Meeting on Russia’s Armed Forces actions in Syria 2015-11-17 18:00:00 Moscow Vladimir Putin visited the National Defence Control Centre where he held a meeting to discuss the actions of Russia’s Aerospace Forces in the Syrian Arab Republic. The Commander-in-Chief heard reports from Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov and commanders of the different branches of the armed forces on the operation. The President issued instructions to establish contact with the French naval group to carry out joint actions against terrorists. * * * President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Shoigu, please. Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu: Comrade Commander-in-Chief, In accordance with the task you have set of enhancing combat action by our aviation against terrorist groups, as part of today’s airborne mission, we delivered the first massive air raid on ISIS facilities on the Syrian territory. The number of missions has been doubled, which makes it possible to deliver powerful and precise strikes against ISIS targets across Syria’s entire territory. To support airstrikes against militant groups delivered by the operational and tactical aviation performing missions from the Khmeimim airfield, long-range Tu-160, Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3 strategic bombers have been brought into the operation from the Russian territory. Today between 5 and 5.30 am Moscow time, twelve Tu-22 long-range strategic bombers delivered air strikes on ISIS positions in Raqqah and Deir ez-Zor. From 9 to 9.40 am, 34 air-launched cruise missiles were fired from Tu-160 and Tu-95MC strategic missile carriers to hit terrorist targets in Aleppo and Idlib. All strikes are delivered at previously developed targets. Overall, for the first day of the air operation we have planned 127 combat missions to hit 266 terrorist positions. By now we have carried out 82 flights, destroying 140 terrorist positions. The operation continues. Further massive air raids will be made in accordance with the air operation plan submitted to you. We have enough manpower and materiel. Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov has more details about the actions of Russian aviation. Vladimir Putin: Mr Gerasimov, please. Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov: Comrade Commander-in-Chief, pursuant to your instructions, since September 30, our Armed Forces’ combat aviation has been carrying out air strikes targeting international terrorist organisations in Syria. Over these 48 days, the Russian aviation group has made 2,289 sorties and delivered 4,111 missile strikes on the terrorists’ main infrastructure facilities, munitions depots and manpower locations. In the course of combat action, 562 command centres have been destroyed, along with 64 terrorist training camps, 54 arms and ammunition production plants and other facilities. The actions by Russian aviation have made it possible for the Syrian Armed Forces to take the offensive along the entire frontline in the provinces of Aleppo, Lattakia, Idlib, Homs and Damascus, liberating large territories from the terrorists. In the north, in the province of Aleppo, the Syrian army has liberated 40 residential areas, with the government forces deblocking the Kweiris airbase and currently expanding the security zone around the airport. The offensive at Idlib is developing successfully: Syrian troops are currently conducting active offensive operations 20–30 km from the city. In the coastal province of Lattakia, militants have been chased out of 12 residential areas. Government forces and militia assault teams are involved in fierce fighting for the city of Salma. On the divide between Gbana and Gmam, they have managed to secure a number of tactical heights and residential areas. Despite the militants’ heavy resistance, the Syrian troops continue their advance. In the centre of the country, an offensive by government troops and militia units resulted in the capture of the village of Haddad and the blockade of the militants in the town of Mhin. The Syrian army continues its offensive towards Palmira. Since the beginning of active operations, the assault teams have advanced up to 4 km, blocking terrorists in the village of Maksam, and are currently fighting for the high points on the city’s fringes. Near Damascus, fierce city fighting continues to liberate the districts of Jaubar and Eastern Guta from the militants. For the first time in the four years of combat action, the Syrian army has liberated 80 residential areas, taking control over a territory of more than 500 square kilometres. Acting on your orders to raise the number of strikes on ISIS targets and other extremist organisations, the General Headquarters developed the plan of an air operation. Along with increasing the intensity of sorties from the Khmeimim airbase in Syria, the plan envisages using an additional 25 long-range aircraft, 8 SU-34 strike fighters and 4 SU-27SM fighters from the territory of the Russian Federation. To increase the pace of hits at enemy facilities and improve strike precision, we continue reconnaissance of the Middle East territory. We are using 10 imagery and radio electronic reconnaissance satellites, including those of non-military nature. We have retargeted and adjusted the orbits of a number of satellites, which makes it possible to cover Syrian territory at the required pace. We are planning to further strengthen the orbital grouping by using reserve space vehicles and launching new ones. Today, in the course of the first massive airstrike, 34 air-launched long-range cruise missiles hit 14 important terrorist positions, including illegal armed groups’ command centres that coordinate the actions of ISIS militants in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo; major