Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War
The Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War began in September 2015, after an official request by the Syrian government for military aid against rebel groups. The intervention initially consisted of air strikes fired by Russian aircraft stationed in the Khmeimim base at targets primarily in north-western Syria, against Syrian opposition militant groups opposed to the Syrian government, including the Syrian National Coalition, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda in Syria) and the Army of Conquest. In addition, Russian special operations forces and military advisors were stationed in Syria. Prior to the intervention, Russian involvement in the Syrian Civil War had mainly consisted of supplying the Syrian Army with arms and equipment. At the end of December 2017, the Russian government said its troops would be based in Syria permanently.
Shortly after the operation began, Russian officials were cited as saying that, apart from fighting terrorist organisations such as the Islamic State, Russia′s goals included helping the Syrian government retake territory from various anti-government groups that are labelled by the United States and the American-led intervention in Syria as ″moderate opposition″, a broader geopolitical objective being to roll back U.S. influence. In a televised interview broadcast on 11 October 2015, Russian president Vladimir Putin said the military operation had been thoroughly prepared in advance; he defined Russia′s goal in Syria as "stabilising the legitimate power in Syria and creating the conditions for political compromise".
By the end of 2017, the intervention produced significant gains for the Syrian government, including the recapture of Palmyra from the ISIL in March 2016, retaking the major city of Aleppo in December 2016, breaking the three-year-long siege of Deir ez-Zor and securing control over that city in November 2017. In early January 2017, the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov said that, overall, the Russian Air Force had carried out 19,160 combat missions and delivered 71,000 strikes on "the infrastructure of terrorists". At the end of December 2017, the Russian defence minister said that over 48,000 service-members had ″gained combat experience″ during the Russian operation in Syria.
The UK-based pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) stated that between the initiation of the intervention in September 2015 and end of February 2016, Russian air strikes killed at least 1,700 civilians, including more than 200 children. The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) and the Violations Documentation Centre (VDC) put the number higher, at over 2,000; SNHR's report stated that Russian attacks have killed more civilians than either the Islamic State or the Syrian Army. Used weapons included unguided bombs, cluster bombs, incendiaries similar to white phosphorus and thermobaric weapons. By the end of September 2017, the SOHR stated that Russian airstrikes killed around 5,703 civilians, about a quarter of them children, along with 4,258 ISIL fighters and 3,893 militants from the Al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front and other rebel forces.
The intervention polarized international observers. Countries with close diplomatic and economic ties to Russia, including China, Egypt, Iraq and Belarus, have generally supported the intervention; reactions of governments close to the US were usually contrary, with many governments denouncing Russia for its role in the war and accusing the state of complicity in the Syrian regime's alleged war crimes. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have alleged Russia is committing war crimes and deliberately targeting civilians, the United States government has condemned the intervention and imposed economic sanctions against Russia for supporting the Syrian government, and officials at the United Nations have condemned the Russian intervention and accused Russia of war crimes. Russian authorities have dismissed the accusations as false and politically motivated, and accused critics of "barbarism," which elicited heavier condemnation from governments who support the rebel groups.
- 1 Background and preparation phase
- 2 Operations by Russian military forces
- 3 Assessments of effectiveness
- 4 Weapons and munitions employed
- 5 Reports of civilian casualties and war crimes
- 6 Cooperation with Iran
- 7 Reactions
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Background and preparation phase
The Syrian Civil War has been waged since 2011 between multiple opposition (anti-government) groupings and the government as well, as their local and foreign support bases. Since 2014, a significant part of Syria′s territory had been claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an entity internationally recognised as terrorist. In the north-west of the country, the main opposition faction is the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front, allied with numerous other smaller Islamist groups, some of which operated under the umbrella of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) that was supported and armed by the United States and its regional allies. Since September 2014, the U.S.-led coalition had conducted airstrikes in Syria against ISIL, which was widely seen as unsuccessful in achieving their goals.
According to Russian and Syrian officials, in July 2015, the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made a formal request to Russia for air strikes combating international terrorism, while laying out Syria's military problems. According to media reports with reference to anonymous sources, after a series of major setbacks suffered by the Syrian government forces in the first half of 2015, a political agreement was reached between Russia and Syria to intensify the Russian involvement; Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Iran′s Quds Force visited Moscow in July to work out the details of the joint campaign (Soleimani′s visit was denied by Russian officials).
On 26 August 2015, a treaty was signed between Russia and Syria that stipulated terms and conditions of use by Russia of Syria's Hmeimim airport, free of charge and with no time limit. The treaty, ratified by Russia′s parliament in October 2016, grants Russia′s personnel and their family members jurisdictional immunity and other privileges as envisaged by Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
In September 2015, Russia′s warships of the Black Sea Fleet reached the area of eastern Mediterranean.
At the end of September, a joint information centre in Baghdad was set up by Iran, Iraq, Russia and Syria to coordinate their operations against ISIL (in the newsmedia the centre is also referred to as "Joint Operations Room in Baghdad known as the 4 + 1" implying the Lebanese Shia militia Hezbollah, in addition to the 4 states). According to Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov′s statement made in mid-October 2015, prior to the start of its operations in Syria, Russia invited the United States to join the Baghdad-based information center but received what he called an "unconstructive" response. According to Alexander Yakovenko, Ambassador of Russia to the United Kingdom, the Russian government received a similar rebuttal from the UK government. In late December 2015, Turkey′s president Recep Erdogan claimed that he had declined Russian president′s offer to join this alliance as he "could not sit alongside a president [Assad] whose legitimacy" was dubious to him".
On 30 September 2015, the upper house of the Russian Federal Assembly, the Federation Council, granted the request by Russian President Vladimir Putin to deploy the Russian Air Force in Syria. On the same day, the Russian representative to the joint information centre arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and requested that any United States forces in the targeted area in Syria leave immediately. An hour later, the Russian aircraft based in the government-held territory began conducting airstrikes ostensibly against ISIL and other rebel targets.
Prior to the start of the Russian operation in Syria as well as afterwards, Russian analysts believed that Russia′s military build-up in Syria was aimed inter alia at ending the de facto political and diplomatic isolation that the West had imposed on Putin in connection with the situation in Ukraine.
Operations by Russian military forces
The first series of air strikes took place on 30 September 2015 in areas around the cities of Homs and Hama, targeting the mainstream opposition. Russian warplanes attacked rebel positions "in al-Rastan, Talbiseh and Zafaraniya in Homs province; Al-Tilol al-Hmer in Quneitra province; Aydoun, a village on the outskirts of the town of Salamiyah; Deer Foul, between Hama and Homs; and the outskirts of Salamiyah". In total, 20 flights were made. Most of the initial airstrikes targeted positions of the Chechen fighters, Islamic Front's Jaysh al-Islam (Army of Islam), and Free Syrian Army.
According to Hezbollah media outlet Al Mayadeen, the Saudi/Turkish-backed Army of Conquest around Jisr ash-Shugour was bombed on 1 October by Russian planes; at least 30 air strikes were carried out. Another series of Russian airstrikes carried out that same day hit ISIL positions in Raqqa governorate.
In the morning of 2 October, the Russian Air fForce launched four airstrikes on ISIL in the ancient Syriac city of Al-Qaryatayn, and the T4-Palmyra highway, Homs province. An ISIL command and control center was destroyed in a single airstrike in Al-Qaryatayn, while an ISIL convoy on their way to the Teefor-Palmyra highway was attacked. Following the airstrikes, the Syrian Army and National Defence Forces pushed ISIL out of the town of Mheen towards Al-Qaryatayn after a two-hour engagement that killed 18 militants and destroyed two technicals mounted with ZU-23-2s. Syrian forces then launched a counter-attack south-west of Al-Qaryatayn to recover the main road.
In the same day, the Russian Air Force began bombing Al-Nusra Front positions in al-Rastan and Talbiseh in the Homs province. Later, they proceeded with bombing Al-Nusra in Kafr Zita, Al-Ghaab Plains, Kafr Nabl, Kafr Sijnah, and Al-Rakaya in the Hama province. The Syrian Air Force and the Russian Air Force jointly bombed Al-Nusra in Jisr al-Shughur. At night, the Russian Air Force targeted ISIL with 11 airstrikes over Raqqa while targeting electrical grids outside it, two airstrikes over Shadadi-Hasakah highway, and three airstrikes in Mayadin, Deir ez-Zor province. The primary ISIL military base in Tabaqa Military Airport was also attacked, with the barracks being destroyed in two airstrikes. Near the Military Airport, an ISIL weapons supply depot in Al-'Ajrawi Farms was also bombed. At the same time, the ISIL primary headquarters in Tabaqa National Hospital was heavily damaged in a Russian airstrike, according to pro-government sources. In Al-Hasakah province, the Russian Air Force targeted ISIL in Al-Shadadi and Al-Houl, while the Syrian Air Force attacked an ISIL convoy along the Deir ez-Zor-Hasakah highway.
On 3 October, reports indicated that Hezbollah and Iranian fighters were preparing major ground offensives to be coordinated with Russian airstrikes. According to CNN, the Russian defense ministry said its soldiers bombed nine ISIL positions near the group's de facto capital in Raqqa. At least 11 were killed in an alleged double strike by Russia in Syria's Idlib province, according to opposition groups. During the day, the Russian Air Force made four airstrikes over Al-Nusra controlled Jisr al-Shughur, and additional ones in Jabal Al-Zawiya, and Jabal al-Akrad. One of the targets was an Al-Nusra reinforcement convoy heading from Jisr al-Shughur to the northeast countryside of Latakia province.
On the morning of 7 October 2015, according to the Russian officials, four warships from the Russian Navy's Caspian Flotilla launched 26 3M-14T from Kalibr-NK system cruise missiles that hit 11 targets within Syrian territory. The missiles passed through Iranian and Iraqi airspace in order to reach their targets at a distance of well over about 1,500 kilometers (930 miles). The same day, Syrian ground forces were reported to carry out an offensive under Russian air cover. According to CNN citing unnamed United States military and intelligence officials, 4 of 26 cruise missiles on 8 October crashed in Iran, well before reaching their targets in Syria. Russia claimed all of its missiles hit their targets. Iran also denied any missile crash on its territory. Iranian defence ministry rejected any reports alleging that four of the 26 cruise missiles crashed in Iran saying the CNN reports are part of the West's "psychological warfare".
