Islamic State Claims to Capture Russian Base, Weapons in Palmyra

A new video from the Islamic State’s “news” agency Amaq purportedly shows an abandoned Russian forward base in the Syrian city of Palmyra, which was recaptured by ISIS last weekend. The video also shows Islamic State militants picking through captured Russian weapons at the base.

The UK Guardian quotes U.S. Army General Stephen Townsend saying it was plausible that Russian weapons could have fallen into ISIS hands when they retook Palmyra.

Although the video has not yet been authenticated, and the Russian military has not confirmed the capture of such a base, the Guardian notes the citadel of Palmyra is visible in one scene from the video. Russian special forces were known to be active in the city.

The Washington Post reported in May about the establishment of a Russian forward operating base after Russian special operations forces helped Syrian and Iranian troops take Palmyra from ISIS. Although Russian officials said this base would be used for “demining operations” around the city, footage of the base revealed surface-to-air missiles among its equipment. The very same citadel of Palmyra from the ISIS video was glimpsed in one of the photos published by the Post.

The Long War Journal notes that ISIS has published a detailed list of what one of the jihadis in the Amaq video happily describes as “war booty,” including “44 tanks, 7 BMPs, 7 130mm cannons, 14 23mm cannons, several anti-armor rocket launchers, dozens of anti-armor rockets, various automatic weapons, military vehicles, weapons and ammunition.” Clips from the video would appear to support this inventory of weapons.


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