A commando operation backed by Russian warplanes and helicopters has killed 25 members of Daish radical group in central Syria, a monitor said on Sunday.
Supported by Russia, Syria’s army has waged a months-long offensive to recapture the vast desert region that stretches from the country’s centre to the Iraqi and Jordanian borders.
On Saturday, “25 Daish members were killed and others wounded in a commando operation by Syrian forces with air support from Russian warplanes and helicopters” in the northeast of Homs province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.
Six members of the forces were also killed, it said. A military source said the operation occurred “20 kilometres inside Daish terrorist lines”. The raid allowed Syrian forces to seize control of three villages in the area, official news agency Sana reported the source as saying.
The army has captured swathes of territory from the radicals in the province. According to the Observatory, Dasih now controls just dozens of villages in the east of Homs.
Meanwhile, veteran former war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, who is preparing to step down after five years serving in the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, told Le Matin Dimanche and the Sonntagszeitung weeklies, “The situation is so frustrating. The preparatory work has been done, but nevertheless, there is no prosecutor and no court.”
“It’s a tragedy.”
Del Ponte, a 70-year-old Swiss national who came to prominence investigating war crimes in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, made the shock announcement earlier this month that she would resign from the UN commission because it “does absolutely nothing”.
She lamented that “everyone in Syria is on the bad side.
In Sunday’s interviews, she said she had handed in her resignation letter last Thursday, and that she would officially step down on September 18, after the commission presents its latest report to the UN Human Rights Council.
The commission, which once Del Ponte leaves will just have two members, has repeatedly urged the Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court, in vain.
“I do not want to be an alibi for an international community that is doing nothing at all,” Del Ponte told Le Matin Dimanche, explaining her decision to leave the UN commission.
“My resignation is also meant as a provocation,” Del Ponte said, adding that she hoped it would “put pressure on the Security Council, which must deliver justice to the victims.”