Russian military are inscribing ‘For Paris’ on bombs destined for targets in Syria, in solidarity with the victims of the attacks in the French capital.
A video posted online today by the Defence Minister also shows a member of ground crew writing ‘For Ours’ on a bomb at Russia’s Hmeymim airbase.
‘Pilots and technicians of Hmeymim airbase have sent their message to terrorists by priority airmail,’ said a caption accompanying the post.
Russia also unleashed cruise missiles from warships in the Caspian Sea at targets across Syria, as Moscow kept up its intensified bombardments in the already war-torn country.
Moscow fired 18 missiles from ships in its Caspian Sea fleet at seven targets in the Raqqa, Idlib and Aleppo provinces, according to Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu.
It was the second time that warships have been used since the start of the bombing campaign on September 30.
Moscow has stepped up its strikes in Syria with long-distance bombers after confirming for the first time on Tuesday that a bomb downed a Russian airliner in Egypt last month, killing all 224 people on board.
President Vladimir Putin was told in a briefing by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu that cruise missile strikes against one target near the ISIS-controlled city of Deir Ezzor had killed ‘more than 600 fighters’.
But it was not specified when the strike had taken place.
Minister Shoigu also told President Putin that Russian planes destroyed 15 oil refining and storage facilities in Syria and 525 trucks carrying oil during this week’s bombing blitz.
He said this deprived ISIS of $1.5million (£990,000) in daily income from oil sales.
At least eight people were killed in at least 50 air strikes in the eastern Deir Ezzor province today, during which dozens of oil tankers were destroyed, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The Britain-based Observatory said it had documented at least 50 strikes in different parts of the oil-rich province, large parts of which are controlled by ISIS.
It said dozens of oil tankers and other vehicles used for transporting crude-oil had been destroyed.
‘This is the first time Deir Ezzor has experienced strikes of this intensity,’ the monitor said.
Russia has also doubled the number of jets it has based in government-held territory in Syria to 69 over the past few days, Shoigu said.
Putin praised the Russian operation in Syria but said it was ‘still not sufficient’ to wipe out the jihadists in the country and that a ‘large volume of work’ lay ahead.
Russia is bombing in Syria at the request of its longstanding ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while a US-led coalition is conducting its own air campaign against ISIS.
Russian politicians have said the Paris attack underscores the need for the West and the Kremlin to bury their differences and join forces to take on militants in Syria.
President Putin has discussed cooperating on fighting ISIS during his meetings with President Barack Obama and other Western leaders at the sidelines of the Group of 20 rich and developing nations in Turkey this week.
French President Francois Hollande is set to travel to Washington and Moscow next week for talks on joint military action against ISIS, and Mr Putin has already ordered the military to cooperate with the French.
Russia’s now four-day bombing blitz against the terror group has been relentless.
Moscow flew more than 100 combat sorties on Thursday, following 126 the day before.
Colonel General Andrei Kartapolov said that Russian warplanes were focusing their strikes on the ISIS oil production and refining facilities as well as oil trucks.
Paris also launched air strikes against ISIS’s Syrian stronghold in Raqqa this week, following attacks that killed 130 people in the French capital.
But France was forced to dismiss Russian suggestions today that the air strikes were illegal, insisting they were ‘an appropriate and necessary riposte’ to attacks by ISIS.
France has called for Assad to step down after a political transition, and its Western allies have criticised Moscow for mostly focusing its raids in Syria against Western-backed rebel groups.
Source: Daily Mail