for a broader humanitarian mission. Cordoning off just one section alone could take 10,000 or more, one official estimated.
The border moves come as Russia and Turkey continue to face off diplomatically after Turkey last week shot down a Russian Su-24 military jet.
The Turkish military claims it warned the Russian warplane that it was violating Turkish airspace 10 times in five minutes. Russia says it can prove its aircraft was flying over
Syria and it received no prior warnings