SOHR: 280 Russian airstrikes in four days in Syria
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) provided statistics on Russian activity in Syria. According to reports, Russia has carried out 280 airstrikes in 96 hours (four days). According to the SOHR, Russian units performed almost half of them (130) in the last 24 hours.
The SOHR also says that the Syrian army has also increased its activity. In 24 hours, the Syrian Arab Army fired 225 artillery shells and missiles. There is still no exact death toll from the Russian and Syrian attacks, but experts believe the casualties could reach about 300.
Russian aerospace forces have struck the eastern Hama Desert, the vicinity of Al-Rahjan-Atariya, the Aleppo-Al-Raqqa-Hama Triangle, and the Palmyra Desert in east Homs. Not only Islamic State positions but also units supporting the Turkish occupation of Syria have been targeted. The death toll from Islamic State is 43, according to the SOHR.
The Syrian Arab Army has fought mainly in Jabal Ez-Zawiya in Idlib province, concentrated in the villages of Al-Fatira, Safokhin, Kansafra, Al-Ruwaiha, Benin, Flifel, and the outskirts of al-Baraha.
Experts say Russian aerospace forces will increase their attacks in the coming days.
Russia also uses ballistic missiles in Syria
In addition to airstrikes by Russian aerospace forces, Russia has increased its use of artillery and ballistic missiles in recent days. On March 5, the Russian military attacked oil convoys and depots destined for Turkey. Two types of ballistic missiles were used – Iskander and Tochka-U OTRK. The attacks took place nearly 1.5km from the Turkish border.
It is alleged (SOHR source – ed.) That the Russians fired the Iskander ballistic missile from their Khmeimim airbase, locates 250 km from the attacked positions. Iskander is a quasi-ballistic missile with medium range.
War in Syria
In February 2020, Turkey lost at least 62 troops killed in Syria. Nearly 100 soldiers were wounded, Syrian-backed forces destroyed dozens of Turkish armored vehicles, and more than ten drones, including drones, were shot down. Washington has repeatedly accused Moscow of involvement in the deaths of Turkish soldiers, Russia rejects these allegations.
In early March, the presidents of Russia and Turkey, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, agreed that a ceasefire came into force in the Idlib de-escalation zone. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad later said that if the US and Turkish military did not leave the country, Damascus would use power.
The reason for the Russian-Turkish negotiations was a sharp aggravation of the situation in Idlib, where in January, a large-scale offensive by the Syrian army against the positions of the armed opposition and terrorists began.
Government forces recaptured nearly half of the Idlib de-escalation zone and left behind several Turkish observation posts. After that, Ankara sharply increased its military contingent in the region and launched the operation “Spring Shield” to push the Syrian troops. Militants are loyal to Ankara and support Turkey.