A Russian submarine in the Mediterranean Sea has fired cruise missiles at militant positions in north-western Syria, Moscow has said.
The defence ministry said the missile strikes from the Veliky Novgorod submarine targeted militants, ammunition depots and fortifications in Idlib province, which is dominated by the al Qaida-linked Levant Liberation Committee.
Moscow said the Kalibr missiles destroyed command centres and a training base operated by the militants who had attacked Russian military police in Hama province earlier this week. Three Russians were wounded after al Qaida-linked militants surrounded 29 Russian military officers deployed outside Idlib and attacked them for several hours.
The defence ministry said the Russian troops repelled the attack with the help of local tribes.
Russia has been a main backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad and joined the country’s war two years ago, tipping the balance of power in favour of the government.
Over the past few weeks, Russia has fired cruise missiles from the Mediterranean towards positions of the Islamic State group in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour, but attacks on Idlib have been rare.
“Surprise missiles strikes in Idlib province destroyed important command posts, training bases and armoured vehicles of the terrorists who took part in an attempt to capture 29 Russian military policemen in southern Hama province,” the ministry statement said, citing intelligence reports.