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RUSSIA CLAIMS IT KILLED TWO MORE DAESH COMMANDERS IN SYRIA; 180 IN AIRSTRIKES

MOSCOW, June 18 (NNN-AGENCIES) -- The Russian defence ministry said it had killed two Daesh field commanders, named as Abu Omar al-Beljiki and Abu Yassin al-Masri, in air strikes near the eastern Syrian city of Deir al-Zor, Interfax news agency reported.

The statement came a day after Russia said it may have killed Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an air strike last month. Washington said it could not corroborate Baghdadi's death and Western and Iraqi officials were sceptical.

The Russian defence ministry said on Saturday it killed around 180 militants and the two commanders al-Beljiki and al-Masri in air strikes close to Deir al-Zor on June 6 and June 8.

The ministry said that 16 military vehicles were destroyed along with weapons stores.

It said the strikes took place after Russian forces using drones spotted preparations by IS fighters to break through the defences of a garrison held by Syrian government forces in the city of Deir Ezzor.

Daesh fighters are close to defeat in the twin capitals of the group's territory, Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria, after nearly three years ruling over millions of people in a wide area in both countries.

A U.S.-led coalition is assisting Iraqi forces in the Mosul battle and supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which includes Arab and Kurdish militias, in Raqqa.

Having been forced into retreat across much of Syria, Daesh's biggest remaining foothold in Syria is in the eastern province of Deir al-Zor. -- NNN-AGENCIES

Source: NAM News Network