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Despite the elections in Syria, efforts to contain ISIS in the country’s central region are on-going.
The Russian Aerospace Forces carried out more than 70 airstrikes in the few days leading up to Election Day – May 26th.
The raids targeted the town of Ithriyah and its outskirts in eastern Hama, the town of Resafa and its outskirts in southern Raqqa, and the border region between Raqqa and Deir Ezzor.
Five ISIS terrorists were killed in the airstrikes.
Prior to the increased Russian activity, the militants launched several attacks on government troops and civilians in Aleppo and Raqqa.
The Syrian Arab Army and its Russian support have largely contained ISIS, but still the terrorists attempt to spread their influence in the Hama-Aleppo-Raqqa triangle. V_2(AL)
In order to reinforce its positions and improve its capabilities in Syria, Russia has recently completed the reconstruction of Hmeimim airbase. Now it is capable of receiving all types of Russian military aircraft.
Three Tu-22M3 bombers landed in Russia’s Hmeimim Air Base on the Syrian coast on May 25.
They have already been spotted performing training flights over the Mediterranean Sea.
Footage of the flights showed the bombers armed with Kh-22/32 long-range missiles. This weapon is likely too heavy to be used against ISIS militants in the central Syria, but time will show. Now, they are rather a threat for the “moderate opposition” in Greater Idlib.
Meanwhile, in neighboring Iraq, the fight against ISIS is being indirectly impeded by the Iraqi Armed Forces themselves, along with US help.
The Iraqi military said that Qasim Muslih, Anbar head of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) had been arrested in Baghdad.
He was reportedly involved in several attacks, including recent assaults on Ain al-Assad airbase which hosts American and other international forces.
Following the arrest the tensions have escalated in the city.
The PMU forces reportedly took control of one of the entrances to the Green Zone and were not allowing anyone in. They vowed that Muslih would quickly be released.
Unidentified gunmen drove vehicles around the fortified Green Zone, which hosts foreign embassies and government buildings, as a show of force.
On the streets of Baghdad, armored vehicles of the Iraqi army were brought into the city to prevent possible armed clashes between the PMU on one side and the police and the Counter-Terrorism Office on the other.
The US accuses the PMU of carrying out regular attacks on its convoys and military positions. The group is an official part of the Iraqi Armed Forces and plays an instrumental role in the fight against ISIS and probably the US.