ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Over 200 Islamic State (IS) fighters were killed after the Russian air force targeted the militant group’s position in Syria, the Russian defense ministry stated on Monday.
The air raid destroyed 20 vehicles armed with “large-caliber weapons,” and several armored vehicles, including tanks, according to the statement.
“The Russian Air Force destroyed another large column of [IS] fighters heading toward the city of Deir al-Zor,” the statement reported.
“The defeat of [IS] in the Deir al-Zor region will be a strategic defeat for the international terrorist group in the Syrian Arab Republic,” the defense ministry added.
While a Kurdish-led offensive against IS is ongoing in Raqqa, the jihadists' last major stronghold and de facto capital in Syria, the ministry said the extremists were “trying to regroup” in Deir al-Zor.
“[IS] is trying to make their last stand in Deir al-Zor after suffering heavy losses in the Raqqa and Homs Provinces,” the statement noted.
According to the former Russian Minister of Defense, Sergey Shoygu, the defeat of IS in Deir al-Zor would effectively end the militant group’s reign in Syria.
“There have been military actions for more than one year,” he said. “People bravely fight there.”
“This is perhaps the main point at the Euphrates, which will in many ways indicate the end of the fight against [IS],” Shoygu added.
Hundreds of extremists have surrendered to US troops in Manbij and other IS-held territories in the past week as the group continues to lose its grip in Syria.
Editing by G.H. Renaud