On 8 October 2015, the number of air raids increased significantly up to over 60 sorties a day, a tempo maintained for the next 2 days.  The Russian defense ministry announced on 9 October that up to sixty ISIL targets were hit in the past 24 hours, supposedly killing 300 militants in the most intense strikes so far. One of the raids targeted a Liwa al-Haqq base in the Raqqa Governorate using KAB-500KR precision-guided bombs, in which allegedly two senior ISIL commanders and up to 200 militants were killed, despite the lack of any connection between Liwa al-Haqq and ISIL. Another assault destroyed a former prison near Aleppo that was used by ISIL as a base and munitions depot, also killing scores of militants. Rebel training sites in the Latakia and Idlib provinces were allegedly hit as well. Meanwhile, ISIL militants made advances in the Aleppo area on 9 October, seizing several villages, including Tal Qrah, Tal Sousin, and Kfar Qares, in what the Associated Press called a "lightning attack". The attacks were unencumbered by either Russian or United States-led coalition airstrikes. The ISIL advance came at the expense of rebel groups also targeted by Russian and Syrian forces. In mid-October 2015, a joint Russian-Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah offensive targeting rebels in Aleppo went ahead. According to citizen journalist group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, who started out opposing the Syrian Government, Russia lied about targeting ISIL in the early airstrikes and missiles around Raqqa. Between 17 September and 13 October they counted 36 Russian strikes against only 2 ISIL targets (with 4 ISIL deaths) and 22 civilian targets (with 70 civilian deaths plus injuries) included hospitals, a fire hall, at least one school and a highway fueling station.
On 17 November 2015, in the wake of the Russian jet crash over Sinai and the Paris attacks, according to the Russian defence minister′s public report to the president of Russia Vladimir Putin, Russia employed the Russia-based Tu-160, Tu-95MSM, and Tu-22M3 long range strategic bombers firing air-launched cruise missiles to hit what he claimed were the IS targets in Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor as well as targets in the provinces of Aleppo and Idlib. The Russian minister of defence said that, pursuant to Putin′s orders, the Russian aviation grouping that at the time comprised more than 50 aircraft was intensifying their campaign. Besides, Putin said he had issued orders for the cruiser Moskva that had been in eastern Mediterranean since the start of the Russian operations to "work as with an ally", with the French naval group led by flagship Charles de Gaulle that had been on its way to the eastern Mediterranean since early November. The following day, according to the Russian Defence ministry, strikes by long-range bombers firing cruise missiles in the same areas in Syria continued. The mass cruise missile strikes carried out against ISIS in Deir Ezzor province on 20 November resulted in the death of more than 600 militants according to the ministry.
A Russian Sukhoi Su-24 strike aircraft was shot down by a Turkish Air Force F-16 on 24 November 2015. The pilot was shot and killed by Syrian rebels while descending by parachute, and the weapon systems officer was later rescued by Russian forces. A Russian marine was injured during the rescue operation and later died en route to a medical center. In the video the rebels shout "Allah Akbar" over the dead body of a Russian pilot. According to Turkey's claims presented to the UN Security Council, two planes, whose nationalities were unknown to them at the time, violated Turkish airspace over the Yayladağı province up to 2.19 km (1.36 mi) for 17 seconds. According to Turkey, the planes disregarded the multiple warnings and were subsequently fired upon by Turkish F-16s patrolling the area. After the Turkish fire, one of the planes left Turkish airspace and the other crashed into Syrian territory. The Russian Ministry of Defense denied that any of their planes had violated Turkey's airspace, claiming they had been flying south of the Yayladağı province and provided two maps showing two different alleged routes of the airplane (one of them with "impossible" turns and maneuvers).
The incident followed incremental tensions between Russia and Turkey over alleged repeated violations of Turkish airspace by Russian military jets (one of which Russia admitted) and the Turkish prime minister′s statement of 17 October that Turkey would not hesitate to shoot down airplanes violating its airspace.
Russia in response announced it would deploy additional air defense weapons in the area and accompany its bombers with fighter jets. On 26 November 2015, deployment of S-300 and S-400 anti-aircraft systems was reported by Russia′s official news media, to Latakia and on board the cruiser Moskva.
On 29 November 2015, Russian aircraft were reported to have struck targets in the Syrian Idlib province, including the town of Ariha that had been captured by the Army of Conquest 6 months prior, causing multiple casualties on the ground. Other targets hit included the Turkistan Islamic Party's office in Jisr al-Shughur and a relief office of Ahrar ash-Sham group in the town of Saraqib.
December 2015 – February 2016
On 1 December 2015, The Times, citing local sources and news media, claimed that Russia was preparing to expand its military operations in Syria by opening the al-Shayrat airbase near the city of Homs, already home to Russian attack helicopters and a team that had arrived about a month prior.
On 8 December, the Russian defence minister announced that a Kilo-class submarine, Rostov-on-Don, had launched 3M14K cruise missiles while submerged, against ISIL targets in Raqqa Governorate, the first such strike from the Mediterranean Sea. He also reported to the president that pursuant to Putin′s order, since 5 December the Russian military had intensified airstrikes in Syria: it was claimed that over the 3 days, Russian aircraft, including Tu-22M3 strategic bombers, had performed over 300 sorties engaging over 600 targets of different type.
On 11 December, in a televised meeting at the Defence ministry Vladimir Putin ordered the military in Syria to destroy any threatening targets: "I order you to act as tough as possible. Any target that poses a threat to Russian [military] grouping or ground infrastructure has to be destroyed immediately." He also appeared to suggest that the Russian military was now supporting the anti-government Free Syrian Army forces; however, the Kremlin spokesman later clarified that Russia was only supplying weapons to "the legitimate authorities of the Syrian Arab Republic".
On 16 December, Russia′s Defence minister Sergey Shoigu speaking to the members of the State Duma behind closed doors, mentioned a possible option of the Russian forces "reaching the Euphrates" in Syria. On 19 December, Russian president Putin commended the performance of the Russian armed forces in Syria; he said that "so far not all of our capabilities have been used" and that "more military means" might be employed there "if deemed necessary".
On 25 December 2015, Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Lt. Gen. Sergey Rudskoy said that since 30 September 2015 Russian air force had conducted 5,240 sorties in Syria, including 145 sorties by long-range aviation. On 27 December 2015, Chief Commander of the Russian Aerospace Force Col. Gen. Viktor Bondarev stated that Russian pilots had never once attacked civilian targets in Syria.
On 30 December 2015, heavy fighting was reported as the Syrian government forces backed by Russian air strikes advanced into the southern city of Al-Shaykh Maskin, which had been held by the rebel Southern Front since the First Battle of Al-Shaykh Maskin in December 2014. The Syrian government′s offensive operation that had started on 28 December 2015 and completed by the end of January 2016 was said to be the government's first major assault in southern Syria since Russia joined the fight.
In early January 2016, regional diplomats who had assumed Moscow had an understanding with Jordan and Israel not to extend into their sphere of influence were reported to be surprised by the growing Russian role in Syria′s south; so were rebels from Syria's Southern Front alliance whose forces were directly supplied by the Military Operations Command, an operations room staffed by Arab and Western military forces, including the US.
On 9 January 2016, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Russian air strikes in the northwestern town of Maarrat al-Nu'man had killed about 60 persons, including 23 members of the Nusra Front.
In January 2016, the cruiser Varyag was deployed off Syria′s shore replacing sister ship Moskva and was named flagship of the Russian naval task force positioned in the eastern Mediterranean.
Russia′s role was said to be essential in the government′s capture, on 24 January 2016, of the town of Rabia, the last major town held by rebels in western Latakia province. The capture of Rabia, part of the government′s Latakia offensive, was said to threaten rebel supply lines from Turkey.
At the end of January 2016, Russia, for the first time, deployed four Su-35S fighter jets, presumably equipped with the Khibiny electronic countermeasures (ECM) systems, to the Khmeimim base; on 1 February the Russian defence ministry said the aircraft had begun conducting missions in Syria.
A Russian military adviser died in a hospital in Syria on 1 February after suffering severe wounds when a Syrian army training center in Homs Province was shelled.
Speaking shortly after the formal start of the UN-mediated Geneva Syria peace talks on 1 February, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia would not stop its air strikes until Russia truly defeated "such terrorist organisations as Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIL″.
In early February 2016, intensive Russian strikes contributed to the success of the Syrian army and its allies′ offensive operation to the northwest of Aleppo that severed a major rebel supply line to Turkey.
March 2016–mid-October 2016
On 1 March 2016, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said that the truce, formally referred to as a "cessation of hostilities", that had been in effect from 27 February 2016 at 00:00 (Damascus time), was largely holding and becoming more stable. According to the state–run RIA Novosti′s report of 1 March 2016, all the planes at the Russian Khmeimim base had been grounded for four days.
On 1 March, the Russian defense ministry said it had deployed to the Khmeimim base additional radars and drones: three sets of surveillance equipment which included drones and two radar stations.
On 14 March 2016, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced that the mission which he had set for the Russian military in Syria was "on the whole accomplished" and ordered withdrawal of the "main part" of the Russian forces from Syria. The move was announced on the day when peace talks on Syria resumed in Geneva. The Russian leader, however, did not give a deadline for the completion of the withdrawal. He also said that both Russian military bases in Syria (naval base in Tartus and airbase in Khmeimim) will continue to operate in "routine mode", as the Russian servicemen there will be engaged in monitoring the ceasefire regime.
In mid-March 2016, intensive operations by the Russian forces resumed to support the Syrian government′s bid to recapture the city of Tadmur that includes the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Palmyra, which were fully recaptured from ISIS on 27 March. Following the recapture of the city, Russian de-mining teams engaged in the clearing of mines planted by ISIS in the ancient site of Palmyra.
In early May 2016, news media reported that Russian ground forces had set up what Jane's Information Group called a ″forward operating base″ (officially a base for the mining crews) just to the west of the city of Tadmur, and installed an air-defence system to protect the site.
