Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Russian Airstrikes in Syria: September 30 - October 5, 2015

By Genevieve Casagrande

Key Takeaway:  Russian airstrikes continue to primarily target Syrian opposition groups throughout northwestern Syria, including areas along the Turkish border in northern Latakia Province. Russian warplanes violated Turkish airspace and harassed Turkish F-16s in at least two separate incidents over Hatay Province of southern Turkey on October 3 and 4, prompting an emergency NATO meeting on October 5. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) also claimed airstrikes targeting ISIS-held positions northeast of Palmyra. The Russian MoD later clarified that the airstrikes did not hit positions within the city of Palmyra itself following contrary reports in Syrian state media. In addition, the Russian MoD claimed its first airstrikes in Damascus Province on October 5. However, local reporting has not yet substantiated these claims and, thus, ISW does not assess them at even a level of Low Confidence at this time.

The following graphic depicts ISW’s assessment of Russian airstrike locations based on reports from local Syrian activist networks, Syrian state-run media, and statements by Russian and Western officials.

High-Confidence reporting. ISW places high confidence in reports corroborated both by official government statements reported through credible channels and documentation from rebel factions or activist networks on the ground in Syria deemed to be credible.

Low-Confidence reporting. ISW places low confidence in secondary sources that have not been confirmed or sources deemed likely to contain disinformation.