Alwaght- Nearly 40 ISIS terrorists, including the so-called emir of Syria's Deir ez-Zor have been killed after Russian warplanes struck and wiped out an underground command center and communication unit near the city.
A statement by Russian Defense Ministry said Russia’s Su-34 and Su-35 fighter jets scrambled from Khmeimim Air Base in Syria’s Latakia province hit a high-profile gathering of ISIS field commanders on September 5. It noted that the Russian Air Force was acting upon the intelligence it received from several sources indicating that a meeting of senior ISIS terrorists was about to take place in one of the underground command centers on the outskirts of Deir ez-Zor.
The militants were set to discuss ways to fend off the offensive by the Syrian forces, which were making rapid gains toward the city, which had been besieged by ISIS for three years.
“The effective actions of the Russian Air Force speeded up the lifting of a siege from the city of Deir ez-Zor and allowed the Syrian troops to begin liberating the city,” the ministry said in a statement on Friday.
Among the senior terrorists killed is internationally wanted Abu-Muhammad al-Shimali (also known as Tirad Al-Jarba), the self-proclaimed “emir of Deir ez-Zor,” the Russian Defense Ministry said, adding that the militant’s death has been confirmed.
Al-Shimali, an Iraqi-born Saudi citizen and a former al-Qaeda member, pledged his allegiance to ISIS in 2015 and later became notorious for being the one in charge of smuggling foreign fighters into its territory.
Another top ISISI commander, Gulmurod Khalimov, ISIS “war minister” from Tajikistan, was either killed or heavily injured in the Russian sortie, conflicting reports indicate. It was reported that Khalimov managed to escape to an area some 20 kilometers to the southeast of Deir ez-Zor, the ministry said.