The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has stated that on 23 January 2017, six Tu-22M3 strategic bombers of the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out a raid against ISIS targets on the periphery of the city of Deir Ezzor.
The aforementioned supersonic jet bombers left from an unmentioned airbase(s) in Russia and flew over Iranian and Iraqi airspace to reach their payload release points in eastern Syria. They were escorted during the last leg of their journey by Russian Su-30SM and Su-35S multi-role fighters flying out of the Hmeymim airbase in Syria.
Following the release of their payloads, the Russian bombers returned to their base(s) in Russia, whilst the escorting Russian fighters returned to the Hmeymim airbase.
According the the Russian MoD the bombers hit “Daesh’s command posts, arms and ammunition depots near [the] Deir Ez-Zor populated area”. All of the pre-selected targets were destroyed according to the Russian MoD’s press release statement.
This is now the second time Russian strategic aviation has hit ISIS as the latter conducts their most recent (and so far most successful) offensive – which commenced on January 16 – to capture the Deir Ezzor bastion from pro-government forces. Typically the bombers have not hit front-line targets, instead they have struck key command, communication and supply infrastructures and assets located in Daesh’s operational and strategic depth.