40 ISIS Rebels Killed in Syrian Air Strike

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BEIRUT: Air strikes on a convoy of the Islamic State group killed at least 40 IS militants in central Syria at the weekend, a monitoring group said on Sunday.

In another strike Syrian army killed a top militant commander during a clean-up operation in strategic northwestern province of Aleppo.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said unidentified warplanes hit the 16-vehicles motorcade overnight between Saturday and Sunday in Hama province, killing the militants.

The Observatory, which monitors the war in Syria and has a network of sources on the ground, was not immediately able to say whether the raids were carried out by Russian warplanes or Syrian ones.

“But they don’t belong to the coalition led by Washington,” said Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman. Charred bodies of IS fighters were found at the scene, he added.

Syrian aircraft bombard almost daily the eastern countryside of Hama where IS has positions.

Abdel Rahman said the convoy was hit as it was heading from the self-declared IS capital of Raqa in northern Syria to the Hama countryside.

Commander of the Nour al-Din al- Zinki outfit, Nasif Ismail, lost his life in the southern part of the province, located 355 kilometers  north of the capital, Damascus, on Monday as Syrian soldiers, backed by Russian air force, mounted a large-scale ground offensive to wrest control of the militant-held territory.

Russia, a key ally of the Syria, has been carrying out a campaign of air strikes against his opponents since September 30. Agencies

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