munitions and other materials depots in the north-west of Syria set up in protected hide-outs, militant training camps where newcomers to the terrorist organisations were trained, including suicide bombers; three major plants producing explosives, suicide bombers’ belts and unguided missiles. Today, the aviation group deployed at Kheimim airfield performed 65 missions of the 98 planned. The airstrikes resulted in destruction of 6 command posts, 8 munitions depots, 12 terrorist training camps, 4 plants producing landmines and missiles, and 6 fuel storage facilities. SU-34 aircraft hit 2 fuel convoys, destroying about 50 vehicles. Considering the earlier strikes on vehicles transporting petroleum products (a total of 410) and individual infrastructure sites, the militants’ capabilities to illegally export energy resources have been significantly reduced. The air operation is being controlled from the Russian National Defence Control Centre through long-range aviation control points and aviation groups in Syria. We notified air force commanders of the United States and other coalition countries of the strikes at a reasonable time. We continue hitting terrorist positions in line with the approved plan. All the tasks you have set us, Comrade Commander-in-Chief, will be achieved. This is the end of my report. Vladimir Putin: Thank you. Strategic Aviation Commander Anatoly Zhikharev, please. Commander of Strategic Aviation Anatoly Zhikharev: Comrade Commander-in-Chief, This is strategic aviation commander, Lt. Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev reporting. As of today, our strategic bombers set on a mission to hit ISIS positions in Syria. To perform this mission, we are using all types of strike aircraft at our disposal: TU-160 and TU-95MS strategic missile carriers and TU-22M3 strategic bombers. Their crews were instructed to hit positions, and they are acting in full compliance with the plan of the first massive air strike. After the mission, the TU-160 and TU-95MS strategic missile carriers landed at their home fields for maintenance, preparation for new flights and recorder analysis. A reinforced TU-22M3 strategic bombers squadron conducts two group air strikes a day from the airfield in Mozdok, targeting ISIS positions in eastern Syria – the provinces of Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa. During just one mission that lasted 5 hour 20 minute, the TU-22M3 bombers cover 4,510 km in distance. The TU-160 and TU-95MS bombers covered 6,566 km in the course of their missions that lasted 8 hours 20 minutes and 9 hours 30 minutes accordingly. The rocket missile attacks have destroyed 7 munitions depots and personnel locations, 5 major ammunition storage facilities and 5 terrorist infrastructure facilities. Comrade Commander-in-Chief, the moral and psychological condition, professional qualifications of aircrews and technical personnel, the condition of aviation equipment and air weapons and fuel stock make it possible to perform all the tasks set by the strategic aviation command as part of the air operation with precision and in a timely fashion. This is the end of my report. Vladimir Putin: Thank you. Captain First Rank Oleg Krivorog, missile cruiser Moskva in the Mediterranean. Captain First Rank Oleg Krivorog: Comrade Commander-in-Chief, This is senior officer, Captain First Rank Oleg Krivorog reporting. As part of the naval task force in the eastern Mediterranean, the Moskva missile cruiser is ensuring combat stability of ships and vessels delivering cargos to the Syrian Arab Republic, covering from the sea the deployment location of the Russian air strike group and point of unloading for sea cargos. On the current mission, the ship has covered 10,300 nautical miles. We have convoyed and covered 27 vessels carrying cargo to the Syrian Arab Republic. We have located and identified the nature of actions of 53 vessels and 2,375 flights by foreign Armed Forces conducting combat operations in the eastern Mediterranean. Currently, the Moskva missile cruiser is controlling air, sea and undersea situation in the assigned area to create favorable conditions for actions by Russian armed forces in the Syrian Arab Republic. The cruiser’s armaments and equipment are in full readiness, the personnel are in good health, and morale is high. This is the end of my report. Vladimir Putin: Mr Krivorog, a French naval group will soon approach your area, headed by an aircraft carrier. You need to establish direct contact with them and work together as allies. The General Chief of Staff and the Defence Minister have already received appropriate instructions. You will have to develop a joint plan of action with them both in the air and at sea. Thank you. Let us hear from Mozdok airport. Mr Konovalov, please. Major General Anatoly Konovalov: Comrade Commander-in-Chief, In line with your decision, today a group of TU-22M3 strategic bombers delivered a group night strike from the Mozdok airfield on six ISIS targets in Syria. After landing, they prepared for a new mission. At 2 pm, the crews took off to carry out another air strike. In the period of time from 4.30 pm until 5 pm, they hit 6 targets. Currently, the crews are on their way to their base. The crews and equipment are functioning properly. We communicate with the crews throughout the entire mission. Control is stable. Comrade Commander-in-Chief, the task group personnel are ready to perform your tasks to ensure the security of the Russian Federation and protect its citizens. This is the end of my report. Vladimir Putin: Comrades, I would like to follow up on what we have just heard from Mr Konovalov. As you perform combat missions to fight terrorists in Syria, you are defending Russia and its citizens. I would like to thank you for your service and wish you luck.