A little more than a week after launching the strike that reportedly killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, Russian navy ships and a submarine launched six cruise missiles at ISIS targets in Syria’s Hama province, destroying an ISIS command center and ammunition depot, according to Russia Today. The missiles were launched from the eastern Mediterranean by Russian Navy frigates the Admiral Essen and the Admiral Grigorovich, the Defense Ministry said.
The cruise missile strike follows a similar attack by Russian forces on May 31, when a nearly identical arrangement of Russian warships and a submarine also struck ISIS targets near Palmyra.
And, like three weeks ago, today the missiles were launched from Russian Navy frigates: the Admiral Essen and the Admiral Grigorovich, as well as a submarine, the Krasnodar, from the eastern Mediterranean, the Defense Ministry said in a Friday statement. The submarine fired its missiles while submerged.
The strikes targeted Islamic State command and control centers, as well as ammunition depots in the Syrian province of Hama, and hit a large ammunition depot near the town of Aqerbat, which detonated after being hit. Russia had warned Israel and Turkey in advance about the strikes via a military-to-military hotline.
But, apparently, not the US.
The strike was launched after a large Islamic State convoy, comprising 39 vehicles and 120 militants, was spotted outside the city of Raqqa.
“The terrorist convoy of 39 pickup trucks was detected and destroyed by the air force on its way to Palmyra,” a military source told RT. The trucks had been equipped with large-caliber machine guns.
Over the past week, Islamic State militants made numerous attempts to escape the besieged city of Raqqa and head towards Palmyra using a “southern corridor,” RT reported, citing sources in the Russian military. The terrorists were moving forces through rugged terrain to the Hama province during the night and setting up command posts and ammunition depots in large buildings there, it added.
The movements of IS militants in the area are being monitored by Russian surveillance, the military said, adding that any potential targets detected will be hit with precision strikes by the Air Force. As noted above, on the last day of May the same warships fired four cruise missiles that hit combat vehicles and militants outside the Syrian city of Palmyra. Back in August of last year, the Russian Black Sea Fleet also fired Kalibr cruise missiles over unpopulated areas to destroy a command post and munitions production site of another terrorist group operating in Syria, the Al-Nusra Front.