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SOCHI- The Russian Armed Forces have launched a large-scale operation to deliver strikes against terrorists in the Syrian provinces of Idlib and Homs, including with the involvement of the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said, according to Itar Tass.

The defense minister made this statement at a meeting with representatives of the Defense Ministry and the defense industry held by President Vladimir Putin.

“Today, at 10:30 and at 11:00, we started a large-scale operation to deliver massive fire on the positions of the [Islamic State] and Jabhat al-Nusra in the provinces of Idlib and Homs,” Shoigu said.

 According to the Russian defense minister, the operation involves the frigate Admiral Grigorovich that has made launches of Kalibr cruise missiles, Bastion coastal defense systems and “for the first time in the Navy’s history, the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov has started to take part in combat operations.”

The Russian forces are delivering massive strikes against terrorists’ factories in Syria, the defense minister said.

“The strikes are targeting depots with ammunition and training centers, and also plants for the production of various mass destruction weapons,” he said.

Russian Sukhoi Su-33 combat planes have started their operation from the board of the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, Shoigu said.

“Before that, we conducted very thorough and substantial reconnaissance of all the targets. Proceeding from this, the basic targets were determined,” the defense minister said.

The defense minister named depots with ammunition, terrorists’ amassments and training centers, and also factories for the production of various mass destruction weapons among such targets.

“You know that we have sent a large group of our radiation, chemical and bacteriological protection troops there for determining chemical agents, which terrorists are using. Over the past week, they have used them twice: in one case, 27 people were hospitalized and three were killed and, in the other case, 30 people were taken to hospital. I mean fighters of the Syrian army,” the Russian defense minister said.

The results of today’s operation, which is being monitored by surveillance aircraft and drones, will be immediately reported “so that measures can be taken for subsequent steps in the struggle against terrorism in Syria,” the defense minister said.

Defense ministry dismisses reports of Russian planes’ alleged bombing of Aleppo hospital

Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov on Tuesday called a “common lie” the reports on the Russian combat planes’ alleged bombing of a hospital in Syria’s Aleppo.

“The reports by the Qatari TV Channel Al Jazeera, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and other similar media on the alleged bombing by the planes of the Russian Aerospace Force ‘of a third hospital’ in Aleppo over the past 24 hours are a common lie,” the spokesman said.

During a massive strike delivered on Tuesday by cruise missiles against terrorists’ objectives of the [Islamic State] and Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria, “there was not a single target located in Aleppo,” the general said.

“The aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Force and the Syrian Air Force have not been delivering any strikes on Aleppo for already 28 days,” the Defense Ministry spokesman said

RELATED: Moscow Says US Rhetoric on Syria Situation Based on ‘Flagrant Lies’

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