In response to the August 18 death of senior military adviser Major General Vyacheslav Gladkikh and the Syrian military governor of the city of Al-Mayadeen, in the Deir ez-Zor Governorate, the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces maintained an anti-terrorist operation in the country's eastern part from August 18 to 24 along with Syrian special forces units.
According to data released by the Russian General Staff, joint military operations resulted in the annihilation of 327 militants, 17 observation and command posts, 7 warehouses with supplies and 5 underground storage facilities with weapons and ammunition in the eastern regions of Deir ez-Zor, Hama and Homs governorates.
The hostilities began with aggressive strikes by Russian and Syrian air force combat aircraft right following a report of a terrorist attack against a Russian-Syrian convoy returning from the city of Deir ez-Zor after a humanitarian mission. The next day, Syrian and Russian special forces units began to "clean up" the ground with fierce support of field and rocket artillery of the Syrian armed forces.
The eastern regions of central Syria adjacent to the border with Iraq were considered "unfortunate" over the presence of diehard units of the Islamic State (ISIL, an international Muslim terrorist group banned in Russia), as well as other radical religious organizations related to it. The number of armed militants in the region has swelled, especially after the spread of the COVID-19 virus infection and the release of terrorists from pre-trial detention facilities who were controlled by US-loyal Kurdish formations of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Recently, the latter have intensified subversive and terrorist activities, especially against Syrian non-governmental groups that protect oil and gas fields, as well as along the routes of military convoys and mess transport. For a long time did the Syrian government forces command have no sufficient forces and means to neutralize terrorist formations in the region, fueled by personnel, weapons and military equipment from the American Al-Tanf base. As for the pro-Iranian militia groups, which also became targets for terrorist armed attacks, their recurrent and ill-prepared raids fell flat.
The Syrian command proved able to allocate sufficient forces to suppress the hotbed of terrorism only after creating a powerful offensive force grouping at the border with Idlib.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, August 25 saw a Russian armored personnel carrier of a joint patrol group with the Turks fired from a rocket-propelled grenade launcher on the M-4 highway in the Idlib Governorate. Two servicemen got mild concussions and were quickly evacuated by helicopter. In response, the Turkish armed forces artillery carried out a heavy fire raid against the Islamic terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra (banned in Russia). Terrorist losses are not reported, but Russian experts say this was the first time the Turkish side provided such an abrupt and heavy response to its allies' sabotage.
Combat aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces also carried out a series of rocket and bomb attacks against terrorist positions in Idlib and northern Latakia.
Summing up, it should be noted that one of the gangs being part of ISIL claimed responsible for the Russian military commander's death. According to our country's experts, the terrorist action was meticulously planned, stood out for the target object's clear choice and was prepared by high-end professionals. Islamic militants were unlikely able to independently calculate the time and place of triggering the land mine.
Recently, there has been a significant increase in the number of armed attacks against US military personnel guarding Syrian oil wells, and mobile patrol groups. Following such incidents, the Yankees suffer losses that are not always revealed. They are also known to have eminently enhanced their assistance and support to radical groups that have stepped up subversive actions against government forces in the eastern Hama Governorate, as well as in border areas of Deir ez-Zor and Homs. It is therefore possible that the Americans, keeping in close touch with Muslim extremists, could "help" them conduct an "act of intimidation" against the Russian and Syrian military on the highway between the cities of Deir ez-Zor and al- Mayadeen.