A senior Russian general says there has been growing discontent among Daesh militants with their command in Syria, with many of them deserting the terror group’s ranks as Moscow presses ahead with its air raids against terrorist positions in the Arab state.
On Friday, Colonel General Andrei Kartapolov, who heads operations in the Russian general staff, said “demoralized” Daesh Takfiris are now abandoning the extremist terror group “en masse” amid Moscow’s ongoing anti-terror air strikes in Syria.
“The majority of armed gangs are demoralized. Discontent with field commanders is growing amid the fighters, and there are instances of disobeying orders,” he told a media briefing.
The Russian military official also said earlier in the day that Moscow may use its warships deployed in the Mediterranean Sea to launch missile attacks against Daesh positions in Syria
A key task of the Russian Navy’s Mediterranean flotilla is to deliver supplies, and in order to accomplish such an objective, a group of warships has been deployed there that also includes amphibious assault ships, he told the Russian language Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.
He added that the naval flotilla also provides reliable air defense for the Russian base in the Syrian port city of Tartus, located 220 kilometers (136 miles) northwest of the capital, Damascus.
Kartapolov also emphasized that there are no Russian officers within the ranks of the Syrian army.
“Our group is operating on its own. We have a small operations group from the Syrian Armed Forces at our headquarters in Syria that provides coordination of flights with the Syrian Air Force, and gives us exact information of where the front line of the government troops is,” he commented.
The senior Russian military figure further noted that Russian fighter jets have struck more than 380 Daesh positions since the beginning of the anti-terror aerial campaign in Syria on September 30.
“Since the start of the operation we conducted more than 600 sorties and bombed more than 380 Daesh targets,” Kartapolov stated.
Russia began its own military campaign against terrorists in Syria upon a request from the Damascus government, shortly after the upper house of the Russian parliament gave President Vladimir Putin the mandate to use military force in Syria.