The Russian Ministry of Defense announced that it had killed “up to 200 militants” in a series of air strikes on a “terrorist” base in the northeast of the Syrian city of Palmyra.
According to the ministry, they destroyed two bunkers and more than twenty pickup trucks supported by heavy-caliber machine guns, as well as quantities of ammunition and equipment for the manufacture of explosive devices.
It said that the militants had set up a base in northeastern Palmyra, which was used to launch attacks in several areas and train militants.
The ministry statement did not specify the date of the strikes, nor the group that the militants would follow.
He said the target was a “camouflaged base” where “terrorist groups” had planned attacks in Syria and manufactured explosives.
The Russian Defense Ministry added that they were planning “terrorist attacks and attacks on government agencies in major cities in order to destabilize the situation ahead of the presidential elections in Syria.”
Elections are scheduled for May 26, the second since the outbreak of the Syrian conflict in 2011. President Bashar al-Assad is expected to remain in power.
Russia supported the Assad regime throughout the years of the war, and Moscow’s military intervention in 2015 helped change the course of the battles in favor of government forces.
The Russian Ministry of Defense said in its statement on Monday that “terrorists” are training in several camps in areas not controlled by the Syrian government, “including the Al-Tanf area, which is under the control of the US military.”
In February, Moscow condemned US strikes on Iranian-backed militias in eastern Syria, and demanded that Washington respect the country’s territorial integrity.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at the time that Russia wanted to know Washington’s plans in Syria, and indicated that the United States had no plans to leave the country at all.