In mid-May 2016, Stratfor reported that a Russian air base was attacked and four Russian attack helicopters, 20 supply trucks and one Syrian Mig-25 were destroyed. However, United States media cited intelligence community sources as believing the destruction was caused by an accidental fuel tank explosion, that the Stratfor analysis was wrong and that there were no indications of an ISIS attack on the airport.
On 8 July 2016, a Syrian Mi-25 (a Russian Mi-35, according to other unofficial military sources) was destroyed on the ground from a United States-made BGM-71 TOW east of Palmyra, with two Russian pilots confirmed dead. A few days after, Russia announced it had employed strategic Tu-22M3 bombers, for the first time since the partial ceasefire came into force, to deliver airstrikes on terrorist targets east of the towns of Palmyra and Al-Sukhnah, and the village of Arak.
On 1 August 2016, a Russian Mi-8AMTSh transport helicopter was shot down on its way back to the Khmeimim base from a humanitarian mission to Aleppo by ground fire over Jabhat Fateh al-Sham-controlled area in Idlib province. Three crew members and two officers from the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria were killed in the crush, then their corpses were desecrated by the rebels arrived on the scene.
Russia′s air force took active part in the Syrian government′s re-newed Aleppo offensive that began in late September 2016, one of the consequences being the U.S. government in early October suspending talks on Syria with Russia. The Russian tactics and weapons used in the offensive have been compared to those used in Grozny against Chechen separatists. The U.S. government publicly accused Russia of ″flagrant violations of international law″ in Syria and urged investigation of war crimes.
Mid-October 2016–December 2016
On 15 October 2016, the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov sailed from Kola Bay at the centre of a task group, which included the Kirov-class missile cruiser Pyotr Velikiy, a pair of Udaloy-class destroyers and other vessels, to deploy to the Mediterranean in support of Russian forces operating in Syria. Admiral Kuznetsov's jets were reported to be flying off the Syrian coast on 8 November. On 14 November, a MiG-29K crashed en route back to the carrier following a planned mission over Syria, while an Su-33 crashed, again while trying to recover to Admiral Kuznetsov following a sortie on 5 December.
On 17 November 2016, the Russian ministry of defence said that three "well-known" commanders of Al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate formerly known as Al-Nusra Front, among other "terrorists", had been killed in Russian strikes fired by Su-33 fighter jets based on Admiral Kuznetsov, in the province of Idlib. Other ships as well as K-300P Bastion-P were also reported to have taken part in a renewed bombing campaign, after a partial hiatus in the raids since 18 October.
In late November, satellite images emerged showing several of Admiral Kuznetsov's fixed wing aircraft operating from Hmeimim Air Base in Latakia, with suggestions made that the number of sorties flown from the carrier is less than has been suggested by the Russian Ministry of Defence. Problems with the ship's arrestor cables was cited as being part of the reason for the crash of the MiG-29K, which was circling the ship when it suffered an engine failure. At around the same time, an image was released by the Dutch frigate HNLMS De Ruyter showing the Nanuchka-class corvette Mirazh being towed back to the Black Sea.
January 2017–June 2017
On 6 January, the Russian Defense Ministry, with a reference to a Moscow/Ankara-brokered ceasefire effective as of 30 December 2016, announced the start of a drawdown of its forces from Syria, pursuant to a decision taken by President Putin; the first element scheduled to depart the region was announced to be the Admiral Kuznetsov battle group. However, five days afterwards, a Fox News report cited ″two U.S. officials″ as saying that additional attack aircraft had been deployed by Russia to its airbase in Syria, namely four Su-25 jets had arrived on 9 January.
On 20 March it was reported that Russia set up a training base in Afrin canton to train YPG units in order to combat terrorism, however there were conflicting reports about where this base was set up, with Reuters reporting it was in Jandairis and pro-government Al Masdar News locating it in the village of Kafr Jannah. At various times, Afrin was the target of artillery shelling by Islamist rebel groups as well as by Turkey. In response, Russian troops reportedly stationed themselves in Afrin as part of an agreement to protect the YPG from further Turkish attacks.
Russia scaled back its airstrikes in Syria in January and February, so that for the first time casualties due to US-led Coalition airstrikes in Syria and Iraq began to exceed casualties of Russian strikes in Syria. However, strikes increased in March 2017, with a reported 114 incidents with 165-292 alleged non-combatant deaths, primarily in Idlib province, Hama and the Damascus eastern suburbs.
In response to the downing of a Syrian government Su-22 plane by a U.S. fighter jet near the town of Tabqah in Raqqa province on 18 June 2017, Russia announced that U.S.-led coalition warplanes flying west of the Euphrates would be tracked by Russian anti-aircraft forces in the sky and on the ground and treated as targets; furthermore, the Russian military said they suspended the hotline with their U.S. counterparts based in Al Udeid. In the wake of the announcement, Australia suspended its military flights in Syria, while media reports speculated that the U.S. might be edging towards a full-on confrontation with Russia and Iran in Syria. Nevertheless, on 27 June 2017, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis reassured the press: ″We deconflict with the Russians; it's a very active deconfliction line. It's on several levels, from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the secretary of state with their counterparts in Moscow, General Gerasimov and Minister Lavrov. Then we've got a three-star deconfliction line that is out of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, out of the J5 there. Then we have battlefield deconfliction lines. One of them is three-star again, from our field commander in Baghdad, and one of them is from our CAOC, our Combined Air Operations Center, for real-time deconfliction.″
July 2017–December 2017
On 24 July, the Russian military announced that Russia had begun to deploy military police to Syria to monitor a cease-fire in two new safe (de-escalation) zones that had been envisaged in the plan on four safe zones, tentatively agreed upon by Russia, Iran, and Turkey in May, and mapped out in early July by Russia, the U.S, and Jordan: checkpoints and monitoring posts around safe zones in southwest Syria and in Eastern Ghouta were said to have been set up. Another such deployment was effected in early August — north of the city of Homs.
In August 2017, the Russian military announced that Al-Sukhnah town was captured from ISIS in early August with support of the Russian Aerospace Forces. Russian aviation said they had conducted 28,000 combat missions, and about 90,000 strikes as of late August 2017 during the operation in Syria.
On 5 September 2017, the Russian defence ministry said that the breaking of the three-year siege of Deir ez-Zor had been effected with active participation of Russian aviation and navy. President Putin congratulated both President Bashar Assad and the Russian commanders on "a very important strategic victory" (in his spokesman′s words). Humanitarian aid was delivered to pro-government inhabitants of the city by the Russian servicemen. The Russian aviation continued active support of the Syrian forces operating in Deir ez-Zor.
On 16 September, the U.S.-led coalition officials said Russian warplanes had bombed U.S.-backed militants in Deir ez-Zor, U.S. Special Operations Forces advising the SDF being "at most a couple of miles" away from the where the bomb struck; the claim was denied by the Russian defence ministry.
According to the Russian defence ministry, the Military Police platoon (29 servicemen) deployed as part of the de-escalation observation forces in the Idlib de-escalation zone was on 19 September encircled by rebels, including Jabhat al-Nusra, as a result of their offensive against the Syrian troops positioned north and northeast of Hama; the encirclement was breached by Russian forces, three servicemen of the Russian Special Operations Forces were wounded. The Russian ministry stated that according to their intelligence, the rebels′ ″offensive was initiated by the US special agencies in order to stop successful advance of the Syrian Arab Army to the east from Deir ez-Zor″. The Russian ministry′s statement on the U.S.′ role in the rebels′ offensive was the following day endorsed by president Vladimir Putin′s spokesman. On 21 September, the Russian MoD, in connection with what it called the U.S.-supported SDF having twice attacked positions of the Syrian Army in the Deir ez-Zor governorate with mortar and rocket fire, said: "Russia unequivocally told the commanders of U.S. forces in Al Udeid Air Base (Qatar) that it will not tolerate any shelling from the areas where the SDF are stationed. Fire from positions in regions [controlled by the SDF] will be suppressed by all means necessary." In early October, the Russian MoD continued to accuse the U.S. forces of disguised support of the ISIL′s attacks on Syrian government forces, especially from the area at Al-Tanf, and stated: "If the United States views such operations as unforeseen 'coincidences,' then the Russian air force in Syria is prepared to begin the complete destruction of all such 'coincidences' in the zones under their control." The MoD statement of 6 October referred to ″unlawful establishment by the U.S. of [Al-Tanf] military base″ and called it ″a 100-kilometer black hole" on the Syria-Jordan border.
On 11 December, days after declaring Syria had been "completely liberated" from ISIL, Russian president Vladimir Putin visited the Russian base in Syria, where he announced that he had ordered the partial withdrawal of the forces deployed to Syria. Several hours later, Sergei Shoigu said the troops had already begun to return.
On 26 December, defence minister Sergey Shoigu said that Russia had set about ″forming a permanent grouping" at the Tartus naval facility and the Hmeymim airbase, after president Putin approved the structure and the personnel strength of the Tartus and Hmeymim bases. On the same day, the upper chamber of parliament approved the ratification of an agreement between Russia and Syria on expanding the Tartus naval facility, which envisages turning it into a full-fledged naval base.
January 2018–August 2018
In January—February 2018, the Russian air force continued to provide combat support to the Syrian Army in its offensive operations in the Hama Governorate and the Idlib Governorate. The Russian forces stationed in Syria lost a Su-25SM in the Idlib province on 3 February 2018.
Following reports about multiple Russian private contractor casualties in the U.S. air and artillery strike on pro-government forces near the town of Khasham in the Deir ez-Zor Governorate that occurred on 7 February 2018, the contingent of regular Russian forces stationed in Syria appeared to have been reinforced, though numerous witnesses of the strike dismissed the reports as untrue and did not confirm Russian mercenary participation. Namely, in mid-February, several Russian newest fifth generation Sukhoi Su-57 fighter aircraft were deployed to the Khmeimim air base in Syria; the deployment was interpreted by commentators as a possible response to the deployment of U.S. fifth-generation Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, which took part in the 7 February strike.
