Russia’s Strikes Spur Syrian Advances

Russia has conducted 140 strikes in Syria, targeting areas that do not include large amounts of ISIS fighters and appear to almost exclusively support Syrian regime fighters, according to the US-led coalition. Russian airstrikes, which reportedly have included cluster bombs in populated areas, have displaced about 7,000 households and 35,000 people, coalition spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters Oct. 21. In the meantime, the Syrian forces, bolstered by airpower, have made advances in areas such as Homs, Hama, and Latakia. While Russia says they are striking ISIS, the US maintains Russian activity is “counter?productive” and seeks to keep Syrian President Bashar al Assad in power. In the meantime, the total number of US strikes since the beginning of the operation last year has reached 4,933 in Iraq and 2,760 in Syria. This includes strikes that, within the past 45 days, have hit 47 facilities that ISIS used to make vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices and other explosives, along with 30 oil infrastructure buildings, said Warren. “The intent here … is to really pressure the funding and functioning of the ISIL war machine,” he added.