Russia fires underwater missiles at Islamic State in Palmyra, Syria

By Andrew V. Pestano

May 31 (UPI) -- Russia's Ministry of Defense on Wednesday said its navy fired four 3M-54 Kalibr missiles at Islamic State targets gathered near the historic Syrian city of Palmyra.

The ministry said the Admiral Essen frigate and the Krasnodar submarine targeted shelters used by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh, where the militants also housed heavy weapons moved out from Raqqa.


The Russian submarine fired its missiles from underwater, the Defense Ministry added.

"The Admiral Essen frigate and the Krasnodar submarine currently deployed to the eastern section of the Mediterranean Sea, fired four Kalibr missiles at the IS facilities near Palmyra. All targets have been hit," the ministry said in a statement.

The Defense Ministry also said the United States, Turkish and Israeli military officials, which often operate in Syria, were "timely informed about cruise missile attacks" via "current communications channels."

Palmyra, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is located in the Homs countryside northeast of Damascus. It historically served as a caravan oasis with various influences. Its art and architecture are a mix of Greek, Roman and Persian styles, UNESCO said.


The Islamic State has damaged and destroyed a number of historic structures in the city. The iconic Temple of Bel, the Arch of Triumph and the Temple of Baalshamin were among the ancient buildings destroyed by the militant Islamist group.

"The successful mission has proved the high level of the Russian navy's combat readiness, particularly of the crews of the warships and the submarine involved in the cruise missile attack," Defense Ministry added. "Russia's navy has shown its ability to carry out effective attacks using precision weapons shortly after receiving orders."

The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces militia is engaged in a ground offensive to capture the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa away from the militant group. The SDF seeks to surround and isolate Raqqa before launching an offensive to recapture the city, similar to what Iraqi security forces did in their offensive on Mosul.

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