Russian airstrikes kill top IS commanders

Sep 09, 2017, 13:52 IST | Agencies

Russia claimed yesterday to have killed several top commanders of the Islamic State group in an airstrike in Syria, including the "Minister of War" and the so-called Emir of Deir Ezzor


Syria government forces advance in Al-Shula on the southwestern outskirts of Deir Ezzor on September 7. Pic/AFP

Russia claimed yesterday to have killed several top commanders of the Islamic State group in an airstrike in Syria, including the "Minister of War" and the so-called Emir of Deir Ezzor.

"As a result of a precision airstrike of the Russian air forces in the vicinity of Deir Ezzor city, a command post, communication centre and some 40 ISIS fighters have been killed," the Russian defence ministry said in a statement posted on Facebook.

"According to confirmed data, among the killed fighters are four influential field commanders including Deir Ezzor emir Abu Mohammed al-Shimali," the ministry said. Gulmurod Khalimov, who is known as the IS group's Minister of War and the highest-ranking defector from ex-Soviet Tajikistan, suffered a "fatal injury," it added.

Reports of Khalimov's death have surfaced before.

Russia's SU warplanes dropped "bunker buster" bombs on the fighters as they were meeting near Deir Ezzor to discuss how to respond to the advance of the Syrian army, Moscow said. Backed by Russia, Syrian troops on Tuesday broke through a years-long siege imposed by IS militants on tens of thousands of civilians in Deir Ezzor.

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