8 Oct 2015

Russia claims cruise missiles hit IS targets

2:39 pm on 8 October 2015

Russia says cruise missiles fired from its warships in the Caspian Sea have hit Islamic State targets in Syria.

An image grab from a video released by the Russian Defence Ministry shows a Russian warship launching a cruise missile in the Caspian Sea during a strike against Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

An image from an official video shows a warship launching a cruise missile against IS in Syria. Photo: AFP PHOTO / RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said four warships fired 26 sea-based cruise missiles at 11 targets about 1500km away, destroying them. He said the strikes caused no civilian casualties.

He said the targets included IS and al Nusra command and control centres and ammunition dumps.

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, said the action was conducted with "great precision" and hit all designated targets.

Meanwhile, Syrian ground troops have launched an offensive under Russian air cover, Syrian officials said.

Russia denies claims that its week long campaign of air strikes have mainly hit non-IS targets.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the most intense fighting in months in Hama and Idlib provinces. The clashes followed a wave of Russian air strikes in those areas, it said.

They were launched from the Caspian Sea, about 1500 kilometres away.

For its part, the United States has dismissed suggestions that the coalition forces fighting Islamic State militants in Syria might cooperate with Russia.

Instead, the Obama administration made its strongest denunciation yet of Russia's military action in Syria.

Defence secretary Ashton Carter described the intensification of its campaign as a fundamental mistake that was part of a wrong strategy.

The United States was not cooperating with Moscow over the air strikes, he said, beyond discussing technical safety precautions aimed at reducing the chances of a calamitous engagement between Russian and American warplanes.


Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs