MOSCOW (AFP) – Russia claimed on Friday to have killed several top commanders of the Islamic State group in an airstrike in Syria, including the so-called Emir of Deir Ezzor and the “Minister of War”.
“As a result of a precision airstrike of the Russian air forces in the vicinity of Deir Ezzor city, a command post, communication centre and some 40 ISIS fighters have been killed,” the Russian defence ministry said in a statement on Facebook.
“According to confirmed data, among the killed fighters are four influential field commanders including Deir Ezzor emir Abu Mohammed al-Shimali,” the ministry said.
Gulmurod Khalimov, a native of Tajikistan who is known as the IS group’s Minister of War, suffered a “fatal injury”, the ministry added.
Khalimov headed the Tajik interior ministry’s special forces unit before joining IS in 2015.
Backed by Russia, Syrian troops on Tuesday broke through a years-long siege imposed by IS militants on tens of thousands of civilians in Deir Ezzor.