The Russian Aerospace Forces have conducted 39 sorties and carried out 60 strikes over the past 24 hours, hitting 51 ISIL targets in the Syria's Hama, Latakia, Damascus, Aleppo provinces, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Sunday.
Russian Su-34 aircraft have hit and destoyed ISIL underground fortified positions on the outskirts of Talbiseh in the Homs province, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said. He added the facility housed a small warehouse manifacturing impovised unguided rockets.
"This facility had an extensive network of underground tunnels, which allowed the militants secretly visit different areas of the city and to conduct mobile defense against the Syrian government forces. One bunker was equipped with an arsenal of ammunition and improvised explosive devices designed to carry out terror attacks and sabotage."
"During the aerial reconnaissance in the vicinity of Eastern Ghouta in the province of Damascus a major ammunition supply point, which provided militants with ammunition, food and fuel, was uncovered."
"Tensions increase between various terrorist groups caused by the struggle for control over territories and cash flows. According to radio intercepts, only last week ISIL carried out three terror attacks using car bombs against Jabhat al-Nusra [Nusra Front] field commanders near the city of Idlib."
ISIL leaders ordered field commanders to intensify usage of car bombs and other self-made explosives at main supply routes and in inhabited areas of Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry's spokesman said.
A senior leader from Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, has been reportedly killed alongside two other members of the terrorist group in the province of Aleppo.
Sanafi Al-Nasr, who was allegedly killed in an airstrike near the town of Dana, was Al-Qaeda’s senior strategist and an important power broker, the Iranian Fars news agency reports, citing jihadist sources close to the killed militant leader.
Al-Nusra released several photos showing a car hit by an air strike along with several bodies of the dead militants, although their identities were not verified. However, jihadists claimed on social media that Al-Nasr had been killed.
Other photos published by the terrorist organization show the alleged graves of Al-Nasr and two other militants who were killed in an airstrike.
The death of Sanafi Al-Nasr, whose real name was Abdul Mohsen Abdallah Ibrahim Al-Charekh, was also confirmed by the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, who claimed the jihadist leader was killed on Thursday.
Al-Nasr, who was born in Saudi Arabia, was a member of Al-Qaeda’s so-called “Victory Committee” that was responsible for developing and implementing the group’s strategy and policies.
The jihadists did not specify if he was killed in a Russian airstrike or in an attack carried out by the US-led coalition. Some militants claimed on social media, it was a ‘Crusader coalition’ that delivered the strike.
Russian attack jets have hit 51 Islamic State targets in Syria in the past 24 hours, including four command posts, six arms depots, a mortar battery, two underground bunkers, 32 field camps and six outposts.
The strikes took place in the Latakia, Aleppo, Hama and Damascus provinces.
The damage the Russian SU-34 jets caused to the underground bunkers was especially significant, Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said.
They hit the terrorists' underground infrastructure in Homs, which had allowed the militants to move undetected and increase their effectiveness in combat.
The well-funded Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has been hiding whole weapons caches underground, which included explosive devices for carrying out terrorist attacks.
A small missile factory was among the objects destroyed. However, these underground bases and conduits are believed to be widespread across Syria, so more work needs to be done, Konashenkov says.
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A frontline supply junction for transporting fuel, arms and food supply lines was also hit in the Damascus province.
The entire command infrastructure of one of the terrorist groups operating in the Hama province was disrupted by the strikes, sending the militants fleeing from the area, the Defense Ministry added.
According to information from the Russian armed forces, desertions on a massive scale are occurring amongst IS ranks in the north and north-east of the country. In the Raqqa province, IS has started a mobilization of everyone aged 14 and over.
In Idlib and Hama, field commanders with Al-Nusra Front are resorting to separating families at gunpoint in order to get their hands on ever younger child soldiers.
Fighting between different jihadist groups over territory control and funds are also on the rise, the Defense Ministry report states. Intercepted radio communications suggest that IS has targeted Al-Nusra Front with three car bombings in the past week.
IS leaders are demanding that their field commanders employ more car bombs and other home-made explosives against advancing Syrian forces, the report says.
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