4 IS leaders thought killed
MOSCOW: Russia’s Ministry of Defense said yesterday it killed four Islamic State (IS) leaders in an airstrike outside the eastern Syria city of Deir al-Zor.
Russia has been providing air cover for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s offensive on ISmilitants since 2015.
The defence ministry said its airstrike killed 40 militants, including four prominent warlords who gathered for a meeting of IS commanders in an underground bunker outside Deir al-Zor.
Heavy clashes are taking place between Syrian government forces and the IS around Deir al-Zor as militants fight back to reinstate a years-long siege of the city.
President Assad’s troops on Tuesday broke the nearly three-year militant blockade of parts of the city.
The Russian military named Abu Muhammad al-Shimali and Gulmurod Khalimov as two of the four IS leaders killed in the airstrike.
The other two were not named in the statement
Shimali reportedly headed the movement of foreign fighters into Syria for training and deployment.
The Russian defence ministry said the airstrike was ordered after Moscow received intelligence earlier this week about a meeting of senior IS commanders in the area.