The volley was launched from Russian warships in the Caspian Sea to strike targets in Syria. The use of 26 sea-based cruise missiles marked one of the first known uses in combat of Russian missiles with this range.
The Russian minister of defense, Sergei K. Shoigu, told President Vladimir V. Putin in a televised meeting that the missiles had struck 11 targets in Syria.
The targets were about 930 miles, or about 1,500 kilometers, from the Russian flotilla of four warships that launched the missiles, Mr. Shoigu said. No civilians were harmed in the strike, he said.
~Mr. Putin praised the work of the military in the missile strike and in the air operations in Syria that already showed a flexing of Russia’s military muscle in the Middle East.
“That we fired from the territory of the Caspian Sea, at a range greater than 1,500 kilometers, and hit targets precisely, this shows high qualifications,” Mr. Putin said, referring to naval crew members.
In Moscow, Russian authorities would not confirm that a ground offensive had begun. But a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry, Maria V. Zakharova, said on Wednesday that Russia had never made a secret of its policy of aiding the Syrian military.
“I can say coordination is taking place with the Syrian Army, that is unequivocal,” Ms. Zakharova said. “And we call on everybody else to do the same. Without a collective effort, all these activities in the air are useless.”
Russian officials have said since the beginning of their air war that they were targeting Islamic State militants, even when bombs have fallen on territories held by other insurgent groups that oppose President Bashar Al-Assad, including in areas where witnesses reported seeing heavy bombardments on Wednesday. The strikes have hit the Army of Conquest, an Islamist faction that includes the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, as well as more-secular groups that often fight alongside, including some that had received American aid. Russia has so far refused to make a distinction between the Army of Conquest and the Islamic State, labeling both groups as terrorists.
It was not immediately clear which groups in Syria the Russian medium-range missiles had struck.
Russian diplomats, Ms. Zakharova said, have asked the United States to identify armed groups other than units of the Syrian Army that are fighting the Islamic State and that should be avoided in airstrikes, but she said they had received no answer.
“If there are some forces that also have weapons in their hands and are on the ground fighting, as the coalition says, with the Islamic State, and they should not be touched, then wonderful,” Ms. Zakharova said. “Give the list, give the call signs of these people. Tell us where are they located, explain why we shouldn’t be touched. Indeed, this information is not provided.”