The Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) launched its second day of Air Strikes inside Syrian territory.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced on Twitter that, “Russian Aerospace Forces engaged another four #ISIS facilities in #Syria this night.” The VKS sent more than 50 aircrafts on about 30 sorties over Syria on Thursday, using drones and satellites to identify targets.
The Kremlin has thus far maintained that Russian involvement in Syria comes as a result of requests made by the Syrian government to help combat ISIS militants and other designated terrorist groups who currently hold Syrian.
US officials have angrily condemned the air strikes, stating that Russia is using the goal of fighting ISIS and other terrorist organizations as a pretext for support the regime of Syrian President, Bashar Al-Assad.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has defended his nation’s airstrikes saying they were targeting the same “terrorist” groups that the US-led coalition has been targeting for the past over a year.
Minister Lavrov in an address at the UN in New York said Russia would fight ISIS and other terrorist groups, including the al-Nusra Front. “We are not supporting anyone against their own people. We fight terrorism.”
In terms of the Free Syrian Army, Lavrov added: “We believe that the Free Syrian Army should be part of the political process like some other armed groups on the ground composed of Syrian patriotic opposition individuals.”
As Russia steps up its involvement in the conflict, Iraq has agreed to share intelligence with Russia, Iran and Syria in the fight against ISIS militants.
Cover Photo Credit: Berit Watkin/Flickr (CC by 2.0)