Russian Military Releases Video of Airstrikes in Syria

A frame grab taken from footage released by Russia's Defence Ministry shows precise airstrikes carried out by the country's air force on Wednesday against Islamic State positions in Syria. Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation/Reuters

Russia's Defense Ministry released a video on Thursday showing airstrikes it carried out in Syria earlier this week in support of President Bashar al-Assad against what Russia said were Islamic State (ISIS) targets.

Russia's Defense Ministry said its aircraft targeted eight sites, including an ISIS bomb-making facility, an ammunition depot and command posts on Wednesday, according to a post published on its Facebook page on Thursday. The ministry said Russian attacks will take place "strictly outside of human settlements and only on the basis of confirmed intelligence data from different sources."

According to the Syrian National Coalition, the main opposition group in Syria, the three areas in Homs, western Syria, where Russian strikes hit were not held by ISIS or Jabhat al-Nusra, an Al-Qaeda aligned group operating in Syria. All 36 people killed by Russian airstrikes were civilians, said Khaled Khoja, president of the coalition, during a press conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Wednesday.

The SNC defines Russian military involvement in Syria as an "occupation." Khoja added that ISIS cannot be defeated in Syria without first removing Assad from power and stopping the use of barrel bombs, crude weapons that have killed or maimed thousands of civilians.

"Russian occupation will be met with a liberation movement from the Syrian people," Khoja said during Wednesday's press conference. "We have that right."

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Russian military involvement in Syria would begin "as soon as possible, perhaps even as soon as tomorrow." U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Wednesday that it appeared Russian airstrikes did not hit ISIS-held areas. He added that Russian support for Assad and a failure to target ISIS is "tantamount to pouring gasoline on a fire."