Asharq al-Awsat, an influential Arab newspaper, reported that Russian special operation units were directly involved in eliminating militants in the Syrian province of Latakia.
A representative of the command of the Russian Reconciliation Center of Opposition Sides in Syria confirmed the report at a press conference at the Hmeimim airbase commanded by Maj. Gen. Yevgeny Prigozin.
Combat actions began in the small hours on June 23 after a devastating strike by strategic and frontline bombers of the Russian Aerospace Forces together with the Syrian Air Forces. Headquarters, communication centers, large stronghold, arms and ammunition warehouses, firing positions and stations of militants in the north of the Latakia province came under fire.
Armor of the Republican Guard of the Syrian Armed Forces is taking part in the offensive. The guard is also providing fire support for the offensive from various kinds of artillery. Combat helicopters of the Russian and Syrian army aviation are almost constantly delivering missile and bomb strikes on the enemy's positions.
As of today, the attacking troops managed to advance in some areas and gain control over some important communities and dominating heights.
It should be noted that the Syrian governmental troops have unsuccessfully been trying to drive the enemy out of this district for a month. Large units of up to 10,000-15,000 militants of the Syrian Liberation Front (Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra, a terrorist organization banned in Russia) and large units of the Free Syrian Army comprising people who deserted from the regular Syrian army are deployed in the north and northwest of the province.
The main difficultly is that the Turkish military and political leadership directly participated in selecting these troops seeking to use them against Kurdish units eastwards the Euphrates. Naturally, militants who are to be completely eliminated in this district got good materiel supplies from the Turkish command that profited from the vicinity of this area to the Turkish state border.
This area is of strategic important for Syria and the security of Russian military facilities there, as attacks on the Hmeimim airbase and other Russia's strongholds in the Latakia province were launched from there. Moreover, the elimination of a hotbed of militants in the north of Latakia will not only weaken the unified resistance but will also cut short Turkish military supplies to militants in northern Syria.
Ideologically, the victory over large militant forces will seriously influence the moral and psychological condition of both militants and the Syrian army that has stuck in continuous combat actions at the administrative border of the Idlib and Hama provinces.
Noteworthy, the offensive in north of the Latakia province was launched ahead of a meeting of the Russian, US and Israeli national security advisors who are expected to discuss for two days the state of affairs and prospects of the development of military-political situation in Syria and the region in general.