Tabnak – In another blow to the ISIS terrorists in Syria, Russian defense ministry on Friday announced the death of a number of high-ranking terrorist commanders in one of latest airstrikes. The airstrike was parts of an ongoing operation to liberate Dayr al-Zawr.
According to the Russian and local media, a Russian airstrike has killed around 40 ISIS terrorists, including four senior commanders, near Syria’s eastern city of Dayr al-Zawr.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said Friday that the fatalities were caused by a single strike in the vicinity of Dayr al-Zawr, and that the commanders included Abu Muhammad al-Shimali, who headed the flow of foreign fighters into Syria and processed the terror group’s new recruits.
Gulmurod Khalimov, a native of Tajikistan known as the terrorist group’s minister of war, was also fatally wounded in the raid, the ministry added.
Reports of Khalimov’s death have surfaced before, and the Tajik interior ministry said it could not immediately confirm the claim. "We are working with our Russian colleagues to obtain reliable information,” a spokesman told AFP.
But a spokesman for the Tajik security services, speaking to AFP, suggested that "this time around” he might have been killed. "We’re checking the information,” he said. In 2016, the United States offered a $3 million bounty for information leading to Khalimov’s location or arrest.
Meanwhile, in another development regarding Dayr al-Zawr operation, dozens of trucks carrying humanitarian aid have arrived in the city only two days after Syrian army forces, backed by allied fighters from popular defense groups, reached the eastern city and breached a nearly three-year siege imposed by the ISIS terrorists on pro-government areas there.
At the same time, there are reports that Syrian army soldiers have regained control over a large expanse of land near the Brigade 137 base, and recaptured al-Raqqa bridge on the western side of Dayr al-Zawr.
The developments came a day after Syrian government troops, backed by allied fighters from the popular defense groups, wrested control of the town of Kobajeb, situated about 50 kilometers southwest of Dayr al-Zawr, from ISIS terrorists.
ISIS overran large parts of Dayr al-Zawr province, including its many oil fields, in mid-2014 as it seized swathes of land in Syria and neighboring Iraq. By early 2015, the terrorists were in control of some parts of Dayr al-Zawr city and besieged the remaining parts, which were under government control.
It is estimated that 100,000 people remain in the government-held parts of the city. The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates that more than 10,000 people may be living in the ISIS-held parts of Dayr al-Zawr.