Sunday, December 11, 2016

Russia forces ISIS out of Palmyra

A Russian aerial onslaught killed scores of Islamic State group fighters in Syria's Palmyra on Sunday and forced others to withdraw hours after they had re-entered the ancient city, Moscow said.

Russia's defense ministry said its warplanes carried out more than 60 strikes overnight on Palmyra, killing more than 300 ISIS jihadists and halting their offensive on the famed desert city in central Syria.

"Intense Russian raids since last night forced ISIS out of Palmyra, hours after the jihadists retook control of the city," said Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"The army brought reinforcements into Palmyra last night, and the raids are continuing on jihadist positions around the city," Abdel Rahman told AFP.

In a statement issued in Moscow, the defense ministry said Russian warplanes conducted 64 air strikes against "positions, convoys and advancing reserves of militants" in Palmyra.

"Over the past night, Syrian government troops with active support of the Russian air force thwarted all terrorist attacks on Palmyra," it said in a statement.

"The attacking militants actively used car bombs with suicide bombers, armored vehicles and rocket artillery," it said, adding that the strikes killed more than 300 militants and destroyed 11 tanks and 31 vehicles. READ MORE