Russia’s defence ministry has released footage showing its air force performing air strikes in Syria against what it claims are Isis oil targets.
In a briefing given to journalists in Moscow, the Kremlin released drone footage showing the destruction of oil refineries and production facilities and of columns of oil trucks, which the Russian military claimed had been part of Isis black market operation to smuggle oil into Turkey.
Lieutenant General Sergei Rudskoy said that in the course of the last week, 37 oil production and refinery facilities and 17 columns of oil trucks had been “eliminated”.
The footage shows the progression of miles-long lines of trucks in an unspecified part of Syria moving in convoy before they are blown up by Russian air strikes.
Lieutenant General Rudskoy said that since the beginning of the Russian Aerospace Forces’ operation “approximately 2,000 such oil trucks have been destroyed in Syria” but was not specific about the locations of the attacks.
The Kremlin claims that Turkey is the “destination point of oil trafficking” though it has not been confirmed who is operating the oil trucks targeted by Russia in the images.
Lieutenant General Rudskoy said Russia’s air force have made 5,240 sorties since it started its air strikes in Syria on 30 September, including 189 sorties on Thursday alone.
Long-range strategic bombers have carried out 145 sorties since the Russia’s air strikes began, he added.
On Friday Zahran Alloush, the leader of one of Syria’s most powerful Islamist rebel groups Jaysh al-Islam, was reportedly killed by Russian air strikes.
Russia has been criticised for its military action in Syria, which UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond claims is simply targeting moderate rebels and instead “helping the very Isis forces they claim to be against”.
The air strikes have drawn further condemnation for the number of civilian casualties. Figures released by the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in November claimed that 403 civilians had been killed in the strikes, including 97 children.
Amnesty International has accused Russia of having “directly attacked” civilians in Syria, claiming the air strikes could constitute war crimes. The Kremlin dismissed the report as “total lies”.
Additional reporting by Reuters
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies