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MOSCOW, January 11. /TASS/. Terrorist field commanders Bashar Mohamed al-Qatur and Mohamed Ismael have been killed in combat in Syria, Lieutenant General Sergey Rudskoy, chief of the main operations department of the Russian General Staff, told journalists on Monday.
"According to available information, field commanders Bashar Mohamed al-Qatur and Mohamed Ismael were killed in combat," Rudskoy said.
He added that Syrian government forces have advanced by 12-15 kilometers in the south-eastern direction, freed several settlements and reached the Nahr el-Assi River.
"In the Homs province, the Syrian army freed the town of Mhin and launched an offensive in the eastern direction reaching the town of Al-Karyatein," the general said.
Syrian government forces are fighting with terrorists in East Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus freeing one neighborhood after another, he continued. "Most considerable advances were made in the directions of Blalia, Nashabia and Haush Harabu," Rudskoy noted.
He also said that Syrian government forces entered the town of Sheikh Miskeen in the Daraa province.
According to Rudskoy, the Russian air task force is supporting the offensive of 11 Syrian opposition detachments fighting against terrorists.
"The Russian aviation is providing support to the patriotic forces struggling against international terrorists on the territory of Syria. Today our planes are delivering strikes in the interests of 11 detachments of the democratic opposition numbering over 7,000 people," the general was quoted by Rossiya-24 TV Channel as saying.
Over the past few days, the Russian air task force has delivered 19 strikes in the interests of units of the Jaysh Ahrar al-Ashaer (Army of Free Tribes) grouping that is part of the southern front of the Free Syrian Army, the Russian general said.
Rudskoy also noted that the Syrian opposition forces have seized several settlements during an offensive on the "capital" of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group - Raqqa.
"With support of the Russian aviation the Syrian democratic army detachments under the command of Aiman Flyat al-Ganim continue an offensive on the IS capital Raqqa and in recent days have seized the settlements of Al-Salhiya, Rjeman-Alaya, El-Kria and Hadriyat-Ain-Isa," Rudskoy said.
According to the official, the Lions of the East and Kalamun formations of the Syrian opposition have advanced more than 50 km (31 miles) in their offensive on Palmyra, seizing the town of Mhasse.
"In the southern direction, the Lions of the East and Kalamun formations have advanced by more than 50 km with the support of Russian aviation in their offensive on Palmyra and seized the populated areas of Zaza, Kessara and the town of Mhasse," the general was quoted as saying on the Russian Defense Ministry’s website.
Rudskoy had reported the opposition’s advance on Raqqa in late December last year. He said then that the Syrian opposition detachments seized about 20 settlements and established control over a strategic dam on the Euphrates River in Al Ahmar.
The Russian General Staff reported previously that in addition to the government troops, more than 150 opposition formations were fighting in Syria. Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimocv said that the Russian Air Force was delivering daily 30-40 airstrikes in support of the opposition.