In June and July 2018, Russian forces actively supported the Syrian Army in the successful execution of the Southern Syria offensive, which resulted in the Syrian government′s complete control of Daraa and Quneitra provinces. In August, Russia began to set up observation posts in Quneitra, along the UN-patrolled demilitarised zone in the Golan Heights; plans for eight such Russian-manned posts were announced. By mid-August, four such military police-manned posts along the Bravo line were set up.
At the end of August, the Russian media reported Russia was building up the largest ever naval grouping in eastern Mediterranean that included the cruiser Marshal Ustinov and all the three Admiral Grigorovich class frigates in service, including the latest Admiral Makarov. Speaking after talks with the Saudi Arabian foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir in Moscow on 29 August, Russia′s foreign minister, in a reference to the Idlib rebel-held enclave, said, "[T]his festering abscess needs to be liquidated.″ Additionally, the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C. published ambassador Anatoly Antonov′s warning to the U.S. against ″yet another unprovoked and illegal aggression against Syria" on the pretext of a staged chemical attack.
On 30 August, the Russian MoD said it would conduct large-scale drills in eastern Mediterranean that would involve 25 ships and 30 planes. The drills would take place from 1 September until 8 September and the area would be closed for other countries′ vessels and aircraft. The announcement was made amidst reports of the impending Syrian government′s offensive in the Idlib province and anticipated military reaction on the part of the U.S.
September 2018–March 2019
On 17 September 2018, during multiple missile strikes by Israeli F-16 jets at targets in western Syria, Russia′s Il-20 ELINT reconnaissance plane returning to Khmeimim Air Base, with 15 Russian servicemen on board, was inadvertently downed by a Syrian S-200 surface-to-air missile. Russia′s defence minister the following day blamed Israel′s military for the accident and re-affirmed its stance in a minute-by-minute report presented on 23 September. Early on 20 September, Russia′s government-run news agency reported Russia had announced multiple areas of eastern Mediterranean ″near Syria, Lebanon, and Cyprus" shut for air and sea traffic until 26 September, due to the Russian Navy′s drills in the area. Following the shoot down incident, defense minister Sergei Shoigu on 24 September said that within two weeks, the Syrian army would receive S-300 air-defense missile systems to strengthen Syria′s combat air defence capabilities; a series of other military measures were announced such as radio-electronic jamming of "satellite navigation, onboard radars and communications systems used by military aircraft attacking targets in Syrian territory", in the areas of the Mediterranean off the Syrian coast.
The Russian Ministry of Defense reported that 68,000 Russian army servicemen had so far taken part in the Syrian intervention by 3 January 2019.
On 13 March 2019, the Russian defence ministry said its jets had bombed Hayat Tahrir al-Sham′s targets in the city of Idlib, the operation having been cleared with Turkey. According to mass media reports, a displacement camp, as well as a prison were hit.
Since April 2019
Fighting intensified in Idlib and nearby areas at the end of April 2019, Syrian and Russian forces striking the rebel targets.
On 13 June, the Russian military said fighting in the Idlib de-escalation zone had subsided as a result of a ceasefire agreement reached on Russia’s initiative that came into force the day prior.
By 10 July 2019, the government offensive in Idlib was judged to have reached a standstill, Russia’s ties with Turkey cited as the main brake on any full-scale attempt to take the entire northwest.
Assessments of effectiveness
By late February 2016, the Russian Air Force conducted around 60 airstrikes daily, while the American-led coalition averaged seven. These Russian airstrikes have reportedly proven particularly effective against ISIS oil trade and supply routes in the Syrian Desert. An estimated 209 Syrian oil facilities were destroyed by the airstrikes, along with 2,000 petroleum transport equipments. By the time of the withdrawal of the "main part" of its forces in mid-March, Russia had conducted over 9,000 sorties over the course of five and a half months, while helping the Syrian Army capture 400 towns and acquire 10,000 square kilometers of territory.
In January 2016, a few months after Russia's involvement in Syria, diplomat Ranjit Gupta wrote, in an article published by The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, that the Russian reinforcement was "godsend for Assad, greatly boosting the regime's sagging morale and that of its armed forces." Gupta continued:
With robust air cover provided by Russian airstrikes Assad's forces can start liberating and holding territory, particularly in the extremely strategically vital corridor connecting Damascus and Aleppo. Russian help provides Assad's military the distinct possibilities to regain the upper hand in the conflict, particularly in northwestern and western Syria at least.
In February 2016, Professor Fawaz A. Gerges of the London School of Economics opined the Russian military intervention had turned out to be a game-changer in the Syrian Civil War: ″Mr Putin's decision to intervene in Syria and shore up Mr Assad with new fighter jets, military advisers and advanced weapons stopped the bleeding of the Syrian army and allowed it to shift from defence to offence.″
Vincent R. Stewart, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, stated in February 2016 that the "Russian reinforcement has changed the calculus completely" and added that Assad "is in a much stronger negotiating position than he was just six months ago".
In the week following the start of combat missions, the website RealClear Defense, part of the RealClearPolitics group, published an assessment of the effectiveness of Admiral Kuznetsov as a platform for airstrikes, noting the small size of its air group (estimated at a total of eight Su-33 and four MiG-29K aircraft), the difficulties with the MiG-29K, which is seen as the more effective platform for strike missions, the smaller amounts of smart weapons for the Su-33 (which is primarily a fleet air defence aircraft), and the lack of catapults on the carrier, which limits the take-off weight of its aircraft.
Weapons and munitions employed
Russian forces in Syria were reported to have used a mix of precision-guided munitions and unguided weapons. The October 2015 airstrikes were Russia's first operational use of precision-guided munitions, whose development in Russia lagged behind other nations due to economic instability in the 1990s. The majority of weapons employed, however, were unguided. Most Russian jets employ the SVP-24 guidance system, which allows them to use unguided munitions with high precision, close to the precision of guided ones, with substantially smaller costs.
Russia also used cruise missiles launched from corvettes, Admiral Grigorovich class frigates, and Kilo-class submarines. Russian artillery has also been used in the form of howitzers and multiple rocket launchers. The air campaign was estimated to cost between $2.3 and $4 million a day in its early phase. Additionally, the 3M-14T cruise missiles that Russia has used extensively, cost roughly $1.2 million per unit.
Reports of civilian casualties and war crimes
According to Amnesty International, in late February 2016 Russian warplanes deliberately targeted civilians and rescue workers during their bombing campaign. The human rights group has documented attacks on schools, hospitals and civilian homes. Amnesty International also said that "Russia is guilty of some the most egregious war crimes" it had seen "in decades". The director of Amnesty's crisis response program, Tirana Hassan, said that after bombing civilian targets, the Russian warplanes "loop around" for a second attack to target the humanitarian workers and civilians who are trying to help those have been injured in the first sortie.
In February 2016, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported extensive use of cluster munitions by Syria and Russia, in violation of United Nations resolution 2139 of 22 February 2014, which demanded that all parties end "indiscriminate employment of weapons in populated areas". HRW said that "Russian or Syrian forces were responsible for the attacks" and that the munitions were "manufactured in the former Soviet Union or Russia" and that some were of a type that had "not been documented as used in Syria" prior to Russia's involvement in the war, which they claimed, suggested that "either Russian aircraft dropped them or Russian authorities recently provided the Syrian government with more cluster munitions, or both". HRW also noted that while neither Russia nor Syria are parties to the Cluster Munitions Convention, the use of such munitions contradicts statements issued by the Syrian government that they would refrain from using them.
In February 2016, Médecins Sans Frontières has said that either "Syrian regime" or Russian warplanes deliberately attacked a hospital in Maarat al-Numan. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights stated that it was Russian warplanes that destroyed the hospital.
U.S. officials repeatedly stated that hospitals in Syria were attacked by Russian forces. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that by mid-February 2016, Russian air strikes had killed 1,000 civilians, including 200 children, since the initiation of the intervention in September 2015. In March 2016, Amnesty International reported "compelling evidence" of at least six such attacks. These reports, including the bombing of two hospitals by Russian Air Force planes, have been denied by Russian officials. In May 2016 the Russian delegation to the UN Security Council vetoed a statement condemning the air strikes on a refugee camp in Idlib on 5 May.
In June 2016, Russia Today, while reporting minister Shoigu's visit to Hmeymim air base, showed incendiary cluster bombs being loaded onto Russian airplanes, identified as RBK-500 ZAB-2.5SM due to clearly visible markings. After this information, inconsistent with official Russian statements, the video was removed but later reinstated and uploaded by RT. An editorial note below the video made no mention of the weapon, saying a frame in the video has caused "concern for personnel safety" because of a pilot's close-up. "Upon re-evaluation it was deemed that the frame did not pose any risks; it had since been restored and the video is up in its original cut," the RT statement said.
By the end of 2018, Airwars, which monitors reports of casualties of US and Russian airstrikes, had documented 2,730–3,866 civilian deaths in Syria in some 39,000 strikes, including 690–844 children and 2,017 named victims, although Russia officially confirmed none of these. Russia claimed to have flown 39,000 sorties (not strikes) as of late 2018.
In May 2019 the Russian and Syrian governments were accussed by United Nations officials of intentionally bombing eight hospitals in Idlib whose GPS coordinates were passed to Russia as part of agreed "deconfliction mechanism" with hope to prevent "accidental bombing" which was previously used as an excuse by the governments.
Cooperation with Iran
Iran continues to officially deny the presence of its combat troops in Syria, maintaining that it provides military advice to President Assad's forces in their fight against terrorist groups. It is believed that the Syrian Arab Army receives substantial support from the Quds Force; in June 2015, some reports suggested that the Iranian military were effectively in charge of the Syrian government troops on the battlefield.
After the loss of Idlib province to a rebel offensive in the first half of 2015, the situation was judged to have become critical for Assad's survival. High level talks were held between Moscow and Tehran in the first half of 2015 and a political agreement was achieved; on 24 July, ten days after the signing of the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 countries, General Qasem Soleimani visited Moscow to devise the details of the plan for coordinated military action in Syria.
