More than two dozen Russian Backfire,Bear and Blackjack bombers launched from a base in Southern Russia Tuesday night and released air-launched cruise missiles that struck the ISIL capital of Raqqa,Syria.According to Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Colonel Steve Warren,US Army,at the same time,a multi-ship formation of Russian warships in the Caspian Sea fired sea-launched cruise missiles at the same location.The missiles flew through Iraqi airspace and it was also the first time Russia had struck targets in Raqqa,COL Warren added.Russia notified the US beforehand,but didn't share its target set.The US neither cooperated nor coordinated with Russia on this strike;nor are there currently any plans to do so in the future,according to COL Warren.There is daily communication with Russia,but only to test the communications link.Right now,I see no indication they hit anything in our target set,the OIR spokesman told reporters via teleconference.*
A Russian spokesman said that the strike hit 14 important ISIL targets,including command posts that coordinate ISIL activities in Idlib and Aleppo Provinces,as well as munitions and supply depots in Northwest Syria.The Russian General Staff has developed a new plan for the air campaign involving the deployment of 25 strategic bombers,including eight Su-24 Fullback attack jets;four Su-27 Flanker fighter jets;plus the variable-sweep wing Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-22m Backfire jet bombers and the prop Bear bombers.The Bear and Blackjack bombers carry at least 20 tonnes of weaponry.All of the aforementioned bombers have a range of thousands of miles.*
At the G20 summit in Antalya,Turkey last weekend,US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron reportedly encouraged Russian President Vladimir Putin to strike more ISIL targets with Russian airpower.Previously,Russia had primarily been going after opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.