The Russian military has released this video showing its Tupolev Tu-22M long-range strike bombers dropping ordnance on targets in Syria.
The video was uploaded to YouTube on Monday with the description, "Combat sorties of Tu-22M3 long-range bombers from Russian territory on terrorists' objects in Syria."
The aircraft, designated Backfire by NATO, and their crews launched 18 combat sorties during a three-day period through Sunday on targets near Deir ez-Zor, where Islamic State militants have been battling forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to information released by the Russian defense ministry.
"Having lost the initiative in Western Syria, leadership of the 'Islamic State' made decision to concentrate main efforts on capturing Deir ez-Zor, which has been under terrorists' siege for long," the ministry said in a release.
While newer models are equipped to carry precision weapons, the bomber is traditionally designed to carry large amounts of conventional ordnance, or dumb-bombs, which may add to civilian casualties in the nearly five-year-old Syrian conflict -- a civil war that began with protests against Assad, whose regime Russia is now defending despite protests from the U.S.
Still, the countries are communicating to avoid friendly-fire in the skies above Syria. In Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, a panel of Russian experts are scheduled to meet at the Wilson Center to discuss Russia's role in resolving the Syrian crisis and outlines potential opportunities for collaboration with the U.S.