According to Russian military officials and Dagestani authorities, the federal forces have regained the initiative in the ongoing battle with Islamist rebels in Dagestan. Eki-Tyube mountain in the Novolaksk region of Dagestan is now under the complete control of federal forces. Air strikes have been carried out on the right side of the Yamansu River, where–according to Russian intelligence–the headquarters of Chechen rebel commanders Shamil Basaev and Khattab is located. An additional 500 soldiers and more armour is being added to the federal forces in Dagestan. Magomedali Magomedov, chairman of Dagestan’s State Council, traveled to the Novolaksk region yesterday, after which he stated that the operation against the rebel forces is reaching a decisive phase.
It may be worth noting that the Russian military does not plan to limit itself to evicting the Chechen forces from Dagestani territory, but intends to pursue them into Chechen territory (NTV, RTR, September 8).
These claims should be viewed with some skepticism. The Russian military has already, and on more than one occasion, spoken of decisive moments in the military operation in Dagestan, and even–after they managed to force rebel fighters out of the Botlikhsk region–declared victory. The war, however, has not abated.
…INTERIOR MINISTER ASSERTS LINK BETWEEN DAGESTAN AND KYRGYZTAN CONFLICTS.