According to Defense Ministry officials in Moscow, the military's operations were pinpoint strikes against ISIL's equipment, communication centers, transportation, weapons depots, ammunition, and fuel, Censor.NET reports citing Meduza.
According to Reuters, at least 27 people -- including six children -- died when Russia bombed the city of Homs today. Both The New York Times and The Independent report that this region is under the control of the Free Syria Army (the armed anti-Assad opposition), not ISIL. According to the Syrian government, the small town of Talbiseh, which is not far from Homs, was also bombed.
Firas al-Said, who lives in Talbiseh, told Meduza 's special correspondent Daniil Turovsky what he saw:
Where are you now?
I'm in the village of Talbiseh, which is a suburb of Homs. I live here.
What did you see today?
Earlier today, two planes flew over our town. They fired eight rockets, hitting residential areas. As a result, 16 people died, including three children and two women. [He also shares a link to a YouTube video that he says verifies his story. Viewer discretion is advised.]
I can't be entirely sure that this attack was carried out by Russian planes, but I can say the following: they seemed to me and to others to be Russian because something was different about this attack. The impact and the destruction were worse than normal. Those who managed to see the planes say they haven't seen this type before. These are new planes-not the usual Syrian models.
What can you say about the damage? Were homes destroyed? You say that children were killed. Was a school hit?
Several buildings were destroyed completely. No schools were hit; the bombs struck people's homes.
Have you been to the hospital? What kind of injuries did people suffer? How did people die?
Yes, I've been to the hospital, but I should point out that it's not a building of any kind, but just a field clinic set up in the middle of an open field. Of course, there aren't enough doctors to manage the results of such an attack, when there are 16 people dead and many more injured. I can't say the exact number of people injured, but there are lots. And many of the injuries are quite serious. I've seen several people who have lost limbs.
What do you think about Russia beginning air strikes against ISIL in Syria?
For now, all I can see is that the first blow was at residential areas of a city where there is no ISIL, which does not control either Talbiseh or Homs. The people here are peaceful civilians and members of the Free Syria Army. It seems like this is all being done to aid Bashar al-Assad. But we're ordinary people-we're not militants.
So we can say that Homs and Talbiseh are controlled by the opposition?
Yes, you can. But not all of this territory is controlled by the Free Syria Army. The city's center still belongs to government forces.
Several of the neighboring towns are controlled by the al-Nusra Front [al-Qaeda in Syria]. Is it possible that there was some confusion about this?
I can only tell you that Talbiseh isn't controlled by any terrorists.