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Russian forces begin wide-scale operation targeting ISIS and al-Nusra positions in Idleb and Homs

Moscow,� Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu said that Russian forces participating in the war on terrorism began before noon on Tuesday a wide-scale operation in the countryside of Idleb and Homs provinces.

During a meeting for the higher command of the Russian armed forces in Sochi, which was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Shoygu said that the Russian forces, with the participation of aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov which is docked near the Syrian coast, began concentrated strikes on positions of ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria.

The Minister said that Su-33 fighters took off from the aircraft carried Admiral Kuznetsov and targeted positions of terrorists in the countryside of Idleb and Homs provinces, noting that this is the first time a Russian aircraft carrier participates in combat operations.

Shoygu added that an Admiral Grigorovich-class frigate is also participating by firing Kalibr cruise missiles on terrorists' positions in Syria, asserting that Russia will continue supporting the Syrian Armed Forces in fighting terrorism.

He elaborated by saying that the airstrikes were preceded by wide-scale reconnaissance to pinpoint the coordinates of terrorists, with Russian surveillance aircrafts and drones monitoring the progress of the operation which started on Tuesday, adding that President Putin will be briefed on the airstrikes' results in order to determine the steps that will be taken afterwards.

The Minister said that the Russian airstrikes primarily target the position of terrorists who produce toxic materials, as evidence shows that terrorists are in control of plants for producing various types of dangerous weapons, affirming that the main targets being struck are ammo depots, concentrations of terrorists, training camps, and plants for manufacturing weapons.

Shoygu said that Russia also sent to Syria forces for protection from radioactive, chemical, and biological weapons to determine the type of toxic materials used by terrorists.

Regarding the protection of military bases in Tartous and Hmeimim, the Minister said that the Russian naval groups are protecting these bases with Pantsir and Bastion systems, adding that Bastion systems are also targeting terrorists' positions in the countryside of Homs and Idleb.

He went on to say that Russia sent 7 S-300 missile systems to cover Syrian territorial waters up to Cyprus, which will work alongside the S-400 systems that have been in Syria for a long time.

On a relevant note, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that there's a possibility of expanding the operation in Homs and Idleb to cover other areas.

Source: Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA)