Rus­sia fires cruise mis­siles at IS strong­hold in east Syria

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - OPINION -

ABOARD THE AD­MI­RAL ESSEN » Rus­sia’s mil­i­tary fired seven cruise mis­siles Thurs­day at Is­lamic State tar­gets in the east­ern Syr­ian prov­ince of Deir el-Zour as pro-gov­ern­ment forces closed in on the mil­i­tants holed up in the pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal of the same name.

Jour­nal­ists, on a trip or­ga­nized by the Rus­sian De­fense Min­istry, watched from Rus­sia’s Ad­mi­ral Essen frigate in the Mediter­ranean Sea.

The Syr­ian gov­ern­ment forces, backed by Rus­sian air cover, last week broke a three-year siege around the city on the Euphrates river.

Min­istry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said later that in­tel­li­gence showed the mis­siles hit the tar­gets south­east of Deir el-Zour, de­stroy­ing a com­mand cen­ter, a com­mu­ni­ca­tions hub, an am­mu­ni­tion de­pot and an un­spec­i­fied num­ber of IS fighters.

Rus­sia has pro­vided mil­i­tary back­ing for Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad’s forces since 2015.

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