'Highest Ranking' Russian General Killed in ISIS Attack in Syria

Since the two strikes in June, one of two USA bases in the area has shut down after Syrian and allied forces essentially cut off access to it.

Asapov is the highest-ranking Russian military officer to be killed in Syria.

The Russian Defense Ministry said late Sunday that Lt. Gen. Valery Asapov "was at a command post of Syrian troops, assisting the Syrian commanders in the operation for the liberation of the city of Deir Ez-Zor".

"The death of the Russian commander is the price, the bloody price for the two-faced American policy in Syria", Sergei Ryabkov, Russia's deputy foreign minister, said on Monday, according to RIA.

The Sunday's photo revelation by Russian MoD comes just before the death of Lieutenant-General Valery Asapov in Syria which Moscow says "is the price Russia was forced to pay for hypocritical USA policy". Talal Silo, an SDF spokesman, said.

Moscow denied this and said Syrian troops and Russian forces came under fire from SDF positions, warning the U.S that it would retaliate if the shelling was repeated.

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Though they have a common enemy in IS, the SDF and Assad's forces disagree on key areas and are backed by rival global powers.

US -backed Syrian forces have seized a Conoco gas plant from Islamic State in the oil-rich Deir Ezzor area, depriving the militants from an important revenue source.

Assad regime, backed by its ally Russian Federation, is carrying out its own campaign against Daesh in Deir el-Zour, largely on the western side of the Euphrates, including in provincial capital Deir el-Zour city.

The Syrian Democratic Forces entry into Deir az-Zour where a Russian-backed, Syrian regime offensive is taking place.

"The operation of Syrian troops aimed to destroy the last IS stronghold in Deir al-Zour". "Facing no resistance of the ISIS militants, the SDF units are advancing along the left shore of the Euphrates towards Deir ez-Zor", the statement reads. And, in 2014, it was further widely reported that ISIS was using those Humvees and Cougars not only as transports, but as weapons themselves.

Previously, the U.S-led coalition had downed Iranian drones in the area, considering them hostile because they dropped ammunition near a base where US troops operated alongside allied Syrian opposition fighters.

  • Megan Austin