A Russian warship on Tuesday fired cruise missiles from the Mediterranean at the Islamic State group near the Syrian city of Deir Ezzor where regime forces are battling the jihadists, Moscow said.
The Russian defence ministry said the strike, which was carried out by the frigate “Admiral Essen,” hit IS targets near the town of Al-Shula, which were controlled by fighters from Russia and other post-Soviet nations.
As a result of the strike, a “large” group of fighters was destroyed, along with a communications centre, warehouses and ammunition, the ministry said in a statement.
“The launch of the Kalibr cruise missiles has ensured the continued success of the advance by Syrian government troops and helped thwart plans of IS militants to regroup and reinforce the positions of terrorists in the vicinity of the city of Deir Ezzor,” the ministry said.
Syria’s army faces fierce resistance as it is battling to break a jihadist siege on the government enclave of Deir Ezzor.
The jihadist group has already lost more than half of its nearby bastion of Raqa to attacking US-backed forces, and the loss of Deir Ezzor city and the surrounding oil-rich province would leave it with only a handful of isolated outposts.
Government forces and civilians have been under siege in Deir Ezzor city since early 2015, and the regime-held parts are divided into a northern and southern enclave.