Saturday, October 14, 2017

Syrian troops capture ISIS stronghold Al-Mayadeen amid major offensive – state media

RT | Oct 14, 2017

Syrian troops have entered Al-Mayadeen in Deir ez-Zor province, one of the last strongholds still remaining in the hands of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), a military source told SANA state news agency.

The government army and allied forces “regained control of the city… eliminated a large number of terrorists and destroyed their weapons and equipment,” the source said, adding that the militants suffered “a collapse in their ranks.”

Soldiers are driving the jihadists from the vicinity of the city while combat engineers are removing landmines and booby-traps planted across Al-Mayadeen, the source added.

The city of Al-Mayadeen lies south of Deir ez-Zor’s provincial capital. Over the past months, it has seen fierce fighting between Islamic State and Syrian forces trying to push the Islamists from the small swath of land they held.

Earlier in October, the Syrian Army reached the outskirts of Al-Mayadeen, effectively trapping IS terrorists in the city. To support their Syrian allies, a Russian naval task force launched cruise missile strikes on terrorist positions in Al-Mayadeen.

The Russian Defense Ministry said two submarines, the Veliky Novgorod and the Kolpino, fired ten Kalibr cruise missiles on IS sites in the vicinity of the city.

Dozens of Islamic State militants, warlords, and foreign fighters were also killed in a series of Russian airstrikes in other parts of Deir ez-Zor province, according to the ministry. Over the past few days, Russian jets have been targeting militant command posts, heavy weaponry, and ammunition depots.

On Friday, the Russian General Staff announced that Islamic State now controls less than eight percent of Syria due to major successes of the Syrian troops.

“Islamic State currently controls 14,800 square kilometers, which is less than 8 percent of the Syrian territory,” General Sergey Rudskoy, spokesman for the General Staff, told a press briefing.

In the meantime, the Russian military is engaged in a massive relief operation in Syria’s largest city. According to Rudskoy, Russia has delivered 74 tons of aid supplies to Aleppo and Damascus in recent months.

“One of the most acute problems in the areas liberated from Islamic State is the presence of a large number of explosive devices left by the militants as well as unexploded ordnance,” the General said, adding Russian bomb disposal experts have so far cleared 838 buildings and 87 kilometers of roads in Syria, neutralizing 24,000 mines and improvised explosive devices.

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