Russia plans to build a 'unified military base' in Syria to serve as the base for its operations against Islamic State (IS) militants.
In an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda on October 16,
Deputy Chief of the General Staff Andrei Kartapolov said it would be 'a single
base to include several components -- naval, air, and ground forces.'
Kartapolov also said it was possible that forces of
Russia's permanent naval group in the Mediterranean Sea could be used to strike
at targets in Syria.
He said that Russia estimated there are 40,000-50,000 IS
militants in Syria and Iraq. He added that Russia 'does not see' any 'moderate
opposition' in Syria.
'Any person who is fighting against the legal authorities
with weapons in his hands...can you call him a moderate?' Kartapolov said.
He said Russian forces had carried out 600 missions
against 380 targets in Syria.
The United States and other countries believe Russia's
military actions in Syria are aimed at bolstering the government of Syrian
President Bashar al-Assad by targeting forces opposed to him.
Putin Praises IS Fight
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow had
made progress in building a broad coalition to combat Islamist extremism and
terrorism in Syria and elsewhere.
Putin, speaking at a press conference in the Kazakh city
of Burabai on October 16, said Russia has established contact with Saudi
Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Israel to discuss combating
He also urged all countries to 'join the work' of the
Baghdad information center that has been established jointly by Russia, Syria,
Iraq, and Iran.
The Russian president further lauded the effectiveness of
Russian military strikes against purported IS targets in Syria.
'Acting from the air and from the sea against targets
previously agreed upon with the Syrians, our servicemen have achieved
impressive results,' Putin said.
He asserted that many IS command centers and ammunitions
dumps have been destroyed and 'hundreds of terrorists' have been killed.
*With reporting by TASS, Interfax, and Reuters