- Thomson Reuters
MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Russian frigate Admiral Essen fired Kalibr cruise missiles at Islamic State targets near the Syrian city of Deir al-Zor on Tuesday to help a Syrian army offensive in the area, the Russian Defence Ministry said.
The strike, which was launched from the Mediterranean, destroyed command and communications posts, as well as ammunition depots, a facility to repair armored vehicles, and a large group of militants, the ministry said.
The strike had targeted Islamic State fighters from Russia and the former Soviet Union, it added.
Footage from the Russia Defense Ministry published by government-backed media outlet RT shows the Admiral Essen firing the missiles on Tuesday.
The city of Deir al-Zor, in eastern Syria, has been surrounded by ISIS militants for years, but an effort by the Syrian military and allied militias, supported by Syrian and Russian air forces, broke the siege on Tuesday, according to state media cited by the BBC.
UK-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that Syrian troops had met up with those defending the city, but the group said other areas of the city held by Syrian government forces were still encircled by ISIS militants.
The estimated 93,000 civilians trapped in the city since 2015 have relied on military relief flights and aid from the UN dropped by air.
The province surrounding Deir al-Zor is ISIS’ last stronghold in the country. In Raqqa, which neighbors Dier al-Zor province, the militant group’s self-declared capital city is currently under siege by a US-backed force of Kurdish and Arab fighters.
(Reporting for Reuters by Polina Devitt; writing by Dmitry Solovyov; editing by Andrew Osborn)