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Russia Fires Cruise Missiles at ISIS Targets Near Palmyra | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A still image taken from footage released by Russia’s Defense Ministry on October 7, 2015, shows a Russian warship firing a rocket in the Caspian Sea. REUTERS/Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation/Handout via Reuters

A Russian warship and submarine have fired four cruise missiles from the Mediterranean Sea at ISIS positions around the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, the Defense Ministry in Moscow said on Wednesday.

The strike, which Russian news agencies said was the first of its kind since November, was carried out by the frigate “Admiral Essen” and the submarine “Krasnodar,” and targeted militants and equipment in an area east of Palmyra.

There was no information on when the missiles were launched.

The defense ministry said the hardware and forces struck had previously been deployed by ISIS in Raqqa. “All targets were destroyed,” it said in a statement.

Russia had warned the United States, Turkish and Israeli militaries before launching the missiles, the ministry said.

Russian news agencies quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying that Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had personally told President Vladimir Putin about the military action late on Tuesday.

Syrian troops backed by Russian airstrikes captured Palmyra in March last year and Moscow even flew in one of its best classical musicians to play a triumphant concert at Palmyra’s ancient theater. Jihadists, however, recaptured Palmyra eight months later before Syrian regime troops drove them out again in March this year.

Fighting around Palmyra continues.

Russia, a staunch Damascus ally, has been providing air cover to Bashar Assad’s offensive on the terrorist organization and rebels since 2015.

The last time Russia fired Kalibr cruise missiles from its ships at militant targets in Syria was in November last year, the RIA news agency said.

Separately, photographs published on Wednesday by Turkish bloggers for their online Bosphorus Naval News project showed a Russian Syria-bound ship passing through the Bosphorus carrying a consignment of military trucks.