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Russia Gears Up for Big Syria Offensive

  • Bridge built across Euphrates to carry 8,000 vehicles a day
  • Moscow blames Washington for general’s death in mortar attack
A Russian military helicopter flies over Palmyra, Syria on Sept. 15, 2017.

A Russian military helicopter flies over Palmyra, Syria on Sept. 15, 2017.

Photographer: AP Photo

Russia prepared for a major new offensive by government forces in Syria after building a bridge across the Euphrates river, amid growing tensions with the U.S. as the two powers compete for control of a strategically important slice of territory bordering Iraq.

Russian military engineers erected the bridge in two days under continuous shelling, said a top Defense Ministry official, Vladimir Burovtsev, the state news service Tass reported Tuesday. “Unmanned aerial vehicles were used, explosive substances and grenades were falling on us from the air during the installation work,” Burovtsev said. “But we suffered no losses and we did everything in time.”