Three members of the Russian Special Operations Forces were wounded while they were breaking the militant encirclement in the Idlib de-escalation zone in Syria, Head of the Main Operations Department at Russia’s General Staff Colonel General Sergei Rudskoi said on Wednesday.
“Aircraft were delivering strikes on terrorists, the unit breaking the encirclement was supported by two Sukhoi Su-25 aircraft that attacked militants and their armored vehicles from extremely low altitudes. As a result, the encirclement was broken and the Russian troops entered the area occupied by the Syrian government forces. During the operation, three Special Operations Forces members suffered wounds,” Rudskoi said, according to the Russian state-run media outlet TASS.
The general added that “Commandeer of the Russian forces in Syria Colonel General Sergei Surovikin has formed a de-blocking group.” The group “brings together units of the special operations force and military police, equipped by troops, natives of the Northern Caucasus, and Syrian special forces.”
According to Rudskoi, 850 terrorists were killed and 11 battle tanks, 4 IFVs, 46 pickups and five mortars as well as other targets were destroyed during the clashes.
“During the past 24 hours, 187 facilities were hit by airstrikes and artillery fire, and about 850 terrorists were destroyed, as well as 11 tanks, four infantry fighting vehicles, 46 pickup trucks, five mortars, 20 lorries and 38 ammunition depots,” Rudskoi added.
The Russian General Staff recalled that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) launched a major attack against government forces in northern Hama on September 19.
“Despite agreements signed in Astana on September 15, gunmen of Jabhat al-Nusra and joining them units that don’t want to comply with the cessation of hostilities terms, launched a large-scale offensive against positions of government troops north and northeast of Hama in Idlib de-escalation zone from 8 am on September 19,” Rudskoi said. “According to available data, the offensive was initiated by American intelligence services to stop a successful advance of government troops east of Deir ez-Zor [Deir Ezzor].”
As a result of the offensive a platoon of Russian military police (29 men) was blocked in the Idlib de-escalation zone and was repelling attacks for several hours.
“One of the militants’ main aims was to try to seize a Russian military police unit, deployed at an observation post in the capacity of a monitoring contingent,” Rudskoi added.
However, the militants failed to achieve their goal.