Deck-based Su-33 fighter jets of Russia's Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier have destroyed at least 30 militants of Jabhat en-Nusra terrorist group (the organization is banned in Russia) in the Syrian province of Idlib, an official representative of the Russian Defense Ministry, Major-General Igor Konashenkov said Thursday, Interfax reports.
The Defense Ministry spokesman said the death of at least 30 terrorists was confirmed via several intelligence channels. Well-known field commanders Mohammad Helal, Abu Jaber Harmuzh and Abu'l-Baha Al Asfari were also killed in the attacks.
"Abul Al-Baha Asfari was in charge of the reserves of Jabhat en-Nusra gangs in the provinces of Aleppo and Hama. He was also responsible for the organization of the offensive on Aleppo," said Konashenkov.
On Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu said that the Admiral Grigorovich frigate launched cruise missiles, while Su-33 aircraft of the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier struck the positions of the terrorists in Syria. The minister stressed out that the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier was used in combat action for the first time in the history of the Russian Navy.
According to the Minister, Su-33 of the aircraft carrier started operations on November 15. "Before that, we had been conducting very careful and thorough intelligence work of all targets. Based on this activity, we have established the main targets - warehouses with ammunition and training camps of illegal armed groups - terrorists, to be more precise," said Shoygu.
The Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier setoff for a mission to Syria on 15 October. In early November, deck-based aircraft of the vessel started carrying out flights in the sky over Syria. Noteworthy, a MiG-29 fighter jet crashed after take off from the Admiral Kuznetsov on November 14. However, the incident did not change the plans of the Russian aircraft carrier group, officials assured.
The strike was defensive in nature and came in response to three attacks on the US military in February