Six long-range bombers taking off from home bases in Russia overflew Iran and Iraq to strike sites held by Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria’s Deir al-Zor Province, the Russian military says.
The Russian Defense Ministry on November 15 said the TU-22M3 bombers hit IS targets near the town of Albu Kamal in Deir al-Zor Province.
The sites included supply depots, militants, and armored vehicles identified through satellite and drone surveillance, said the ministry, which added that all of the designated targets had been destroyed.
The ministry said Russian Sukhoi-30SM fighter jets based at Syria's Hmeymim air base escorted the bombers while in Syrian air space. It said all aircraft safely returned to their bases.
The mission came a day after Russia accused the United States of only acting as if it is fighting terrorism and of actually providing air cover for IS units in Syria.
The ministry said U.S. air forces had attempted to hinder Russian strikes on militants around Albu Kamal.
Colonel Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State, called the allegations the “latest barrage of lies" by the Russian Defense Ministry.
Russia's initial allegations included images purporting to show "irrefutable evidence" that U.S. forces were defending IS targets. Some of the images later were identified as coming from a video game.
The Kremlin said that "mistakes happen" and that the person responsible for the fake images was punished.
Based on reporting by Reuters, TASS, and The Washington Post