In mid-September 2015, the first reports of new detachments from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards arriving in Tartus and Latakia in western Syria were made. With much of the Syrian Arab Army and National Defence Force units deployed to more volatile fronts, Russian Marines and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have relieved their positions by installing military checkpoints inside the cities of Slunfeh (east Latakia Governorate), Masyaf (East Tartus Governorate) and Ras al-Bassit (Latakia coastal city). There were also further reports of new Iranian contingents being deployed to Syria in early October 2015. After the start of the Russian operation, it was generally thought that Iran will be playing a leading role in the ground operations of Syria's army and allies, whilst Russia will be leading in the air in conjunction with the Syrian Arab Air Force, thereby establishing a complementary role.
The use of Iran′s Hamadan Airbase by Russian military aircraft that began in mid-August 2016 marked a new level of cooperation between the countries in their support for the Syrian government
- For further Russian comments on Syria and Russian initiatives since 30 September 2015 not part of this military operation, see: Russian involvement in the Syrian Civil War
- On 1 October 2015, the Syrian Ambassador to Russia, Riyad Haddad, stated that the Russian air force is acting in full coordination with the Syrian army. He added that Syria's position is that the Russian intervention is the only legitimate intervention under international law and called for other countries to join the "non-criminal" Russian intervention in Syria.
United Nations – On 31 October 2015, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in an interview with Spanish daily El Mundo "The future of Assad must be decided by the Syrian people," and "The Syrian government insists that President Assad takes part (in any transitional government) but others, especially Western countries, say there is no place for him, but because of that we have lost three years, there have been more than 250,000 dead, more than 13 million displaced within Syria... more than 50 percent of hospitals, schools and infrastructure have been destroyed. There's no time to lose." 
In 2016, retired war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, who was researching rights abuses in Syria as part of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, told an interviewer "I think the Russian intervention is a good thing, because finally someone is attacking these terrorist groups", but added that Russia is not distinguishing enough between terrorist and other groups. In 2017, she complained that Russia was using its UN Security Council veto to prevent prosecution of war crimes in Syria, leading her to resign from her role in Syria.
NATO – NATO has condemned Russian air strikes and urged Russia to stop supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. On 8 October 2015, they renewed assurances to defend the allies in view of the "escalation of Russian military activities."
U.S.-led coalition – On 1 October 2015, participants in the United States-led anti-ISIL coalition called on Russia to curtail its air campaign in Syria, saying the airstrikes had hit Syrian opposition groups and civilians. Such strikes would "only fuel more extremism", the statement issued by the United States, UK, Turkey and other coalition members declared. "We call on the Russian Federation to immediately cease its attacks on the Syrian opposition and civilians and to focus its efforts on fighting ISIL." United States President Barack Obama, at a news conference on 2 October, underscored the coalition statement by saying the Russian action was driving moderate opposition groups underground, and would result in "only strengthening" ISIL.
In 2017, the Inter-parliamentary Assembly of the Community for Democracy and Rights of Nations, an international organization consisting of the only partially recognized republics Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transnistria, adopted a joint statement in which supported the policy of the Russian Federation in Syria.
Armenia provides support for the Russian operations in Syria by providing operational and logistical support. As a member of the CSTO, Armenia supports the Russian military intervention.
Belarus, also a member of the CSTO, supports the Russian military intervention in Syria, said the country's acting foreign minister Vladimir Makei in October 2015.
China has reacted positively to Russia's military intervention in Syria. The Chinese government perceives it as an element of the global fight against terrorism. China has no interest in getting involved militarily in Syria, but China's special envoy for the crisis in Syria praised Russia's military role in the war. In August 2016, Guan Youfei, director of the Office for International Military Cooperation of China's Central Military Commission, was in Damascus and said that "China and Syria's militaries have a traditionally friendly relationship, and China's military is willing to keep strengthening exchanges and cooperation with Syria's military".
Egypt voiced support of the Russian air operation. On 3 October 2015, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said the Russian entry into war in Syria was bound "to have an effect on limiting terrorism in Syria and eradicating it."
Iraq supports the Russian intervention in Syria and has permitted Russia to fly over Iraq with its war planes.
Israel – Shortly prior to the Russian intervention, the Israel Defense Forces and Russian military had set up a joint working group to coordinate their Syria-related activities in the aerial, naval, and electromagnetic arenas. The Israeli government was primarily concerned about ensuring that the potential alliance between Hezbollah and Russia is not detrimental to its security. According to Zvi Magen, former ambassador to Moscow, "Israel made clear to him [Putin] that we have no real problem with Assad, just with Iran and Hezbollah, and that message was understood." An Israeli military official stated that Israel would not shoot down any Russian aircraft which overflew Israeli territory because "Russia is not an enemy".
Jordan – On 23 October 2015, Jordan agreed to set up a "special working mechanism" in Amman to coordinate military actions with Russia in Syria. Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov called for continued expansion of the alliance, saying "We think that other states that participate in the anti- terrorist fight can join this mechanism as well."
Saudi Arabia – On 1 October 2015, Saudi Arabia′s senior diplomat at the UN demanded that Russia cease its intervention, repeating claims made by Western diplomats that Russia was targeting the unnamed "moderate" anti-government opposition rather than ISIL.
Turkey – President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, after a series of alleged violations of the country′s airspace by Russian military aircraft in early October 2015, warned that Russia's military operation in Syria could jeopardise the bilateral ties between the countries. On 23 December, co-leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party Selahattin Demirtaş criticized Ankara's stance regarding a Russian jet shot down by Turkey in November 2015.
United Arab Emirates – Initially, the UAE did not comment on the Russian intervention. Foreign Minister Anwar Mohammed Qarqash later expressed support for the intervention, claiming they were against a "common enemy".
United Kingdom – Prime Minister David Cameron said "It's absolutely clear that Russia is not discriminating between ISIL and the legitimate Syrian opposition groups and, as a result, they are actually backing the butcher Assad and helping him". British troops will be sent to the Baltic states and Poland following Russia's intervention in Syria "to respond to any further provocation and aggression".
United States – In early October 2015, President Barack Obama was reported to have authorised the resupply—against ISIL—of 25,000 Syrian Kurds and 5,000 of the armed-Syrian opposition, emphasising that the United States would continue this support now that Russia had joined the conflict.
- The U.S. ruled out military cooperation with Russia in Syria. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and other senior U.S. officials said Russia's campaign was primarily aimed at propping up Assad, whom Obama has repeatedly called upon to leave power. On 8 October 2015, he said, at a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels, that he believed Russia would soon start paying the price for its military intervention in Syria in the form of reprisal attacks and casualties. He added that he expected "in the next few days the Russians will begin to lose in Syria." He further said Russia's campaign was primarily aimed at propping up Assad.
- On 9 October, the Obama administration abandoned its efforts to build up a new rebel force inside Syria to combat the Islamic State, acknowledging the failure of its $500 million campaign to train thousands of fighters and announcing that it will instead use the money to provide ammunition and some weapons for groups already engaged in the battle.
- On 24 November, Obama said that Turkey "has a right to defend its territory and its airspace" after it shot down a Russian bomber for allegedly violating Turkish airspace for 17 seconds, near the Syrian border. Obama also said "[Russians] are going after moderate opposition that are supported by not only Turkey but a wide range of countries." Syrian government forces supported by the Russian air force were fighting against an alliance that included the Turkish-backed Syrian Turkmen Brigades and al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate the al-Nusra Front.
Militias and religious agents
Representatives of the Kurdish YPG and PYD expressed their support for Russian air strikes against Islamic State, al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham. They also asked for Russian help in weaponry and for the cooperation with Russia in the fight against Islamic State. Shortly after the Russian air strikes started, Salih Muslim, co-chair of the PYD, has said in an interview that he doesn't believe "that America will object because [Jabhat] al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham are no different than Daesh. They are all terrorist organizations and share the same radical mentality."
On 30 September, Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin, said the fight against terrorism was a "moral fight, a holy fight if you will". Leader of the Central Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Russia, Chief Mufti Talgat Tadzhuddin stated: "We fully back the use of a contingent of Russian armed forces in the battle against international terrorism." According to The Washington Post, "Russian Muslims are split regarding the intervention in Syria, but more are pro- than anti-war."
Over 40 anti-government groups, including factions such as Ahrar al-Sham, Jaysh al-Islam and the Levant Front, were reported, on 5 October, to have vowed to attack Russian forces in retaliation for Moscow's air campaign.
Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate al-Nusra Front has set a reward for the seizure of Russian soldiers of 2,500,000 Syrian pounds (approximately US$13,000). Abu Ubaid Al-Madani, who speaks Russian, released a video addressed to the Russians warning that they would massacre Russian soldiers. Abu Mohammad al-Julani called for Russian civilians to be attacked by former Soviet Muslims and called for attacks on Alawite villages in Syria.
The Syria-based, Al-Qaeda linked Saudi cleric Abdallah Muhammad Al-Muhaysini threatened that Syria would be a "tomb for its invaders" or "graveyard for invaders" in response to the Russian intervention and brought up the Soviet–Afghan War. Muhaysini had foreign fighters of multiple backgrounds repeated the phrase "The Levant is the graveyard of the Russians", in a video message.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant declared Jihad upon the Russians in a recorded vocal communiqué by Abu Mohammed al-Adnani. On 12 November, ISIL published via its media branch, al-Hayat Media Center a music video in which they threatened that they would attack Russia very soon and "blood would spill like an ocean".
The Muslim Brotherhood of Syria issued a statement declaring Jihad against Russia obligatory (Fard 'ayn) upon all who are able to carry weapons. They cited the Russian Orthodox Church's call of the operation as a Holy War.
Fifty-five Saudi religious scholars signed a statement against the Russian intervention, first addressing the Russians as "Oh Russians, oh extremist people of the Cross", reminding them of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and addressing Orthodox Russia as the heir of the Soviet Communists, accusing them of "supporting the Nusayri regime" and invading "Muslim Syria", accusing the leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church of declaring a "Crusade" and telling them they will meet the fate of the Soviet Union and suffer "a shameful defeat in the Levant". The statement also addressed "Our people in the Levant", telling the able-bodied and those who are able to contribute to join the "Jihad" instead of emigrating. The statement also called for all factions against the government in Syria to unite. Further, addressing "Arab and Muslim countries", telling them that there is a "real war against Sunnis and their countries and identity" at the hands of the "Western-Russian and Safavid and Nusayri alliance", calling for the termination of all relations with Iran and Russia with Muslim countries and to "protect the land and people of the Levant from the influence of the Persians and Russians", especially calling upon Qatar, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia to support the Levant.
