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Russia says latest strikes weaken rebels

AFP , Sunday 18 Oct 2015
Russian Air Strikes on Syrian Rebels
Firefighters put out flames at a base controlled by Ahrar Al Sham rebels. Activists say the blaze was the result of Russian airstrikes. (Photo: Reuters)
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Russia said Sunday its latest Syria strikes hit infrastructure used by rebel fighters and claimed it has information of growing strife between rebel groups opposing President Bashar al-Assad.

The defence ministry said its pilots flew 39 sorties and carried out 60 strikes in Hama, Latakia, Aleppo and Damascus provinces, slightly up on the previous day.

Russian forces hit a "command point of one of the detachments of the Jaish al-Fatah (or Army of Conquest) terrorist organisation" in Kafr Zeita 40 km north west of Hama, the defence ministry said.

"As a result of the airstrike, the running of the detachments of the Jaish al-Fatah terrorist organisation in this area, after which the fighters abandoned this combat area."

Moscow said it also "destroyed" a network of fortified tunnels in Talbisseh in Homs province used by ISIS group fighters to hide from the Syrian army and secretly move around the town.

It also claimed it destroyed an "advanced supply point" in Damascus province that was used by ISIS to deliver ammunition, food and fuel.

Russia said that it had information of increasing strife between the rebel groups ISIS and Al-Nusra Front, both of which it has named as targets.

"Dissention between the various terrorist groups is growing, due to the battle for control over territory and cash flows," the ministry said.

"According to the data from communications interceptions, just last week ISIS carried out three terrorist attacks using mined vehicles against field commanders of Al-Nusra Front," the ministry said.

It also said it had information of mass desertions by rebels and forced recruitment.

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