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Moscow says 600 militants have fled Syria amid Russian airstrikes

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A video grab made on September 30, 2015, shows an image taken from footage made available on the Russian Defense Ministry's official website to show an airstrike on Daesh positions in Syria. (AFP)

Russia says its airstrikes on positions of the Daesh Takfiri terrorists in Syria have forced about 600 militants to leave and head to Europe.

Colonel General Andrei Kartapolov, a senior Russian General Staff official, made the remarks in a statement released on Saturday to sum up the outcome of Moscow’s three days of airstrikes in Syria.

"Our intelligence shows that militants are leaving areas under their control. Panic and desertion have started in their ranks," he said, adding, “Some 600 mercenaries have abandoned their positions and are trying to find their way into Europe.”

Announcing Russia’s plan to increase the intensity of the airstrikes, the official stressed that Moscow has succeeded in undermining the material and technical resources of the militants and decreasing their combat potential significantly.

Russian jets are said to have made more than 60 sorties over 50 Daesh targets.

The airstrikes have destroyed Daesh command posts, warehouses storing ammunition and explosives, communication hubs, training camps as well as mini-factories that made weapons for bombers, the Russian commander said.

Russia's Defense Ministry, meanwhile, said Saturday morning that over the past 24 hours, Su-34 fighter jets bombed a command post in Raqqa Province, which is under Daesh control.

File photo of a Russian Su-34 fighter jet (AFP) 

"A powerful explosion in the bunker means that it was also used by terrorists to store a large amount of ammunition," the Russian Defense Ministry said.

It added that Russian warplanes also razed to the ground an ammunition warehouse near the city of Jisr al-Shughur, while hitting a Daesh training camp close to the town of Maaret al-Numan, both in Idlib Province, northwestern Syria.


Moscow began its military campaign against terrorists on September 30 upon a request from the Damascus government.

On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said one of the key objectives of Moscow’s anti-terror airstrikes in Syria is to preserve the Arab country’s territorial integrity.

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