Photos of Uyghur fighters of the Turkistan Islamic Party were released with captions in Arabic that said "standing up strongly to the Nusayri army and the Russians." (المجاهدين التركستانيين يتصدى بقوة للجيش النصيري ومن قبل الروس).
A Turkmen opposition group allied with the Free Syrian Army and al-Nusra Front claimed that Russian air forces conducted simultaneous air strikes against Turkmen villages and positions in the Turkmen Mountain area. More than 40 civilian casualties were reported in one incident.
- Humanitarian aid during the Syrian Civil War#Russia
- Russian Armed Forces casualties in Syria
- Timeline of the Syrian Civil War (August–December 2015)
- "Understanding Armenia's Syrian Gamble". Jamestown Foundation. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
- "Armenia sends military deminers and medics to support Russian mission in Syria". EurasiaNet. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
- "Syrian Kurds use Russian and US support to make rapid advances". Middle East Eye. 17 February 2016.
- "Russian support for PKK's Syrian arm PYD". Anadolu Agency. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015.
- "Kurds attack Turkish-backed Syrian opposition forces with Russian help". i24 News. 28 November 2015.
- "YPG advances near Turkey's border". Rudaw Media Network. 28 November 2015.
- "Russian-Kurdish-Syrian military cooperation is happening in secret". The Independent. 24 July 2017. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
- theregion.org. "SDF units coordinating efforts in Syria with Russia despite cooperation with U.S. – PYD". Retrieved 11 December 2017.
- "Syrian Kurds seize territory from IS with US, Russian support". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
- "Russia says it provides air cover to YPG in eastern Syria". DailySabah. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
- "Turkey, Russia continue joint airstrikes against ISIL near al-Bab". Hürriyet Daily News. 2 January 2017.
- "US and Russian military to hold urgent talks over Syria crisis after Putin defies West". The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- Tom Kutsch (8 October 2015). "Gulf states increase arms to Syrian rebels in counter to Russia airstrikes". Al Jazeera America. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
- Gareth Porter (28 May 2015). "Gulf allies and 'Army of Conquest'". Al-Ahram Weekly.
- Kim Sengupta (12 May 2015). "Turkey and Saudi Arabia alarm the West by backing Islamist extremists the Americans had bombed in Syria". The Independent. Archived from the original on 13 May 2015.
- "'Army of Conquest' rebel alliance pressures Syria regime". Yahoo News. 28 April 2015.
- "Syria peace talks end in Lausanne without significant progress". Daily Sabah. 15 October 2016.
- "Russia unleashes first wave of airstrikes in Syria". Al Arabiya. 30 September 2015.
- "Who are the Turkmen in Syria?". BBC. 24 November 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
- "Syrian rebels fired on parachuting Russian pilots, killing at least one after Turkey shot down warplane: official". National Post. 24 November 2015. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
- Fisk, Robert (4 October 2015). "Syria's 'moderates' have disappeared... and there are no good guys". The Independent. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
- "Saudi Arabia just replenished Syrian rebels with one of the most effective weapons against the Assad regime". Business Insider. 9 October 2015.
- "Turkey supports Free Syrian Army". Anadolu Agency. 25 October 2014. Archived from the original on 20 November 2015.
- "U.S. Weaponry Is Turning Syria into Proxy War With Russia". The New York Times. 12 October 2015.
- "US drops ammunition to rebels fighting ISIL in Syria". Al Jazeera. 13 October 2015.
- "U.S. weapons reaching Syrian rebels". Washington Post. 11 September 2013.
- "U.S. MILITARY WILL LEAVE SYRIA BASE IN DEAL WITH RUSSIA, REPORTS SAY". Newsweek. 29 May 2018.
- "(in Russian)".
- Genevieve Casagrande; Christopher Kozak; Jennifer Cafarella (24 February 2016). "Syria 90-Day Forecast: The Assad Regime and Allies in Northern Syria" (PDF). Institute for the Study of War. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
- "Syria Expands Territorial Control Fourfold in Two Years With Russian Help". Sputnik News.
- Laura Pitel, Nadia Beard (14 March 2016). "Vladimir Putin orders Russian military to begin withdrawal from Syria". The Independent. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
- "Putin orders Russian troops to begin pulling out of Syria". Fox News. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
- "Obama, Putin discuss Russia's 'partial withdrawal' from Syria". The Express Tribune. 15 March 2016. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
- Desk, News (6 October 2016). "Russian Air Force considers indefinite deployment in Syria". Al-Masdar News.
- "Syria conflict: Russia 'to continue air strikes' after withdrawal". BBC News. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
- Russian military begins armored patrols around Manbij (video)
- "Russian General Staff: Syrian opposition actively helped in freeing one of IS strongholds". TASS. 15 January 2016.
- Командующий группировкой войск РФ в Сирии дал первое интервью. Rossiskaya Gazetta.
- Источник: назначен новый командующий российской группировкой войск в Сирии RIA, 22 July 2016.
- Группировку в Сирии возглавил командующий Западным округом генерал Картаполов. Lenta.Ru.
- Российской группировке в Сирии нашли нового командующего RBK Group, 2 November 2017
- В Минобороны опровергли сообщения о замене командующего российской группировкой в Сирии Interfax, 21 February 2018.
- С начала операции ВКС в Сирии прошло три года TASS, 30 September 2018.
- Командующий ЦВО уехал воевать, оставив в штабе округа две вакансии: Генерал-лейтенант Александр Лапин возглавил группировку российских войск в Сирии ural.aif.ru (АиФ-Урал), 24 October 2018.
- Командующего ВДВ десантировали в Сирию. Российские силы в республике возглавил Андрей Сердюков Kommersant, 12 April 2019.
- Alessandria Masi (11 November 2014). "If ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Is Killed, Who Is Caliph of the Islamic State Group?". International Business Times.
- "Kadyrov Claims Red-Bearded Chechen Militant al-Shishani Dead". ElBalad. 14 November 2014. Archived from the original on 28 January 2015.
- "Kadyrov Says Islamic State's Leader From Georgia Killed". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 14 November 2014.
- "Third Russian air strike on Syrian rebel group kills leader". Reuters. 20 October 2015.
- "Abu Yahia al-Hamawi, Ahrar al-Sham's New Leader". Syria Comment. 12 September 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
- "Air strike kills top commander of former Nusra group in Syria". Reuters. 9 September 2016.
- Leith Fadel (30 September 2015). "Russian Air Force Pounds Al-Qaeda in Latakia and Hama". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
- Anne Bernard, Andrew E. Kramer (7 October 2015): Escalating Syria Attack, Russia Fires Missiles From Warships, The New York Times.
- "Russia turns to backwater navy for Syria missile strikes". Reuters. 9 October 2015. Archived from the original on 27 October 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
- "Russia Said to Redeploy Special-Ops Forces From Ukraine to Syria". The Wall Street Journal. 23 October 2015. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
- "Syrian rebel groups call for unity, attacks on Russia". Deutsche Welle. 5 October 2015.
- "Iran troops to join Syria war, Russia bombs group trained by CIA". Reuters. 1 October 2015.
- "Rebels say US-made missiles turning tide against regime". Agence France-Presse. 13 October 2015. Archived from the original on 19 October 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- "US accuses Russia of 'throwing gasoline on fire' of Syrian civil war". The Guardian. 30 September 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
- "Syrian war's al-Qaida affiliate calls for terror attacks in Russia". The Guardian. 13 October 2015.
- "Search for the dead begins in Idlib after Islamic State-linked brigade leaves for Raqqa". Syria Direct.
- "Russian strikes kill 18, wound dozens, according to Syrian opposition". Fox News.
- "Islamic State closes in on Syrian city of Aleppo; U.S. abandons rebel training effort". Reuters. 9 October 2015. Archived from the original on 14 October 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
- "Russian soldiers geolocated by photos in multiple Syria locations", MARIA TSVETKOVA, 8 November 2015, Reuters. "U.S. security officials and independent experts told Reuters last week that Moscow had increased its forces in Syria to 4,000 personnel from an estimated 2,000. A U.S. defense official said multiple rocket-launcher crews and long-range artillery batteries were deployed outside four bases the Russians were using".
- News, abc (16 June 2017). "Key moments in Russia's campaign, involvement in Syrian war". Archived from the original on 16 June 2017. Retrieved 17 June 2017.Russia's Defense Ministry never said how many troops it has in Syria, but turnout figures in voting from abroad in the September 2016 parliamentary elections indicated that Russian military personnel in the Arab nation at the time likely exceeded 4,300.
- "4 Russian warships launch 26 missiles against ISIS from Caspian Sea". RT English. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
- Sputnik. "Russian Admiral Grigorovich Frigate Targets Terrorists in Syria With Missiles".
- "Rosyjskie rakiety manewrujące uderzyły w IS. Wystrzelone z okrętu podwodnego". Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- Sputnik. "Kalibrs in Syria: Why Cruise Missiles Strike on Daesh Was Important". sputniknews.com.
- "Veliky Novgorod and Kolpino submarines fired the Kalibr cruise missiles from submerged position against the ISIS critical objects in Syria : Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation". eng.mil.ru.
- "Russian missile cruiser ordered to work with French in Syria". New York Daily News. 17 November 2015. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
- Голландская подлодка опасно приблизилась к кораблям ВМФ в Средиземном море RIA Novosti, 9 November 2016.
- "Russia Pounds ISIS With Biggest Bomber Raid in Decades". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- "Russian Marines Position Themselves in Eastern Latakia". The Aviationist. 29 September 2015. Archived from the original on 29 September 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
- Thomas Gibbons-Neff (21 September 2015). "This is the airpower Russia has in Syria". The Washington Post. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- "Восемь Су-34 и звено Су-27СМ3 усилили авиагруппу ВКС РФ в Сирии - Еженедельник "Военно-промышленный курьер"". vpk.almaz-media.ru. Archived from the original on 14 March 2016.
