Russian forces have killed about 120 ISIL fighters and more than “60 foreign mercenaries” in a series of attacks in Syria’s east over the past 24 hours, the defence ministry said.
About 80 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters died in a raid on a command post in the al-Mayadeen area of Deir Az Zor province, the ministry said, adding that 40 fighters were killed near the border town of Al Bukamal, also in Deir Az Zor.
The ministry also said that “large numbers of foreign mercenaries” coming into Al Bukamal from neighbouring Iraq were killed in a Russian air raid.
Many of them came from the former Soviet Union, Tunisia, and Egypt, according to the ministry.
Al-Mayadeen is one of ISIL’s last bastions in Syria.
The advances against ISIL (also known as ISIS) in Deir Az Zor have cost a heavy civilian death toll from Russian and coalition air raids.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Russian aerial bombardment on Thursday night killed 14 people, including three children, fleeing across the Euphrates on rafts near al-Mayadeen.
Russia has not acknowledged any civilian deaths from its attacks since it intervened in Syria in 2015, and dismisses the Observatory’s reporting as biased.
Moscow has been carrying out air raids in support of its ally Damascus targeting both ISIL in Deir Az Zor province and rival groups led by al-Qaeda‘s former Syria affiliate in Idlib province in the northwest.