Though the U.S. and Russia have diplomatically sparred over Russia’s involvement in the battle against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh, in Syria, this hasn’t stopped Russia's onslaught of bombing.
On Nov. 17, Russia sent at least 25 Backfire, Bear and Blackjack bombers to attack ISIS forces,making it one of the heaviest bombing campaigns in modern history, The Daily Beast reported.
“During a massive airstrike [Nov. 17], 14 important ISIL targets were destroyed by 34 air-launched cruise missiles,” Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russia’s general staff, said. “The targets destroyed include command posts that were used to coordinate ISIL activities in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo, munition and supply depots in the northwestern part of Syria.”
Idlib and Aleppo are largely held by U.S.-backed rebels, though Russia warned U.S. officials before the strike was launched, according to the Pentagon. This cooperation stems from an October agreement between the U.S. and Russia to coordinate their attacks against ISIS.
Russia's airstrikes are motivated, in part, by the takedown of Russian Metrojet 9268 in October -- an attack that ISIS took credit for. However, Russia also plans to coordinate its attacks with France, which fell victim to an attack by ISIS on Nov. 13, The New York Times reported.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin and France’s President Francois Hollande have spoken on the phone. They plan to meet in Moscow on Nov. 26 to coordinate their military assault on ISIS.