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ISIS blows up Syrian military helicopter with ATGM in Deir Ezzor

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Today the ISIS-linked Amaq news agency released footage of an Islamic State anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) team hitting, at extreme range, a Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) Mi-8 (or Mi-17) transport helicopter landing near the al-Assad Hospital in the western sector of the city of Deir Ezzor.

Although besieged pro-government forces in Deir Ezzor remain in control of key zones which protect the western and southern approaches to the government-held sections of the city – namely the 137th Brigade Base and Deir Ezzor Military Airport – from ISIS attacks, the overall strategic situation for pro-government forces remains exceptionally uncomfortable.

The indisputable territorial advantage held by ISIS over the Deir Ezzor battlespace (i.e. the terrorist group’s total surrounding of pro-government forces) means that pro-government forces remain very vulnerable to such attacks as shown in the video below.

In mid-January of this year, ISIS launched a massive offensive against pro-government forces in Deir Ezzor, managing to split the besieged pocket into two, isolating the military airport from the government-held sections of the city and the 137th Brigade Base to a distance of several kilometres.

Further erosion of the Deir Ezzor bastion took place again in June when ISIS captured key points south of the 137th Brigade Base, including the Panorama Driving School and the SyriaTel hill; the capture of the latter area in particular gave ISIS fire control over the 137th Brigade Base helicopter landing pads, compelling pro-government forces to build a new landing zone out of the jihadist militant group’s line-of-sight. Pro-government forces are yet to reverse any of the major gains made by ISIS since the beginning of 2017.

The video can be found here.

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War zone

Russian Airstrikes Destroy Nusra Front Attacking Military Police in Idlib

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The Russian Defense Ministry has released a video of Russian airstrikes that helped to check the US-initiated offensive by al-Nusra terrorists in Syria’s Idlib de-escalation zone and break the militants’ siege of a Russian military police unit encircled in the area.

The footage shows armed vehicles being ripped apart by missiles raining down on them by Russian strike fighters and helicopter gunships just as the Syrian Army launched a massive counterattack forcing the jihadists into a retreat.

The al-Nusra Front terrorists used artillery, tanks and infantry fighting vehicles during their offensive to the north and northeast of the city of Hama in the Idlib de-escalation zone penetrating Syrian army defenses to a depth of some 12 kilometers (8 miles).

A statement by the Russian General Staff said that the militants’ attack was “initiated by US secret services to stop the successful advance of government troops to the east of Deir ez-Zor.”
The Americans deny the charges.

A 29-person strong Russian military police unit was encircled and repelled the terrorists’ attacks for several hours fighting alongside members of an allied local tribe until Russian Spetsnaz and Syrian Special Ops units, backed by the Su-25 strike fighters, came to the rescue breaking the enemy siege.

The terrorist offensive has largely been stopped, leaving 850 militants dead and 11 tanks, four armored vehicles and other military hardware completely destroyed.

The Syrian Army, supported by Russian warplanes, launched a counterattack and has almost completely reclaimed its positions in the Idlib de-escalation zone.

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War zone

Israel shot down Iranian-made drone flying near Syrian border

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The Israeli Defense Forces shot a Patriot surface-to-air missile at a Hezbollah-operated drone Tuesday that had crossed the “Bravo line” demarcating the demilitarized zone between Israel and Syria, an IDF spokesman told the Jerusalem Post.

Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis told the outlet the unmanned aerial vehicle took off from Damascus and began approaching Israel on an intelligence-gathering mission. The Raytheon missile successfully intercepted the drone after which it crashed in the Syrian town of Quneitra, according to the IDF official.

Iranian drones have proven to be a thorn in the side of the US Navy. F/A-18 Super Hornets attempting a landing on the deck of the USS Nimitz in early August, forcing the US jet to take evasive action.

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