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MOSCOW – The Russian military says one of its airstrikes in Syria this week killed at least 30 members of Syria's al-Qaida-linked group, including some of its leaders.
Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov says the strike took place in Syria's northern province of Idlib on Tuesday.
He says it was launched from a Russian aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean and hit the al-Qaida-linked militant group, now known as Fatah al-Sham Front.
Konashenkov said on Thursday that Russian intelligence reports have confirmed that three prominent leaders of the al-Qaida branch — Muhammad Helala, Abu Jaber Harmuja and Abul Baha Al-Asfari — were among those killed.
The strike was part of a long-anticipated offensive against rebel-held areas announced by Russia, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad.