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Russian Submarines Fire Cruise Missiles At IS Targets In Syria

Footage made available by the Russian Defense Ministry in December 2015 purports to show a submarine launching cruise missiles in the Mediterranean Sea.

Russia's Defense Ministry says two Russian submarines in the eastern Mediterranean Sea have fired cruise missiles at Islamic State (IS) militant targets in Syria.

The ministry said in a statement that a total of seven cruise missiles were fired on September 14 at IS command points, communications hubs, and weapons and ammunition depots in IS-controlled areas to the southeast of the city of Deir al-Zor.

The attack came a day after a convoy of buses with some 200 IS fighters, stranded for weeks in the Syrian desert, reached IS-controlled Deir al-Zor Province under a "safe passage" deal that IS made with Iran-backed Hizballah and the Syrian government.

The buses were halted for weeks by fire from drones of the U.S.-led coalition battling IS in Syria and Iraq, which had objected to Damascus's deal to provide the fighters with safe passage to Deir al-Zor in exchange for IS releasing a Hizballah prisoner.

The Deir al-Zor area is the last major IS stronghold in Syria.

The U.S.-led coalition says it had pulled its aircraft from the area at the request of Russian officials in order to allow Russian and Syrian government forces to travel in the area under a "deconfliction" agreement between Washington and Moscow.

Under what is believed to be the first such deal with IS, Iran-backed Hizballah also retrieved the remains of some of its fighters and recovered the bodies of nine Lebanese soldiers who IS had captured in 2014.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, TASS, and Interfax