During the afternoon, a Russian strategic long-range warplane dropped a total of 10 bombs on Abu Duhur Airbase in what was said to have caused massive explosions.
According to information obtained by al-Masdar, this specific air raid was conducted by a Tupolev Tu-160 which can carry up to 20,000 kg of explosives.
The Tu-160 was flanked by two Sukhoj Su-35 fighter jets which provided cover for the large strategic bomber.
In the aftermath, at least 20 Jabhat al-Nusra militants were killed; 3 of whom were platoon commanders. Some names of the dead fighters were released by the Syrian al-Qaeda group this evening:
-Abu Muhammad Al-Ansari
Furthermore, Abu Hajer – prominent al-Nusra Emir of the Syrian steppe (al-Badia) – was reportedly critically injured in the Russian bomber attack.
Meanwhile, a total of 8 Russian jets were operational during the day (confirmed) in the provinces of Aleppo and Idlib, targeting various Islamist rebel groups.
The Tu-160’s first air raid in Syria was carried out in November, 2015 but has since rarely been put into action by Russian pilots.
Abu Duhur Airbase was seized by Jabhat al-Nusra and aligned insurgents in early September of 2015 after government troops succumbed to a 3-year long siege.
The Islamist capture came into effect after a heavy sandstorm engulfed southern Idlib, thus preventing the Syrian Arab Army from receiving much needed air cover.
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