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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Tuesday, August 14, 2018

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ISIS men and machines in Syrian city of Palmyra destroyed by four Russian cruise missiles

In first such attack since 2016

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news PALMYRA, Syria - In a first of its kind strike since November, Russia fired cruise missiles at Islamic State targets in the Syrian city of Palmyra. The Russian Defence Ministry said on Wednesday that four cruise missiles were fired by the frigate "Admiral Essen" and the submarine "Krasnodar" from the Mediterranean at Islamic State targets near Palmyra. The strike is said to have targeted militants and equipment in an area east of Palmyra. The defence ministry added that the hardware and forces struck had previously been deployed by Islamic State in Raqqa. In a statement, the ministry confirmed, “All targets were destroyed.” The ministry added that Russia had warned the United States, Turkey and Israel before launching the missiles. Moscow said that the U.S., Turkish and Israeli military "were informed in a timely manner of the missile launches through existing communication channels." While it did not mention when the strike took place, the Russian news agencies quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying that Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu had personally told President Vladimir Putin about the military action late on Tuesday. Russia, which has been conducting a bombing campaign since 2015 in support of President Bashar al-Assad, also has a naval contingent deployed to the eastern Mediterranean to bolster its firepower. In March 2016, Government forces recaptured Palmyra and its UNESCO World Heritage-listed ruins with Russian help, but were driven out by ISIS eight months later. While they eventually regained the city in March this year, fighting continues nearby. The RIA news agency said that it was in November last year that Russia had fired the Kalibr cruise missiles from its ships at militant targets in Syria. According to images released by Turkish bloggers on their online Bosphorus Naval News project, a Russian Syria-bound ship was seen to be passing through the Bosphorus carrying a consignment of military trucks. Earlier this month Russia and Iran, another Assad ally, agreed along with Turkey, which backs the opposition, to establish "de-escalation" zones in western Syria in an attempt to shore up a cessation of hostilities between the government and rebels. The Defense Ministry meanwhile pointed out in its statement, "The successful mission has proved the high level of the Russian navy’s combat readiness, particularly of the crews of the warships and the submarine involved in the cruise missile attack. Russia’s navy has shown its ability to carry out effective attacks using precision weapons shortly after receiving orders.”

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