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LATAKIA (Syria), October 27. /TASS/. The Islamic State (IS) militants have been airlifted from Syria by Turkish aircraft to save them from Russian airstrikes, spokesman for the Syrian Armed Forces Brigadier General Ali Mayhub said on Tuesday.
"On October 26, according to the reconnaissance data, four planes from Turkey arrived to the airport of the city of Aden (Yemen). Two of them belong to Turkish Airlines, one — to Qatar Airways and one more aircraft owned by an airline of the United Arab Emirates," said the Syrian army spokesman. "There were more than 500 militants of the Islamic State terrorist organization on board, they were taken from Syria to save them from Russian airstrikes," General Mayhub said.
According to him, "the militants were met by officers of the Saudi coalition that took them from the airport in three groups. The first went to the city of Al-Bab in Mandeb province (Yemen), the second — to Marib (Yemen), the third — to the Saudi regions of Jizan and Asir."
Previous reports said the Islamic State terrorist group[ leaders were redeploying reinforcement units from Syria’s Raqqa province and Iraq’s territory to western Syria.
"Our unmanned aerial vehicles are fixing a considerable increase in the number of new IS targets in Syrian territory. The IS leadership is redeploying personnel reinforcement from Raqqa province and Iraq’s territory to the area of military hostilities in the west of Syria," Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in an interview on Rossiya 1 television channel last week.
Russia started a military operation against the Islamic State terrorist group (which is banned in Russia) in the Syrian territory at the request of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on September 30. The air group in Syria includes more than 50 warplanes, including Su-34 and Su-24M bombers; Su-25 assault aircraft; Su-30SM fighter jets as well as Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters. The Russian Navy is also involved in the military operation. The warships of the Russian Caspian flotilla delivered a massive cruise missile strike from the Kalibr-class sea-based missile system on the night to October 7.
The Russian authorities have totally excluded a possibility of any ground campaign in Syria.