5 warlords responsible for attack on Russian military police in September killed in Syria
Five prominent Al-Nusra Front field commanders, who led an attack on Russian military police officers in Hama province earlier in September, have been killed in an airstrike in Idlib province in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
The airstrike targeted the commanders of Tahrir al-Sham, a group that was formed after the collapse of Al-Nusra Front terrorist organization, near the city of Idlib, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said. Also, 32 militants were killed in the strike.
The attack on the Russian military police took place in Hama province, 80km from Idlib, on September 18, Konashenkov said.
“Special measures to find and destroy all the militants involved in the attack on Russian troops in Syria continue,” he said.
Among the commanders killed in Idlib are a “finance emir,” a chief of Idlib’s southern sector, an adviser to the ‘war minister,’ a Sharia judge, and an aide of a spiritual leader.
The airstrike also destroyed a nearby “ammunition and explosives depot and six SUVs with large-caliber weapons,” Konashenkov added.
The incident in Hama was earlier reported by the Russian General Staff, which said that militants from an Al-Nusra Front affiliate tried to capture a unit of the Russian military police, which have a mandate to monitor the ceasefire in the Idlib de-escalation zone.
The Russian command in Syria then ordered an operation to repel the militants’ assault, including airstrikes and a ground offensive conducted by the military police and special operations forces. The Russian unit was successfully rescued. Three troops from the special operations forces were injured, but there were no fatalities, General Sergey Rudskoy, spokesman for the Russian General Staff, said at that time.
The offensive was stopped and the militants suffered losses, he added. The estimated losses include around 850 fighters, 11 tanks, three infantry fighting vehicles, 46 armed pickup trucks, five mortars, 20 freighter trucks, and 38 ammo supply points.