Syrian Forces Enter ISIS Stronghold in Deir Ezzor
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
On Friday, according to Syrian Al-Khabar television, government and allied forces entered Al-Mayadeen, ISIS' stronghold in the country after Washington redeployed most of its fighters from Raqqa.
Al-Mayadeen News reported the same thing, a major government achievement. Reportedly, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, apparently still alive, not killed as earlier believed, left the city ahead of advancing Syrian forces.
Unconfirmed reports indicate civilians no longer are there. The city is 35 km southeast of Deir Ezzor. Ahead of entering Al-Maydeen, government and allied forces captured strategic hills around the city, facilitating further advances.
Russian air and naval power continue playing a key role, its submarines launching cruise missile against ISIS positions.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov said air and naval strikes killed scores of ISIS terrorists, destroying command posts, weapons and munitions.
"In the strikes on Abu Kamal, the military destroyed a base and about 40 terrorists coming from Tajikistan and Iraq, as well as seven off-road vehicles with high-caliber weapons," he explained.
"Near the Al-Maydeen compound, they destroyed a command post of terrorists and up to 80 militants, including nine militants coming from the North Caucasus."
"They destroyed 18 off-road vehicles with high-caliber weapons and three arms depots. South of Deir Ezzor, in the Euphrates Valley…they destroyed a team of foreign mercenaries of more than 60 people, who came from the CIS, Tunisia, and Egypt. They also destroyed twelve off-road vehicles with installed high-caliber weapons."
Russian intelligence located sites to target. On Wednesday, al-Nusra commander-in-chief Abu Mohammad al-Julani was critically wounded by a Russian airstrike.
Its Defense Ministry said he "sustained shrapnel wounds and is in a critical condition after losing his arm, according to information from multiple independent sources," reportedly lapsing into a coma.
Other al-Nusra commanders were killed, weapons and munitions destroyed.
Russian Foreign Ministry Department for New Challenges deputy director Vladimir Andreev said al-Nusra is the main challenge in Syria given ISIS' impending defeat.
"Unfortunately, a number of states, Western states, still pursue other goals in the present conditions to secure superiority, dominance, some kind of control," he explained.
"Some of the terror organizations, Jabhat al-Nusra, whatever it is called now, looks like it is being saved, perhaps, to ensure the return of al-Qaeda in the shape of Nusra to the forefront, after Daesh, which has gone too far, will be finally eliminated and this brand dies out."
Al-Nusra has thousands of fighters - supported by Washington and its rogue allies. It's a force to be reckoned with and defeated like ISIS. Russia is combating it effectively.
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