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Russia: Airstrikes on Militants in Syria Kill Dozens, Injure Leader

  • Associated Press

This photo provided Sept. 26, 2017, by the Russian Defense Ministry press service shows militant positions being hit in the Idlib province of Syria as a result of airstrikes conducted by Russians.

Russia’s military says its jets have been targeting positions of an al-Qaida-linked group in Syria for two straight days, killing seven militant commanders and dozens of fighters.

Russia also said the leader of the group, who reportedly had been injured in a Russian airstrike, has fallen into a coma.

Russian jets have been bombing the positions of the Levant Liberation Committee in the Idlib province for two straight days, killing seven militant commanders and dozens of fighters Wednesday and destroying a major ammunition depot at a militant-controlled air base, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement Thursday.

The Russian military also quoted its intelligence saying the group's leader Abu Mohammed al-Golani is in coma. The al-Qaida-linked group on Wednesday denied that its leader had been injured, saying that al-Golani is in excellent health and is carrying on with his tasks normally.

Moscow blamed the al-Qaida-linked Levant Liberation Committee for attacking Russian military police last month.

The Defense Ministry said Thursday that seven of the group’s commanders and 49 militants were killed in the airstrikes in the Idlib province on Wednesday. The strikes also destroyed a major ammunition depot at a militant-controlled air base.

Russia has been waging an air campaign in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces since 2015, helping them to make major advances against the Islamic State group, al-Qaida-linked insurgents and mainstream rebels.

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