Since the Russian air campaign began on 30 September, Russian jets effectively targeted many Islamic State (IS) targets including command and control centers and key figures within the organization. According to Sputnik News, the Russian Air Force has succeeded in destroying 819 IS and insurgent targets.
As a result of these strikes, terrorists in Syria have lost offensive capabilities, head of the Russian General Staff Main Operations Directorate (GRU) Andrey Kartapolov, said.
It has been confirmed by Russian sources that Egypt-born Abu Suleiman al-Masri, leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, has been killed by the Syrian Army in Aleppo. However, the Daily Mail said that he had been killed in a gun fight with rebels from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). One thing is certain, however; Abu Suleiman al-Masri is dead.
The al-Nusra Front, the Sunni Islamic jihadist militia fighting against Syrian Government forces in the civil war, confirmed Sheikh Abu Sulaiman al-Masri’s death this morning.
It has been stated that IS and the al-Nusra Front have been in talks in an effort to counter the current Syria Army offensive, by forming an alliance. Highlighting that the Russian air offensive and Syria ground offensive is having a profound effect on insurgent operational strategy.
This is significant as it comes only three weeks after the beginning of Russian airstrikes, which has appeared to have put the Islamic State on the back foot significantly for the first time in four years. The number of Americans leaving to join the Islamic State has been quickly declining, a sign of the successful Russian airstrike campaign.
In a twist worthy of a Tom Clancy novel, the Russian government also opened new fronts in the Aleppo area, involving a streamlined command and control structure, the Syrian Army, Hezbollah, reinforcements from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (QUDs Force), and some Shia militias from Iraq and Lebanon. Russia it seems continues to galvanize support in Syria by facilitating alliance and strengthening al Assad’s support base.
The elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps also claimed that two of their Guards were killed during the Aleppo offensive.
The situation remains very complicated in Syria. In fact, according to two completely different reports, we can say that the “Fog of War” in Syria is getting thicker due to the amount of distinct groups.
Moves which will no doubt cause concerns in Israel and the US, Assad’s continued support of Hezbollah and Iran increases its presence and role as a re-emerging regional power.