Russian air strikes in Syria will last for three to four months and will intensify, the head of the lower house of the Russian parliament’s foreign affairs committee announced on Friday.
“There is always a risk of being bogged down but in Moscow, we are talking about an operation of three to four months,” Alexei Pushkov told French radio station Europe 1. He added that the strikes were going to intensify.
Pushkov was speaking a few hours before Putin was due to meet leaders of France, Germany and Ukraine in Paris for talks about Ukraine which were likely to be overshadowed by the conflict in Syria.
Pushkov said the strikes mainly targeted ISIL terrorists. “The opponents to Bashar are very close to Daesh (ISIL),” Pushkov said. US sources have claimed that the Russians hit facilities of a US-backed group, some of whose militants received training and support from the CIA.
Pushkov said the US-led coalition had “pretended” to bomb ISIL forces for a year.
“They pretended… Only 20 percent of their (U.S. led coalition) operations produced results, 80 percent of them did not lead to bombardments, they returned to base for different reasons,” Pushkov said.
Russia launched its first air strikes on Wednesday with airstrikes targeting terrorists in Hama, Idlib, Aleppo and other areas.
Pushkov said there were would be first contacts between US and Russian military officials on Friday to discuss operations in Syria.
On Friday, Pushkov also said Russian submarines with nuclear missile launching capabilities patrolling the Atlantic were a “response” to NATO’s plans to build up its operations in Eastern Europe. “These are the rules of the game…. So this is a response,” Pushkov said.