World / Middle East

Russian air raids destroy over 49 militant positions over 24 hrs across Syria

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-10-19 22:14

DAMASCUS - The Russian air force carried 33 air strikes over the past 24 hours, destroying over 49 positions of the armed militant groups in several Syrian areas, the Syrian army said in a statement on Monday.

The air raids destroyed dozens of bases and heavily-fortified positions of the jihadi groups in several Syrian areas, namely in the countryside of the capital Damascus, the northern province of Aleppo, the northwestern province of Idlib, the coastal city of Latkia and the central province of Hama, according to a military statement carried by the state news agency SANA.

The battle map in Syria has largely changed in favor of the Syrian army with Russian support in the air, forcing militant groups to switch to defense mode recently.

On Oct. 8, almost a week after the beginning of the Russian strikes, Syria's Army Chief of Staff Gen. Abdullah Ayoub said the military has unleashed a broad offensive against rebel-held areas across the country, which is buoyed by Russian air support.

"After the Russian air strikes, the Syrian army took the initiative and formed a force equipped with guns and munitions, most importantly the Intrusion Squad," he said.

The senior Syrian military officer said Russia's air strikes have weakened the rebel groups, while the army now can have a stronger position, adding that the army has formed a new force, including a battalion called the Intrusion Squad.

On Oct. 12, the Syrian Military General Command said the Syrian army had advanced in the countryside of the central province of Hama against armed militant groups.

Days later, the General Command said in a statement the army troops backed by the Syrian and Russian air force achieved victories on several fronts in the south, central and coastal regions.

The military operations included areas in the eastern countryside of Damascus, the southern province of Qunaitera, bordering the Israel-occupied Golan Heights, the southern province of Daraa, the northern countryside of the central province of Homs, the countryside of Hama, the northern province of Aleppo and the northern countryside of the coastal city of Latakia, where the Russians and Iranians are reportedly sharing the Bassel al-Assad Airport as a base to their operations.

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