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Russia hits IS arms stores around Syria's Deir Ezzor

Long-range bombing raids targeted IS militants and their weapon stores in their eastern Syrian stronghold, says Moscow
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gives a joint press conference with US Secretary of State (AFP)

Six long-range bombers from Russia on Sunday destroyed Islamic State (IS) group weapon stores around the stronghold of Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria, the defence ministry in Moscow said. 

The ministry said in a statement that the Russian Tupolev bombers carried out raids to the southwest, east and northeast of the city, wiping out two command posts, six arms depots, IS vehicles and "a large number of fighters".

IS controls large parts of Deir Ezzor city and most of oil-rich Deir Ezzor province in the east of the country, and has battled Syrian government forces for control of a key military airbase there. 

Russia has been flying a bombing campaign in support of long-time ally President Bashar al-Assad since September that has helped shore up the strongman's crumbling forces. 

IS militants were on Friday forced out of the city of Manbij near the Turkish border by a US-backed Arab-Kurdish alliance in a blow the Pentagon said showed IS were "on the ropes".

Russian-backed government forces are also battling other rebels groups in fierce fighting for the country's second city of Aleppo, a fortnight on from the launch of a major rebel offensive. 

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