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Published in Press Stream:
October 20, 2015

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Published in Stream:
October 20, 2015
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Russian Air Strike Kills FSA Commander In Latakia Province
4 years
Stream: October 20, 2015
Publication: Putin in Syria
Russian Ambassador to Syria Denies Reports of 3 Russian Soldiers Killed in Combat; Reports Remain Unconfirmed

The Russian Air Force has killed Captain Basil Zimo, the commander of the Free Syrian Army's First Coastal Division, in the Latakia province in an air strike in the Jabal al-Akrad area, in the hills to the west of the Ghab plain.

The Syrian Local Coordination Committees (LCC) report that 57 people were killed yesterday in Latakia, most of them as a result of Russian air strikes on the village of Bisharfah. 

Reuters cites a Syrian Observatory for Human Rights report that claims 45 were killed in the strikes.

The First Coastal Division have been holding off a regime offensive and have even continued to make some gains in the highlands despite Russian air strikes. 

They have made extensive use of US-supplied TOW anti-tank missiles to attack regime tanks and gun emplacements.

Michael Horowitz, an analyst at the Levantine Group, suggests that the Russians may have intercepted rebel communications in order to target Zimo:

Certainly, the Russian military has impressive tools for signals intelligence and has used phone signal data to locate targets in the past, most infamously in the assassination of Dzhokhar Dudayev, the president of the breakaway Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, in 1996.

In the Homs province, Russian jets continued to hit the rebel pocket north of the regional capital, striking Talbiseh, Teir Maaleh and al-Ghanto.

The LCC reported 4 air strikes on Teir Maaleh, in coordination with a regime ground assault. 

One target struck in Teir Maaleh was a mosque, which was reportedly housing internally displaced people (IDPs): 

Meanwhile the combined Russian, Syrian regime and Iranian offensive towards Aleppo continues apace, with Russian jets striking several towns and villages, including Sarmin, in the Idlib province, where the LCC reports eight people were killed.


Remains of a school in Sarmin today. Photo from LCC.

Rebel fighters still appear to be inflicting heavy losses on the attacking forces, however.

Here Kataib Thuwar al-Sham fighters are using US-supplied TOW missiles near Wudehi, south of Aleppo city:

And here, near Khan Tuman, to the west of Wudehi, Turkmen fighters of the Sultan Murad Brigade, again armed with TOWs, destroy an enemy tank and 57 mm gun:
-- Pierre Vaux