At least 800 militants have left the Iraqi city of Mosul and headed toward the Syrian border over the past week, chief of the Russian General Staff Main Operational Directorate Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy said Tuesday.
Russian military has repeatedly said that ISIL terrorists leave Mosul for Syria amid an Iraqi offensive supported by the US-led coalition.
Militants continue infiltrating Deir Ezzor in Syria from Iraq despite the US-led coalition’s assurances of fully surrounding Mosul, he said.
He said the Deir Ezzor “garrison has been fighting for several years while being surrounded.”
Last December, the Russian Defense Ministry said that intelligence data suggested that up to 5,000 ISIL terrorists have been moved to Syria’s Raqqa and Deir Ezzor from Iraq’s Mosul.
The Iraqi operation to recapture Mosul, the key stronghold of ISIL in Iraq, began in October 2016 and resulted in the liberation of the city’s eastern part in January. Fighting continues in the Mosul’s western part.