Syrian airstrikes reportedly 'kill 38 IS fighters'

Syrian airstrikes reportedly 'kill 38 IS fighters'
Air strikes by Syrian government war planes have killed dozens of IS fighters in central Syria, activists say amid an ongoing major Russian military build.
2 min read
22 September, 2015
Russia has reportedly sent state-of-the-art jets to bolster Syria's antiquated air force [Anadolu]

At least 38 fighters from the Islamic State group (IS, formerly ISIS) were killed in airstrikes by the Damascus regime against three jihadi-held towns in central Syria, activists said Tuesday.

Monday's strikes hit Palmyra and two other towns in Homs province, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

The Syrian air force has been increasing its strikes against IS in recent days as it received reinforcements from Russia, he said.

"The number of raids is growing and the strikes are more precise after the Syrian air force received arms and more efficient planes from Moscow," said Abdel Rahman, whose group relies on broad network of civilian, military and medical sources inside Syria.

Experts close to the regime have told AFP that Russia has sent advisers to train Syrian troops in the new weapons, in particular short-range air defense systems and tanks.

U.S. military officials told AFP Monday that Russia had deployed 28 combat planes in Syria, in the latest move in Moscow's increasing military presence in the war-torn country.

Washington in recent weeks has expressed growing concern over Russia's moves to support Syrian President Bashar Assad and warned that military backing for his regime risks further hampering efforts at bringing peace.

Moscow has been on a diplomatic push to get the coalition of Western and regional powers fighting IS in Syria to join forces with Assad against the jihadis.