What has happened?
- Russia said late Monday that it had killed “up to 200 terrorists” in Syria during airstrikes on a base northeast of Palmyra,
- Where fighters were allegedly planning attacks ahead of presidential polls next month.
- “After confirming data through multiple channels on the location of terrorist facilities,
- Russian Aerospace Forces aircraft carried out airstrikes,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
About the strike
- “Two hideouts were destroyed, up to 200 militants, 24 pickup trucks with large-caliber machine guns, as well as about 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) of ammunition and components for creating improvised explosive “
- The statement neither specified the date of the strikes nor the group that was targeted.
- It said that the target was a “camouflaged base” where “terrorist groups” organized attacks in Syria and manufactured explosives.
- They were specifically planning “terrorist attacks and attacks on government agencies in large cities in order to destabilize the situation in the country ahead of the presidential elections in Syria.”
- The vote, set to be held on May 26, is the second since the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011 with the repression of anti-Assad regime protests that has left more than 388,000 dead.
- It is expected to keep Bashar Assad in power in the war-torn country.
- The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported the airstrikes and said 26 IS militants were killed.
- The Observatory said the raid might have been in response to the Islamic State group’s claims that it had killed two Russian soldiers in the desert.
- Recently, Russian rights groups also highlighted Moscow’s role in Syria abusesin sharp criticism of its military activities.
Russia in Syria
- Russia has waged a military campaign in Syria since 2015, helping President Bashar Assad’s government retake control over most of the country after a devastating 10-year conflict.
- Russia has been a key ally of Assad’s regime throughout the war and Moscow’s military intervention in 2015 helped turn the tide of the fighting.
- On Monday, the Russian defense ministry said that “terrorists” were being trained in several camps in areas not controlled by the Syrian regime, “including in the area of
- Al-Tanf, which is controlled by the U.S. military.“
- Moscow in February condemned U.S. strikes on Iran-backed militias in eastern Syria, demanding that Washington respect the country’s territorial integrity.
US in Syria
- Washington had given weapons and military training to moderate rebel factionsfighting against government forces loyal to President Bashar Assad,
- But the US ended military aid in 2017and later cut some $230 million (€198 million) in reconstruction aid.
- The US has provided air support and weapons to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab forcesfighting against “Islamic State” (IS) militants in northern Syria.
- The US has been leading an international coalition of nearly 60 countries, including Germany, targeting IS and other extremist groups.
US Vs Russia
- While Moscow has said it is targeting IS and other terrorist groups,
- US officials have repeatedly countered that claim by saying Russian airstrikes are primarily directed against non-IS rebel forces fighting the Assad government.
- The Kremlin, meanwhile, has accused the US of using its campaign against IS as a way to slow Russian and Syrian government military advances.
Q) Syria become independent in the year 1945. It was under whose control before that?