(JNi.media) According to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, the area under the Islamic State’s control is expanding to about 70% of Syria’s territory, TASS reported. “The Islamic State area of influence is expanding. Militants have seized about 70% of the Syrian territory. The number of terrorists amounts to about 60,000 people,” Shoigu said, adding, “There is a threat that their actions will be transferred to Central Asia and the Caucasus.”
Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said earlier that between 25,000 and 30,000 foreigners, including Russian nationals, are fighting in the ranks of Islamic State. The CIA also estimated the number of ISIS soldiers at about 30,000 people, while the Iraqi government insists there are 200,000 Islamic State fighters out there.
The Russian Air Force has destroyed more than 8,000 terrorist military facilities since the start of its operation in Syria, September 30, Defense Minister Shoigu noted. “In all, our combat aircraft made some 4,000 sorties and destroyed more than 8,000 facilities of the terrorist military infrastructure,” he said. He believes the Islamic State is suffering major damage after the Russian air strikes.
The Russian Aerospace Defense Forces delivered its first targeted airstrikes at anti-Assad positions on Sept. 30—although at the time it wasn’t clear which of the Syrian president’s many enemies they were after. More than 50 jets and helicopters take part in the operation, including Su-34 and Su-24M fighter jets, Su-25 aircraft, Su-30SM fighter aircraft, and Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters, TASS reported.