Over 95 Russian airstrikes landed on ISIS hideouts in the Syrian desert over a 24-hour period Monday after an attack on Syrian forces Sunday, according to a human rights organization.
ISIS claimed responsibility for attacking a convoy of Syrian troops where four were killed and 10 were wounded Sunday, the Syrian Observatory For Human Rights (SOHR) reported. Syrian forces started to secure the route with the support of Russia.
“Russian fighter jets destroyed the secret compounds and several vehicles that were reportedly involved in the attack,” according to the SOHR. Several buildings were shown just before airstrikes made contact, a video posted to the Russian Spring shows.
The airstrikes took place within the Aleppo-Raqqa-Hama triangle of the Syrian desert and near the border between Homs and Deir Ezzor, according to the SOHR. Palestinian al-Quds paramilitaries backed by Iran reportedly joined the Syrian troops in searching for the ISIS cells, Asharq Al-Awsat reported.
ISIS was nearly eradicated after losing its last physical territory in March 2019, the SOHR reported. Hundreds of ISIS supporters reportedly fled to the surrounding desert areas to continue planning attacks.
An estimated 3,000 jihadis remain in Syria, many of whom have exploited the COVID-19 pandemic to spread propaganda and recruit members, The Sun reported. Around 1,199 Syrian soldiers, 145 Iran-backed militants and two Russians are expected to have been killed in ISIS attacks since the Caliphate fell in 2019.