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Russian General Outlines Moscow's Plans In Syria

A Russian Su-30 fighter drops bombs over Syria on October 15.
A Russian Su-30 fighter drops bombs over Syria on October 15.

Russia plans to build a "unified military base" in Syria to serve as the base for its operations against Islamic State (IS) militants.

In an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda on October 16, Deputy Chief of the General Staff Andrei Kartapolov said it would be "a single base to include several components -- naval, air, and ground forces."

Kartapolov also said it was possible that forces of Russia's permanent naval group in the Mediterranean Sea could be used to strike at targets in Syria.

He said that Russia estimated there are 40,000-50,000 IS militants in Syria and Iraq. He added that Russia "does not see" any "moderate opposition" in Syria.

"Any person who is fighting against the legal authorities with weapons in his hands...can you call him a moderate?" Kartapolov said.

He said Russian forces had carried out 600 missions against 380 targets in Syria.

The United States and other countries believe Russia's military actions in Syria are aimed at bolstering the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by targeting forces opposed to him.

Putin Praises IS Fight

Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow had made progress in building a broad coalition to combat Islamist extremism and terrorism in Syria and elsewhere.

Putin, speaking at a press conference in the Kazakh city of Burabai on October 16, said Russia has established contact with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Israel to discuss combating terrorism.

He also urged all countries to "join the work" of the Baghdad information center that has been established jointly by Russia, Syria, Iraq, and Iran.

The Russian president further lauded the effectiveness of Russian military strikes against purported IS targets in Syria.

"Acting from the air and from the sea against targets previously agreed upon with the Syrians, our servicemen have achieved impressive results," Putin said.

He asserted that many IS command centers and ammunitions dumps have been destroyed and "hundreds of terrorists" have been killed.

With reporting by TASS, Interfax, and Reuters
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