BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:55 P.M.) – The last month has seen a record number of strategic air raids being carried out by Russian heavy bombers which, flying in classic 6-ship formations, begin their journey in Russia and transit Iranian and Iraqi airspace – sometimes on a daily basis – to hit targets in Syria.
The commitment of strategic aviation by the Russian Aerospace Forces to the Syrian battle space significantly quieted down following the initial shock-and-awe phase of the Russian intervention, only then being limited to emergency situations such during the August-September 2016 battle in western Aleppo and ISIL’s powerful offensives against the Deir Ezzor bastion in early 2017.
However, the last month has seen a drastic increase in the number of strategic raids being carried out by Russian heavy bombers. These heavy bombardment operations have been conducted during a time when Islamic State forces are all but a shadow of their former might.
Even following the liberation of Abu Kamal – a pro-government victory which has seen ISIL lose its last major urban stronghold inside Syria and fragmented its imperial heartland into a number of small rural pockets within the middle Euphrates valley region – Russian heavy bombers continue to hound retreating Islamic State forces, keeping them disorientated to prevent them from regrouping and foiling their efforts to consolidate new defensive lines.
Initially, Russian heavy bombers were used to strike strategic targets such command-and-control centers, ammo and fuel deports and rear bases. Lately however, the parameters of engagement have expanded to include vehicle columns and belts of tactical positions.