Planet Satellite Imagery Shows Bridge Built by Russians Across Euphrates

September 25, 2017 (©2017 Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0)

In late September, Russian media outlets reported that the Russian military built a bridge across the Euphrates River near the city of Deir ez-Zor in Syria. Specifically, RT reported on September 26 that Russian military personnel had managed to build the bridge in fewer than 48 hours, despite constant shelling from Islamic militants.

“Drones were deployed. During the installation work, explosives and grenades were falling on us. Nevertheless we have no losses, neither wounded nor killed. Everything was erected on time,” head of the road service of the Russian Defense Ministry, Vladimir Burovtsev was quoted as saying.

Thanks to satellite imagery from Planet Labs, Bellingcat was able to verify the Russian official’s claim that the build was indeed built in fewer than 48 hours. An image from September 23, for example, does not show any signs of a bridge over the river, while an image from two days later, September 25, shows the newly-constructed, full-length bridge, confirming the claim that the military personnel had managed to build it in a mere two days.

©2017 Planet Labs, Inc. cc-by-sa 4.0

Context

The forces of the Russian and Syrian military, along with allied forces, crossed the Euphrates with the help of pontoon bridges and boats before the quick construction of the new bridge.

The first images of the new bridge in use appeared on September 26, with a video from RT showing KamAZ trucks crossing the river with the help of the new bridge.