MOSCOW, August 23. /TASS/. Russian planes have destroyed 26 pieces of military equipment of the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia) and two of its strongholds overnight and during the day of Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry has said.
"Russia’s aerospace force during last night and the day of Monday went ahead with successful attacks against facilities of the Islamic State to destroy four tanks, 16 cross-country vehicles armed with heavy machineguns, six trucks carrying ammunition and two fortified strongholds, including artillery positions," the Defense Ministry said.
After a successful operation by Syrian troops held with Russian air support in the area of Ghanem Ali IS militants have been trying to regroup themselves and set up strongholds in the area of Deir ez-Zor.
"Well aware that Deir ez-Zor is their last stronghold in Syria, the militants have been moving there the heavy equipment at their disposal, including tanks and trucks armed with heavy machineguns and mortars," the Defense Ministry said.
Effective operations by Russia’s Aerospace Force have enabled Syrian troops under General Hassan Suheil to push ahead with the offensive along the eastern bank of the Euphrates towards Deiz ez-Zor with the aim of ending its blockade, the Defense Ministry said.
On Sunday, the Defense Ministry said the Syrian army with the backing of Russia’s combat aircraft defeated the Islamic State’s strongest group in the Euphrates valley near Ghanem Ali. A total of 800 terrorists, 13 tanks, 39 pickup trucks carrying heavy machine-guns, and nine mortars and artillery pieces were wiped out.
Earlier, Russia’s General Staff said the Russian military group in Syria and government troops focused on defeating IS terrorists in the area of Deiz ez-Zor. The chief of the main operations department of Russia’s General Staff, Sergey Rudskoy, said an end to the blockade of that city would complete the defeat of the "most battle-worthy groups of the Islamic State in Syria."
As Rudskoy said, terrorists were concentrating the remaining forces near Deir ez-Zor. Militants from Mosul and most of the combat-worthy detachments from Raqqa have drifted there.
According to Russia’s Defense Ministry, militants are trying to regroup their forces near Deir ez-Zor in Syria, realizing that this is their last stronghold.
"Realizing that the bridgehead around Deir ez-Zor is the last stronghold of international terrorists on the Syrian territory, the militants are bringing in heavy armor, including tanks and cross country vehicles with large-caliber armament and mortars," the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.