Russia refutes allegations of ‘zero’ effort in fighting IS

Moscow, Jan 10 (IANS) The Russian military released a string of facts and figures on Tuesday in response to an accusation by US Pentagon chief that Russia made “virtually zero” effort to combat the Islamic State in Syria.

The Russian air force in Syria has conducted 19,160 sorties, delivering over 71,000 strikes since the start of an anti-terrorist operation on September 30, 2015, said Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff.

“The main targets of our warplanes were militants’ training camps, ammunition factories and workshops, as well as illegal oil production facilities of IS terrorists,” he said at a Defence Ministry teleconference.

Gerasimov said the operation helped reverse the course of the struggle against terrorism in Syria, by breaking its supply system and cutting off its main source of revenue.

On the contrary, the US-led anti-terrorist coalition delivered only 6,500 strikes in the last two and a half years without producing any significant results, only inflicting huge casualties among civilians, Gerasimov said.

Outgoing US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a recent interview with NBC News that Russia’s efforts in fighting the IS in Syria were equal to “virtually zero”.