Russian airstrikes hit Daesh targets east of Palmyra

Published July 13th, 2016 - 06:30 GMT
Daesh turned many of the ancient ruins of Palmyra into rubble. (AFP/File)
Daesh turned many of the ancient ruins of Palmyra into rubble. (AFP/File)

Daesh has been dealt a major blow in Syria by Tupolev Tu-22M3 long-range strategic bombers launched from an airbase located in Russian’s southern regions.

According to Russia’s Defense Ministry, six bombers took off from Russia early on Tuesday morning and carried out airstrikes against a major Daesh base and several ammunition depots located to the east of Palmyra and in the towns of Sukhna and Arak and returned home after the attack.

“The strike resulted in the destruction of a large militant field camp, three depots of arms and munitions, three tanks, four infantry combat vehicles and eight vehicles fitted with heavy machine guns, also neutralizing a large number of enemy fighters,” read the statement.


It added that the targeted sites were "recently detected and confirmed through several intelligence channels."

On Friday, two Russian pilots were killed after Daesh downed a helicopter, close to Palmyra in the country’s central Homs province.

“On July 8, Russian military pilot-instructors Evgeny Dolgin and Ryafagat Khabibulin, were conducting a calibration flight on a Syrian Mi-25 (export version of the Mi-24) helicopter loaded with ammunition in the province of Homs,” read an official statement released by the ministry on Saturday.

According to Russia’s Interfax news agency, the militants used a US-made TOW antitank missile system in the attack.

Daesh captured the ruins of Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the adjacent modern city in May 2015, destroying ancient monuments there, including the 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel and the iconic Arch of Triumph.

The Syrian army, backed by volunteer forces and Russian air cover, wrested back control of Palmyra on March 27 following four weeks of military operations against Daesh.

Russia started its military campaign in Syria on September 30, 2015, based on a request from the Syrian government.

The airstrikes have greatly boosted the morale of the Syrian army as it has managed to retake key areas from militants across the country with Russia's support.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict. The UN has stopped its official casualty count in Syria, citing its inability to verify the figures it receives from various sources.

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