Four top Islamic State group leaders including the group's “minister of war” and Deir ez-Zour emir Abu Mohammed al-Shimali were killed in a Russian airstrike outside the eastern Syria city of Deir el-Zour, Russia’s ministry of defense said.
"As a result of a precision airstrike of the Russian air forces in the vicinity of Deir ez-Zour city, a command post, communication centre and some 40 [IS] fighters have been killed," the Russian defence ministry said in a statement on Facebook.
"According to confirmed data, among the killed fighters are four influential field commanders including Deir ez-Zour emir Abu Mohammed al-Shimali," the ministry said.
Gulmurod Khalimov, who is known as “minister of war” suffered a “fatal injury”, the ministry added.
Khalimov, a native of Tajikistan, was head of Tajik interior ministry's Special Forces unit before joining Islamic State in 2015.
Heavy clashes continued between Russia backed Syrian forces and IS militants as the group fighting to reinstate a three-year-long siege in Deir ez-Zour.