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Russian aerial, ground forces stage military exercise in Kurdish-held northern Syria: Monitoring group

This file picture shows Russian Air Force Sukhoi Su-25 fighter jets at Hmeimim airbase in Latakia, western Syria.

The Russian army’s aerial and ground units have reportedly staged a military exercise in Syria’s northern province of Aleppo, where militants affiliated with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are in control.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) monitoring group, citing local sources, reported that the Russian forces held drills in Abu Soura and Sareen regions on Tuesday.

The sources said a fighter jet as well as two attack helicopters took part in the maneuvers. 

They added that live munitions were used during the military exercise, as the Russian military aircraft carried out bombing operations against designated targets. 

The development came a day after Russian helicopters overflew Tell Abyad town in northern Syria, as they were on a reconnaissance mission in the area.

Syrian government forces conducted military maneuvers on the outskirts of Tall Tamr town in the western part of the country’s northeastern al-Hasakah province on Sunday. Russian jets flew at low altitude during the drills and launched anti-missile flares.

In another development on Tuesday, Russian jets mounted 15 airstrikes against hideouts of Takfiri Daesh terrorists in desert areas between Ithriya and Rahjan villages of Syria’s western-central province of Hama.

Russian jets have been targeting positions held by terror outfits inside Syria at the Damascus government’s request since September 2015. The airstrikes have helped Syrian forces advance against the militants, who have been wreaking havoc in the Arab country.

Russia and the West are deeply divided over the Syrian crisis since its outbreak in March 2011. While Russia has been supporting Damascus in its fight against militants, the Western states want to see Syrian President Bashar al-Assad removed from power.

The United States, along with its Western and regional allies, has been among the staunch supporters of the militant groups operating against the Syrian government 

Syrian army finds Israeli-made arms, medicine in ex-militant redoubt in Quneitra

Separately, Syrian government forces carried out a clean-up operation in the country’s southwestern province of Quneitra near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, discovering a substantial amount of Israeli-made munitions and medical supplies from a former stronghold of foreign-backed Takfiri terrorists.

An unnamed military source told Syria’s official news agency SANA that Syrian soldiers launched an operation in Bariqa village on Tuesday to clear the area of hidden explosive devices and ordnance left behind by the militants.

The source added that the weapons included PK general-purpose machine guns, rocket-propelled grenade, anti-personnel and anti-tank mines, as well as wireless telecommunication devices.

Besides assisting the terrorists operating on the ground against the Damascus government, Israel frequently targets military positions inside Syria, especially those of the resistance movement Hezbollah which has played a key role in helping the Syrian army in its fight against the foreign-backed terrorists.

The Tel Aviv regime mostly keeps quiet about its attacks on Syrian territories which many view as knee-jerk reaction to Syrian government’s increasing success in confronting terrorism.

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