- "Russian Fighter Aircraft Arrive in Syria". Stratfor. 21 September 2015. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
- Птичкин, Сергей (1 February 2016). Россия перебросила в Сирию новейшие Су-35С (in Russian). Rossiyskaya Gazeta. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
- Rosenberg, Steve. "The Russian air base near Latakia earlier today. We're back here nearly 2 years after Russia launched its military operation in Syria.pic.twitter.com/PVVAKVE7Cj".
- "ЦАМТО / Новости / "Коммерсант": МиГ-29СМТ пройдет испытание Сирией". armstrade.org.
- New Russian stealth fighter spotted in Syria: Two Su-57 jets are the latest high-tech military system Russia has deployed in Syria conflict The Guardian, 22 February 2018.
- СМИ сообщили о прибытии еще двух истребителей Су-57 в Сирию RIA Novosti, 24 February 2018.
- bmpd (20 November 2016). "Ночные полеты МиГ-31БМ в Сирии".
- Ripley, Tim (13 January 2016). "Russia operates 'Mainstay' AEW&Cs over Syria". Jane's Defence Weekly. Surrey, UK: Jane's Information Group. 53 (10). ISSN 0265-3818.
- В Сирии замечены новейшие российские истребители - на фоне активизации армии Асада и недовольства действиями США NEWSru, 22 February 2018.
- Аналитики обнаружили в Сирии секретный российский самолет-разведчик NEWSru, 16 February 2016.
- Cenciotti, David (15 February 2016). "Russia has just deployed its most advanced spyplane to Syria". The Aviationist. Archived from the original on 16 February 2016. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
- "Russian Fighter Aircraft Arrive in Syria". Stratfor. Archived from the original on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
- Илья Щеголев (30 November 2015). "В Сирии заметили Ка-52 и Ми-28Н". Rossiyskaya Gazeta. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
- ""Форпост" замечен в небе над Сирией". warfiles.ru. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
- ""Уран-6" используют российские военные для разминирования Пальмиры". Retrieved 2 May 2016.
- bmpd (2 January 2017). "Бронированный модульный автомобиль К63968 "Тайфун-К" в Сирии?".
- Sputnik. "Desert Tiger: Russian-Made Armored Vehicle Well-Proven in Syrian Conflict". sputniknews.com.
- "Под Пальмиру перебросили "Рыси" и "Тайфуны" для саперов (видео)".
- Israeli satellite spots launchers for Russian nuclear-capable missiles in Syria The Times of Israel, 6 January 2017.
- Majumdar, Dave. "Report: Russia's Dangerous Iskander-M Ballistic Missiles Are Now in Syria". The National Interest.
- Schmitt, Eric; MacFarquhar, Neil (21 September 2015). "Russia Expands Fleet in Syria With Jets That Can Attack Targets on Ground". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
- Главком ВКС РФ признал: в Сирию были переброшены зенитные ракетные системы NEWSru, 5 November 2015.
- "Россия развернула в Сирии ЗРК С-400". Kommersant. 26 November 2015. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
- "Истерика США от размещения С-300ВМ в Сирии имеет исчерпывающее объяснение".
- Advanced Russia-Made Air-Defense System Deployed in Central Syria Fars News Agency, 24 September 2017.
- Cockburn, Patrick (16 November 2014). "Islamic State has 200,000 fighters, claims Kurdish leader". The Independent. Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
- "US-led forces drop nearly 5,000 bombs on ISIS". Al Arabiya. 8 January 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
- "Fears of massacre as Isis tanks lead assault on Kurdish bastion". The Times. 4 October 2014.
- "Who is Russia bombing in Syria? The militant groups determined to fight to the death". The Independent. 1 October 2015. – Patrick Cockburn stated that "The Free Syrian Army was always a mosaic of fractions and is now largely ineffectual."
- Richard Hall (9 January 2014). "Factbox: Syria's rebel groups". Reuters. Archived from the original on 9 January 2014.
- "Front to Back". Foreign Policy.
- Al-awsat, Asharq (30 January 2017). "Syria: Surfacing of 'Hai'at Tahrir al-Sham' Threatens Truce - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English". Archived from the original on 15 February 2017.
- "Is Syria's Idlib being groomed as Islamist killing ground?". Asia Times. "Last January, Idlib sank into a "rebel civil war" as fighting broke out between Jabhat al-Nusra and the Turkish-backed Ahrar al-Sham, a militia in the Syrian north that boasts of a powerbase of at least 20,000 fighters."
- "Syrian opposition merger in Jan 2017". archicivilians. Retrieved 26 January 2017.
- Charles Lister (15 March 2017). "Al Qaeda Is Starting to Swallow the Syrian Opposition". Foreign Policy. "HTS and Ahrar al-Sham are the most militarily powerful, with the former likely commanding 12,000 to 14,000 fighters and the latter closer to 18,000 to 20,000."
- Aaron Y Zelin (June 2017). "How Al Qaeda survived drones, uprisings and the Islamic State" (PDF). Washington Institute for Near East Policy."Overnight [after its January 2017 expansion], Ahrar al-Sham had gained approximately 8,000 additional fighters to supplement its already large membership of 12,000."
- Russia lost 112 servicemen over three years of counter-terror operation in Syria - MP
Russian soldier killed in attack by Turkish-backed rebels
The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation reported the death of three Russian soldiers in Syria, March 25, 2019.
- "44 months of Russian military operations on the Syrian territory kill about 18400 people including more than 8100 civilians". SOHR. 30 May 2019. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
- "42 months of Russian operations on the Syrian territory kill more than 8000 civilians including more than 18150 people in their raids and shelling". SOHR. 30 March 2019. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
- Patrick J. McDonnell; W.J. Hennigan; Nabih Bulos (30 September 2015). "Russia launches airstrikes in Syria amid U.S. concern about targets". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
- "Russia carries out first air strikes in Syria". Al Jazeera. 30 September 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
- "Clashes between Syrian troops, insurgents intensify in Russian-backed offensive". U.S. News & World Report. 8 October 2015. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
- "Officials: CIA-Backed Syrian Rebels Under Russian Blitz". The New York Times. 10 October 2015. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
- Dearden, Lizzie (8 October 2015). "Syrian army general says new ground offensive backed by Russian air strikes will 'eliminate terrorists'". The Independent. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
- "Сирия: русский гром". Rossiyskaya Gazeta. 23 March 2016. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
- Galpin, Richard (10 January 2012). "Russian arms shipments bolster Syria's embattled Assad". BBC News. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- "Russia establishing permanent presence at its Syria bases: RIA". Reuters. 26 December 2017.
- "Putin Officials Said to Admit Real Syria Goal Is Far Broader". Bloomberg Business. 19 October 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
- Путин назвал основную задачу российских военных в Сирии (in Russian). Interfax. 11 October 2015.
- "Russian Intervention in Syrian War Has Sharply Reduced U.S. Options". New York Times. 10 February 2016.
- "Assad and Putin Meet, as Russia Pushes to End Syrian War". New York Times. 21 November 2017.
- "How Russian special forces are shaping the fight in Syria". Washington Post. 29 March 2016.
- Американский Б-52 разбомбил сирийскую деревню Rossiyskaya Gazeta, 10 January 2017.
- Расширенное заседание коллегии Министерства обороны kremlin.ru, 22 December 2017.
- Более 48 тысяч российских военных получили опыт в Сирии Rossiyskaya Gazeta, 23 December 2017.
- "Report: Almost 6,000 Dead in Syria During Geneva Talks". TIME Magazine. 17 February 2014.
- "Syrian rebels 'killed in army ambush near Damascus'". BBC. 7 August 2013.
- Russian airstrikes in Syria killed 2,000 civilians in six months The Guardian, 15 March 2016.
- "In January, Russia topped a dark league table, a Syria watchdog reports". 15 February 2016.
- "Russian warplanes kill 5081 civilians 40% of them were civilians". sohr.com. 31 March 2016.
- "Russia Guilty Of Syria War Crimes, Says Amnesty". News.sky.com. 21 February 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
- Russia unleashes lethal aerial arsenal on Aleppo by Tom Parfitt, 22 June 2016, The Times.
- "Russia/Syria: Extensive Recent Use of Cluster Munitions | Human Rights Watch". Hrw.org. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
- "Russia Today covering up war crimes in Syria | Conflict Intelligence Team". citeam.org. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
- http://www.syriahr.com/en/?p=90825. Missing or empty
- "Syria/Russia: International Inaction as Civilians Die". Human Rights Watch.
- "Syria: Relentless bombing of civilians in eastern Ghouta amounts to war crimes". Amnesty International.
- "US sanctions against Russia over Ukraine and Syria to remain". BBC.
- "Russia accused of war crimes in Syria at UN security council session". The Guardian.
- "Russia rejects Syria war crime claim". BBC.
- Nissenbaum, Dion (14 January 2015). "Months of Airstrikes Fail to Slow Islamic State in Syria". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
- "If British planes fly in Syria it will be for political, not military, reasons". The Guardian. 15 October 2015. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
- "How Iranian general plotted out Syrian assault in Moscow". Reuters. 6 October 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
- Manal. "Syria's ambassador to Russia urges all countries to join Syria and Russia against terrorism". Syrian Arab News Agency. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
- "Ъ – Иранский генерал потерялся между Тегераном и Москвой". kommersant.ru. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
- "МИД России: иранский генерал Сулеймани в Москве не был". Радио Свобода. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
- "Россия в Сирии: вид сверху". Kommersant. 3 October 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
- Alec Luhn (14 September 2015). "Russia sends artillery and tanks to Syria as part of continued military buildup". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
- Договор о размещении авиагруппы РФ в САР заключен на бессрочный период [The agreement on deployment of RF air force group is concluded for a limitless period]. RIA Novosti (in Russian). 14 January 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
- Дума ратифицировала соглашение о бессрочном размещении авиагруппы в Сирии [Duma ratified agreement on limitless deployment of aviation group in Syria]. TASS (in Russian). 7 October 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
- "Russian Warships in Eastern Mediterranean to Protect Russian Strike Fighters in Syria". USNI News. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- "Russia, Iran, Iraq & Syria setting up 'joint information center' to coordinate anti-ISIS operations". RT English.
