A source from Russia’s Ministry of Defense said that the Navy’s aircraft carrier group is prepared to launch strikes on terrorists in Aleppo, Syria, within the next 24 hours, Gazeta.ru reported.
According to the source, the group has completed its transfer to the Mediterranean Sea and is preparing for airstrikes. The group includes Russia’s ‘Admiral Kuznetsov’ aircraft carrier, ‘Pyotr Veliky’ nuclear power guided missile cruiser and two destroyers.
“The group’s main goal is to carry out missile strikes on terrorists outside of Aleppo that are attempting to get into the city”, the source said.
The Kremlin said earlier this week that Russia’s air force would maintain a moratorium on strikes in Aleppo unless militants launched an offensive.
Russia says its air force has been observing a moratorium on airstrikes on rebel-held eastern Aleppo since October 18.
Kalibr cruise missiles will likely be used to target the militants outside of Aleppo, the source added.
The source emphasized that the group will not be attacking residential areas. Kalibr cruise missiles will be used in the strikes.
According to the Gazeta.ru report, there is currently no Russian surface ship in the Mediterranean capable of firing the Kalibr-NK missiles. Submarine-launched Kalibr-PL could be used in strikes,” the report said, citing its source, adding that the NK variant could be launched from the Caspian Sea.
Earlier a NATO source said that the deployment of Russian ships off the coast of Norway is the largest since the “cold war”, according to a Reuters report.
“They are deploying all the [vessels] of the Northern Fleet and a large part of the Baltic Fleet. This is the largest deployment after the end of the “cold war”, – he said.
Final details of the strike are currently being ironed out, including zeroing in on the terrorists’ locations and identifying their transport routes, base camps, and storage and training facilities. The Russian military and Syrian military intelligence have deployed extensive surveillance equipment to montior the movement of militants in East Aleppo.
According to a map published by the Aviationist.com using a map editor on SkyVector.com, the Russian Navy will use airspace east of Cyprus off the cost of Syria.
Meanwhile, armed groups based in Damascus attacked a residential area and injured four civilians on Tuesday, according to the local police.
“A total of four missiles were fired. We have the information about four injured, who are currently getting medical treatment. All of them are civilians,” a local police spokesperson told RIA Novosti.
The missiles fell on an area in the al-Mazza 86 neighborhood which the militants have already attacked, but it remains unclear from where the jihadists fired the missiles, the spokesperson said.