Last month, former Russian minister of defence, Sergey Shoygu, said the fall of ISIS in Deir ez-Zor could be the end of the self-proclaimed caliphate.
Two campaigns are being fought against IS in east Deir Ezzor, with one on the western side of the Euphrates river that slices diagonally across the province led by Syrian troops and backed by ally Russian Federation.
Russian-led forces tracked down the militants using data obtained by Russian intelligence while HTS fighters gathered for a meeting. The violence is also taking place in de-escalation zones that are part of a deal reached in the Kazakh capital of Astana between Iran, Turkey and Russian Federation.
On Wednesday, the Russian military reported that its airstrikes critically wounded the group's leader a day earlier.
The Su-34 precision airstrike also destroyed Tahrir al-Sham's "largest underground ammunition depot" near the town of Abu ad-Duhur, which contained "over 1,000 tons of artillery shells and multiple launch rockets", RT quoted the military as saying on Thursday.
IS remains in control of half of Deir Ezzor province, despite advances by President Bashar al-Assad's forces and a separate offensive against the jihadists by the Kurdish-Arab alliance. The group was considered to be Al Qaeda's official branch in Syria, until its formal separation and rebranding as Jabhat Fateh Al Sham, or "Front for the Conquest of the Levant", in July 2016. Jabhat Fateh al-Sham is now considered as the leader of the coalition.
Russian air strikes had killed at least 14 civilians as they were crossing the Euphrates river, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said on Friday.
Missiles launched from a Russian submarine in the Mediterranean reportedly hit Al Nusra training bases and armored vehicles that were allegedly involved in an attempt to take hostage 29 Russian military police officers in the north of Hama province, located in central Syria.