Homs/Deir Ez-Zor, Syria – Russian and Syrian special forces conducted a joint anti-terrorist spec op against resurgent ISIS cells in the desert regions of eastern Syria. The special operation took place in the provinces of Homs and Deir Ez-Zor, in the time period from August 18 to August 24, in response to new ISIS terrorist attacks, a representative of the Russian military in Syria stated, according to RIA Novosti.
“Airstrikes of the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Syrian Arab Air Force, artillery fire and actions of special surveillance and reconnaissance groups in the ‘white desert’ liquidated 327 militants, destroyed 134 shelters, 17 observation posts, seven warehouses with equipment and five underground storage facilities for weapons and ammunition,” RIA Novisti quotes the statement.
The anti-terrorist op came in response to a series of ISIS terrorist attacks on Syrian regular and pro-SAA forces, as well as the Russian military advisers in the desert areas in eastern Syrian provinces of Homs and Deir Ez-Zor. In one of these terrorist attacks by ISIS, near the At-Taim oil field, approximately 15 km outside the city of Deir Ez-Zor, Russian Major-General Vyacheslav Gladkih was killed, while two Russian servicemen were wounded.
The blast also killed Muhammad Tiisir Az-Zahir, the commander of the loyalist Syrian National Defense Forces of the city of Mayadin. The terrorist attack took place on August 18, while the mixed Russo-Syrian convoy was returning from a humanitarian mission.
When numbers provided by the Russian Ministry of Defense are taken into account, the August 18-24 anti-terrorist operation likely delivered a deadly blow to ISIS cells hiding in the eastern Syrian desert regions. Still, it is fairly unlikely that the ISIS threat was fully removed. As long as areas not controlled by the official Damascus remain there (like the US-occupied area of al-Tanf), ISIS will always have where to hide and restore its forces.