The Russian Defence Ministry on Saturday released footage of what it says were air strikes its forces carried out over the previous 24 hours.
We defend the people of Russia from the threat of terrorism because it's better to do that beyond the borders of Russia than to fight them inside our country
Targets included nine ISIL positions including an underground explosives warehouse in Raqqa and other military storage areas near Jisr al-Shughour.
The US has accused Russia of bombing in support of President Bashar al-Assad, driving moderate opposition underground and ultimately strengthening the position of ISIL, but Russia has denied the allegation.
“We defend ourselves,” said Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in a TV interview. “We defend the people of Russia from the threat of terrorism because it’s better to do that beyond the borders of Russia than to fight them inside our country.”
But on Saturday the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that over the past four days
at least 39 civilians, including eight children and eight women, have been killed in Russian strikes.
In a joint statement, the US, UK, Turkey and other members of the coalition targeting ISIL with air strikes called on Russia to halt their bombing, claiming it is hitting the Syrian opposition and civilians, adding that they will “only fuel more extremism”.
Russia earlier this week announced its decision to launch strikes on Syria, in a dramatic escalation of foreign involvement in a more than four-year-old civil war.