Russian Airstrikes in Syria: October 23 - November 1, 2015

The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) discontinued the release of daily airstrike reports from October 28 – November 1 amidst multilateral talks on the Syrian Civil War held in Vienna on October 30 and continued reports of civilian casualties. Nevertheless, credible local sources continued to report airstrikes in Dera’a, Damascus, Homs, Hama, Idlib, and Aleppo from October 31 – November 1. Russian airstrikes predominantly targeted rebel-held areas in Aleppo Province in conjunction with regime ground offensives against ISIS in the southeastern countryside of Aleppo and rebel forces southwest of Aleppo City. Local activist reporting claimed that Russian airstrikes and regime forces killed 64, including 28 children in Aleppo on October 31 alone.

ISIS maintains its ability to threaten both regime and rebel-held terrain, largely undeterred by Russian airstrikes. ISIS continues to contest the regime-held town of Safira in the southeastern countryside of Aleppo, threatening the regime’s primary ground line of communication to Aleppo City. Additionally, ISIS reportedly seized the town of Maheen in the southern countryside of Homs Province. This expansion threatens regime control of the strategic M5 Highway connecting Damascus to Homs City. Regime forces subsequently launched an intense shelling campaign on Maheen in response. ISIS’s seizure of the town may spark a response from Russian warplanes in the coming days.

The following graphic depicts ISW’s assessment of Russian airstrike locations based on reports from local Syrian activist networks, Syrian state-run media, and statements by Russian and Western officials.

High-Confidence reporting. ISW places high confidence in reports corroborated both by official government statements reported through credible channels and documentation from rebel factions or activist networks on the ground in Syria deemed to be credible.

Low-Confidence reporting. ISW places low confidence in secondary sources that have not been confirmed or sources deemed likely to contain disinformation.