Russia conducted a second round of airstrikes in Syria on October 1, targeting rebel-held positions in the provinces of Homs, Idlib, and Aleppo. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has repeatedly claimed that the airstrikes are targeting ISIS positions in these rebel-held areas. These airstrikes are the first Russian strikes confirmed by the Russian MoD that have targeted positions in ISIS-held terrain.
An alleged Russian airstrike hit the rebel-held town of Talbisah north of Homs City. Talbisah is home to Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, hardline Islamist Ahrar al-Sham, and a number of other local rebel groups, all of which are active in local governance efforts in the area. If confirmed, the airstrike would signal Russian intent to assist in the Syrian regime's war effort at large, rather than securing the regime's coastal heartland of Latakia and Tartous.