- "Why Russia is pressing the 'accelerate' pedal in Syria". CNN. 15 October 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
- "Russia's Lavrov says Washington declines deeper military talks on Syria". NEWSru. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
- "US refuses to receive PM Medvedev's delegation to coordinate anti-terrorist actions in Syria". RT English. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
- ""Это обидно": Лавров сообщил, что США отказались принять делегацию РФ для обсуждения сирийского кризиса". NEWSru. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
- "Britain has frozen us out, says Russian envoy". The Times. 26 October 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
- "Erdogan warns against Mideast sectarian divisions". Al Arabiya. 26 December 2015. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
- Shaun Walker (30 September 2015). "Russian parliament grants Vladimir Putin right to deploy military in Syria". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- "Syria bombing: Russian three star general warned US officials 'we request your people leave'". The Independent. 30 September 2015.
- "Syria crisis: Russia begins air strikes against Assad foes". ВВС News. 30 September 2015.
- "View from Moscow: Syria Move Aimed at Ending International Isolation". Voice of America. 29 September 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- "An odd way to make friends". The Economist. 10 October 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- "Putin Sees Path to Diplomacy Through Syria". The New York Times. 16 September 2015. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
- "Ввяжемся в бой, а там смотрите сами: Россия изобретает новый тип дипломатии". Vedomosti. 15 September 2015. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- "Russia launches first airstrikes in Syria". CNN. 30 September 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
- "8 ISIS targets hit during 20 combat flights in Syria – Russian military". RT. 1 October 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
- "Russian air strikes hit CIA-trained rebels, commander says". Reuters. 1 October 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
- "Obama says Putin wrong on Syria but no 'proxy war'". Associated Press. 2 October 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
- "Officials: CIA-backed Syrian rebels under Russian blitz". Associated Press. 10 October 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
- "After Denying Claims They're Killing Civilians, Russia Has Launched Fresh Airstrikes in Syria". Vice News. 1 October 2015. Archived from the original on 1 October 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
- "Russia jets strike Islamic State in northern Syria: al-Mayadeen TV". Reuters. 1 October 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
- Leith Fadel (3 October 2015). "Russian Air Force Destroys a Large ISIS Convoy in East Homs Amid the Syrian Army's Counter-Attack". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
- "U.S. Places Militant Syrian Rebel Group on List of Terrorist Organizations". The New York Times. 10 December 2012.
- Leith Fadel (2 October 2015). "Russian Air Force Begins Massive Aerial Campaign Against ISIS in East Syria". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
- Leith Fadel (2 October 2015). "ISIS Rocked in Al-Raqqa: Russian Air Force Strikes Tabaqa Airport". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
- Dagher, Sam; Fitch, Asa (2 October 2015). "Iran Expands Role in Syria in Conjunction With Russia's Airstrikes". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
- Karimi; Faith (3 October 2015). "Russia bombs Syrian targets for 4th day as international concerns grow". CNN. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
- Leith Fadel (3 October 2015). "Breaking: Russian Air Force Strikes Al-Qaeda in Jisr Al-Shughour and Northeast Latakia". Al-Masdar News. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
- "Analysis: Is Russia flexing its missiles in Syria?". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
- Brian Walker; Don Melvin (7 October 2015). "Russia launches naval bombardment of targets in Syria". CNN.
- "Russian missiles 'hit IS in Syria from Caspian Sea'". BBC. 7 October 2015.
- "Russia has ground troop battalion, advanced tanks in Syria: U.S. NATO envoy". Reuters. 7 October 2015. Archived from the original on 11 October 2015.
- "First on CNN: U.S. officials say Russian missiles heading for Syria landed in Iran". CNN. 8 October 2015.
- "Syria crisis: Russian Caspian missiles 'fell in Iran'". BBC News. 8 October 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
- Slawson, Nicola (8 October 2015). "Russian cruise missiles fired at Syrian targets 'have landed in Iran'". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
- "URGENT: Iran Rejects Russian Missile Crash". Farsnews. Archived from the original on 9 October 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
- "اصابت چند موشک روسی به مواضع داعش درخاک ایران تکذیب شد". irinn.ir. Archived from the original on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
- "Сирийская армия не оправдывает надежд российских военных". Vedomosti. 12 October 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
- "Russian air force hits 60 Islamic State targets in Syria, kills 300 jihadists". The Times of India. 7 October 2015. Archived from the original on 12 October 2015.
- "Islamic State advances near Syria's Aleppo despite Russian strikes". USA Today. 9 October 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2015.
- "Syria and allies Iran and Russia prepare for Aleppo offensive". euronews. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
- "Syria's army, allies plan offensive against insurgents in Aleppo". Reuters. 14 September 2015. Archived from the original on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
- "Syrian Army, Hezbollah, Russian Air Force Coordinating for Aleppo Liberation Operation". Farsnews. 14 October 2015. Archived from the original on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
- Abu Ibrahim Raqqawi. "Russia lied about targeting ISIS". Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently. Archived from the original on 21 October 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
- "Russian Warplanes Destroy 140 Terrorist Targets in Syria". Sputnik. 17 November 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- Cenciotti, David (17 November 2015). "25 Russian long-range strategic bombers in action over Syria for the very first time". The Aviationist. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- Oliphant, Roland; Akkoc, Raziye; Steafel, Eleanor (17 November 2015). "Paris attacks: Cameron to make case for Syria military action as EU troops could be sent to France – latest news". The Daily Telegraph. Online. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
- "Russia's Bombers Tu-160, Tu-95MS Go Through Baptism of Fire in Syria". Sputnik. 18 November 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- "Long-range bombers to fly anti-ISIS missions from Russia, Putin orders Navy to work with France". RT English. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- Cenciotti, David (20 November 2015). "Russian Air Force Strategic Bomber Fleet in Action Over Syria 17–20 November 2015". The Aviationist. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
- "TASS: Military & Defense – Russia involves strategic missile carriers in operation against Islamic State in Syria". TASS. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- "Russia steps up attacks against IS with missile bombardment". BBC. 18 November 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- Путин поручил ВМФ РФ установить контакт с военно-морской группой Франции Interfax, 17 November 2015.
- "France to deploy largest warship in mission against IS". BBC. 5 November 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
- "Авиация РФ нанесла второй массированный удар по объектам ИГ в Сирии". RIA Novosti. 18 November 2015. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
- "Минобороны РФ опубликовало видео пусков крылатых ракет с борта Ту-160". РИА Новости. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- "Russia says eliminated 600 rebels in Syria". The Daily Star. 20 November 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
- "Warplane crashes near Syria-Turkey border - CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
- "Turkish F-16s shoot down Russian warplane near Syrian border". ABC News. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
- MacFarquhar, Neil (25 November 2015). "Navigator Rescued After Turkey Shot Down Warplane, Russia Says". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
- "Syria: Photos of Alparslan Celik, rebel leader from Turkey who shot Russian pilot, go viral". International Business Times. 27 November 2015.
- "Russian pilot 'killed' and another feared to be in rebel hands after plane is downed over Syria by Turkey". The Independent. 24 November 2015.
- "Turkey's statement to the United Nations Security Council". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
- "Turkey 'downs Russian warplane on Syria border'". BBC News. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
- Вадим Лукашевич. "Гибель российского Су-24 в Сирии: некоторые вопросы". Forbes.ru. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
- "Турция выразила России новый протест на нарушение воздушного пространства". РБК. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
- "Минобороны объяснило нарушение воздушного пространства Турции". lenta.ru. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
- Reuters Editorial (18 October 2015). "Turkey would shoot down planes violating its air space: PM". Reuters. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
- "Турция будет сбивать самолеты, нарушившие воздушное пространство страны". ТАСС. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
- "Выступление начальника Главного оперативного управления Генштаба ВС РФ генерал-лейтенанта Сергея Рудского по факту провокационных действий ВВС Турции : Министерство обороны Российской Федерации". function.mil.ru. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
- "Turkey Takes Action Against Russia's Syrian Air War". Aviation International News. 26 November 2015.
- "Deadly 'Russian airstrike' hits market in Syria's Idlib". Al Jazeera. 29 November 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
- "Российская авиация в Сирии разбомбила овощной рынок: минимум 40 погибших". NEWSru. 29 November 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
- "Syrian Opposition: Russian Strikes Kill 18, Wound Dozens". Associated Press. 29 November 2015 – via The New York Times.
- "Russia builds new base for more jets in Syria". The Times. 1 December 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
- "The Times: Россия готовится развернуть в Сирии вторую авиабазу, увеличив число самолетов и военных". NEWSru. 1 December 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
- "Russia strikes ISIS targets in Syria from sub in Mediterranean for first time (VIDEO)". RT International. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
- "Russia hits targets in Syria from Mediterranean submarine". BBC. 8 December 2015. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- Встреча с главой Минобороны Сергеем Шойгу The Kremlin website, 8 December 2015.
- "Putin vows 'extremely tough' action on Syria threats". BBC. 11 December 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- В Кремле уточнили, что Россия не поставляет оружие ССА, и попросили "не цепляться" к формулировкам NEWSru, 12 December 2015.
- "Шойгу рассказал депутатам о плане "дойти до Евфрата" в Сирии". RBC. 16 December 2015. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
- Путин: Вооруженные силы РФ показали в Сирии не все свои возможности RIA Novosti, 19 December 2015.
- Reuters Editorial (19 December 2015). "Putin: Russia ready to use 'more military means' in Syria if need be – agencies". Reuters UK. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
- Генштаб РФ: самолеты ВКС совершили уже более 5 тысяч вылетов в Сирии и уничтожили больше 2 тысяч бензовозов с нефтью ИГ NEWSru, 25 December 2015.
- Начальник Главного оперативного управления Генерального штаба Вооруженных Сил Российской Федерации подвел итоги деятельности российских ВКС в Сирии в 2015 году Russian Defence ministry website, 25 December 2015.
- Russian Aerospace Force never attack civil facilities in Syria – commander TASS, 27 December 2015.
- "Новости NEWSru.com :: Российская авиация ни разу не атаковала гражданские объекты в Сирии, заявил главком ВКС". newsru.com. Retrieved 11 January 2016.