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MOSCOW, September 20./TASS/. Three members of the Russian Special Operations Forces suffered wounds while breaking the militant encirclement near the Syrian city of Idlib, Head of the Main Operations Department at Russia’s General Staff Colonel General Sergei Rudskoi said on Wednesday.
"Aircraft were delivering strikes on terrorists, the unit breaking the encirclement was supported by two Sukhoi Su-25 aircraft that attacked militants and their armored vehicles from extremely low altitudes. As a result, the encirclement was broken and the Russian troops entered the area occupied by the Syrian government forces. During the operation, three Special Operations Forces members suffered wounds," he said.
According to Rudskoi, all the military servicemen who took part in the operation have been recommended for receiving state awards. "The steps that the Russian military command took together with the Syrian General Staff helped repel terrorists’ offensive and inflict significant damage on them," the Russian general said.
"In the current extreme conditions, Commandeer of the Russian forces in Syria Colonel General Sergei Surovikin has formed a de-blocking group," he said. "It brings together units of the special operations force and military police, equipped by troops, natives of the Northern Caucasus, and Syrian special forces."
"During the past 24 hours, 187 facilities were hit by airstrikes and artillery fire, and about 850 terrorists were destroyed, as well as 11 tanks, four infantry fighting vehicles, 46 pickup trucks, five mortars, 20 lorries and 38 ammunition depots," he said.
"Taking advantage of the fire damage, units of the 5th Assault Corps of the Syrian Armed Forces together with units of government troops and backed by Russian aircraft launched a counterattack and at the present time they have practically fully regained the lost positions. The operation to destroy terrorists will be continued," the top military said.
Gunmen of Jabhat al-Nusra (outlawed in Russia) have launched a large-scale offensive against Syrian troops in Idlib de-escalation zone, Rudskoi, said.
"Despite agreements signed in Astana on September 15, gunmen of Jabhat al-Nusra and joining them units that don’t want to comply with the cessation of hostilities terms, launched a large-scale offensive against positions of government troops north and northeast of Hama in Idlib de-escalation zone from 8 am on September 19," the general said.
"According to available data, the offensive was initiated by American intelligence services to stop a successful advance of government troops east of Deir ez-Zor," he added.
A platoon of Russian military police (29 men) was sealed off in the de-escalation zone Idlib and was beating back Jabhat al-Nusra attacks for several hours, he went on. He said Jabhat al-Nusra militants had mounted a large-scale offensive against Syrian troops in the de-escalation zone Idlib.
"One of the militants’ main aims was to try to seize a Russian military police unit, deployed at an observation post in the capacity of a monitoring contingent," he said.
"As a result of the militants’ attack a platoon of military police (29 men) was sealed off and for several hours was beating back attacks by an outnumbering enemy force shoulder to shoulder with a unit of the Muali tribe, which had signed the ceasefire agreement and remained committed to it in this no easy situation," Rudskoi said.