Monday, June 1, 2020

The Latest: Russia says it destroyed weapons depot in Idlib

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The Latest on developments in and related to Syria (all times local):

7:20 p.m.

The Russian military says its warplanes have destroyed a weapons depot in Idlib in northwestern Syria.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said Wednesday’s airstrike targeted a depot belonging to the al-Qaida branch in Idlib. It said the attack was coordinated with Turkey.

The ministry said the raid was launched after Russia had received a tip about the delivery of a big shipment of drones to the depot, which were to be used for an attack on the Russian base.

Russia and Turkey brokered a cease-fire in September for Idlib, the last major stronghold of Syria’s rebels. The agreement averted a Syrian government offensive, but it has come under strain as al-Qaida-linked militants have seized territory from rival insurgents. The two countries have pledged to coordinate their operations in Idlib.

___


11:35 a.m.

U.S.-backed Syrian forces say Islamic State militants are putting up a desperate fight against their advances and have staged a counterattack from the tiny speck of land the extremists still hold in eastern Syria.

A commander with the U.S-backed Syrian Democratic Forces says the IS counterattack began overnight, from the west of a riverside pocket in the Syrian village of Baghouz where the Islamic State group has been making its last stand.

The commander says clashes were underway on Wednesday and that the Kurdish-led forces are repelling the IS counterattack. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

A spokesman for the U.S.-backed forces, Adnan Afrin, says IS militants are putting up a “fierce resistance,” firing mortar shells and rocket-propelled grenades.

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