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800 militants killed in joint Syria-Russia operation in Aleppo

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)
File photo shows a Russian Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter jet landing at a base in northwestern Syria after an operation to assist government attacks against militants. (AFP photo)

The Russian military says it has assisted the Syrian army with an operation that has killed around 800 militants trying to break the siege of the northern city of Aleppo.

Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy, head of the main operational department of the Russian military's General Staff, said Monday that the Syrian army, backed by Russian air cover, managed to fend off a massive offensive by militants in Aleppo to rupture the government's blockade of the militant-held part of the city.

Rudskoy said the militants, which numbered around 5,000, also lost some 14 tanks, 10 other armored vehicles and over 60 gun trucks during the operation.

The Russian general described as effective Syria’s siege on the militants in Aleppo, saying that more than 300 civilians have managed to escape the grip of militants through corridors set up by the government. He said 82 militants have also surrendered to the Syrian army.

Rudskoy noted that Russian planes were supporting the Damascus government by delivering “selective” air strikes at militant positions near Aleppo.

The massive Russian-Syrian operation came hours after Moscow announced that one of its helicopters delivering humanitarian aid to the Syrian city of Aleppo was shot down in Idlib province. It said five people on board the copter were killed.

Since late September 2015, Russia has been assisting Syria, based on an official request from Damascus, in attacks the government is launching against the terrorists across the country. Syria says the air campaign has highly boosted the morale of the army in recapturing areas from the militants.

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