Russia fires missiles on Syria as Aleppo battle begins
Russian forces launched cruise missiles and air raids on rebel areas on Syria on Tuesday from Moscow's northern fleet stationed in the eastern Mediterranean.
Kalibr missiles were fired from the Admiral Grigorovich admiral frigate, while war planes took off from the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov this morning to bomb rebel areas in Syria.
"Today at 10:30 and 11:00 we launched a large-scale operation against the positions of Islamic State and Al-Nusra in the provinces of Idlib and Homs," Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said.
"The main objectives of these strikes are ammunition warehouses and terrorist training centers, as well as plants for the production of various kinds of weapons of mass destruction."
Shoigu also noted that Russia's aircraft carrier was being used in combat "for the first time in its history".
There have been reports of huge numbers of civilian casualties across Syria as a result.
Syrian regime helicopters simultaniously dropped barrel-bombs on hospitals, schools and civilian areas, including besieged east Aleppo.
There have been a total of 270 air raids in the past two days, according to some estimates, with many more expected in the coming days.
A spokesperson for the Syrian Civil Defence (better known as the White Helmets) said in a video this morning that Russian air raids had destroyed al-Baghdad hospital, located in the village of Awejel to the west of Aleppo.
Reports are also coming in of large numbers of civilian deaths in the al-Haydaria, Sakhur and Masakan Hanano neighbourhoods of East Aleppo.