The Washington Post reports: Russian military officials declared partial victory Saturday in their four-day-old bombing campaign in Syria and said they would intensify airstrikes against rebel groups despite U.S. criticism.
Officials in Washington said Russia was stepping up its military support to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, sending at least two multiple-rocket launcher systems through the Russian naval base at Tartus on Syria’s coast. Such systems can blanket a large area with munitions.
Russian aircraft based in Syria had carried out 20 sorties in 24 hours and destroyed nine targets, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement Saturday morning. They included strikes near the city of Raqqa, which is controlled by the Islamic State, and in the provinces of Idlib and Hama, which are not.
Activists and human rights groups said the strikes continued for a fourth consecutive day, with the attacks extending into northern Latakia province, near the expanded air base from which the Russian air force is operating. [Continue reading…]