Russian fighter jets on ‘Admiral Kuznetsov’ aircraft carrier and the country’s navy fleet will soon launch strikes on terrorists in Aleppo in Northern Syria, a Russian military and diplomatic source disclosed on Saturday.
“Russian warplanes, on board the Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, will soon hit the positions and gatherings of the terrorist groups in Aleppo,” the source said.
“Mig 29 and Sukhoi 33 fighter jets have taken off Admiral Kuznetsov’ aircraft carrier in recent days and have carried out reconnaissance operations over Syria,” the source added.
“Mig 29 and Sukhoi 33 fighter jets’ reconnaissance flights were aimed at identifying the new positions of the terrorists and preparing a list of terrorist targets to hand over to the navy fleet (a cruiser and destroyer),”the sources went on to say.
“The Russian fleet, including Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, ‘Pyotr Veliky’ nuclear power guided missile cruiser and Admiral Gregorowich destroyer are ready for military operation,” the source underlined.
Sources in the Russian Defense Ministry disclosed on Tuesday that the country’s aircraft carrier group was ready to launch a strike targeting terrorists in the province of Aleppo.
The source told Russia’s Gazeta that the attack, which would likely engage Kalibr cruise missiles, would target militants outside Aleppo, and not the residential areas.
The group, which includes Russia’s ‘Admiral Kuznetsov’ aircraft carrier, ‘Pyotr Veliky’ nuclear power guided missile cruiser and two destroyers, completed its transfer to the Mediterranean Sea and is getting ready to strike, the Defense Ministry source said.
“The group’s main goal is to carry out missile strikes on terrorists outside of Aleppo that are attempting to get into the city”, the source added.
He also said that Kalibr cruise missiles would be used in the strikes, but did not specify from which ships the missiles would be launched.
No Russian surface ship that was currently in the Med was capable of firing the Kalibr-NK missiles, but submarine-launched Kalibr-PL could be used in the strike. The surface-launched type of Kalibr missile could also be launched from the Caspian Sea.
Final details of the strike were being worked out, the source told Gazeta.ru, including zeroing in on the terrorists’ locations, finding out the details of their transport routes, base camps and storage and training facilities.
“The strikes will avoid the city of Aleppo to prevent civilian casualties, because terrorists continue to use city residents as human shields.”
Early in November, a Russian naval group, headed by Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier and the battle cruiser Peter the Great, arrived in the Mediterranean Sea, causing quite a stir in the West.
Moscow has been surprised by the countries that denied Russia’s warships entry to their ports, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu was quoted as saying by RT, adding that ‘Western colleagues’ need to decide who they are actually fight against – terrorists or Russia.
“The movement of our ships has caused a stir among our Western partners,” Shoigu said on Tuesday.
“But the most surprising thing was the position of certain countries that, under pressure from the US and NATO, have publicly refused our warships entry to their ports.”
“It is time for our Western colleagues to decide who they are actually fighting – terrorists or Russia. As one poet once said, ‘one cannot sit on one and the same place on different trains,'” Shoigu added.
UK media reported at the time, citing an analysis by a Western intelligence service, that Russia was expected to start a full-scale military operation in Syria’s Aleppo this week to support the government forces,
The Times newspaper, citing the findings of the analysis, said the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, accompanied by seven warships and sailing in the Mediterranean, was expected to reach the Syrian coast to support the operation.
The media outlet also noted that three Russian submarines armed with cruise missiles were allegedly sailing to the Syrian coast.
A Western intelligence source told the newspaper that Moscow was “on the brink of a major military assault on Aleppo”.
The publication assumes that Moscow sought to exploit a pause in the United States on the eve of the presidential election in order to help Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Forces’ secure a decisive victory in the Syrian largest city.
Over the recent months, Aleppo has been a battlefield between government forces and numerous terrorist groups.