Russia began airstrikes in Syria allegedly against “terrorists” today, but an unnamed U.S. official told Reuters that the planes do not appear to be targeting areas held by the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).
Russia’s Defense Ministry has insisted the forces will target places occupied by ISIS. However, the attacks allegedly hit areas held by groups opposing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Homs and Hama provinces. Local opposition groups say that the planes hit Zafaraneh, Rastan, and Talbiseh, which do not house ISIS.
The opposition reports 36 people have died, including children.
Early Wednesday morning, Russia’s parliament granted Russian President Vladimir Putin “permission to use force abroad.” Russia then demanded all U.S. planes leave Syria while giving the U.S. embassy in Baghdad a one hour notice before they began the airstrikes.
“They gave us a heads-up they were going to start striking in Syria,” stated a defense official. “It was in the vicinity of Homs.”
Photos and videos are surfacing on social media that allegedly prove the Russian presence in areas of Syria not known to be controlled by the Islamic State…