Mission in Syria 'accomplished' | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 08, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:53 AM, December 08, 2017

RUSSIA ON FIGHT AGAINST IS

Mission in Syria 'accomplished'

Russia's defence ministry yesterday said its mission to oust Islamic State jihadists from Syria had been "accomplished" with the country "completely liberated" from the extremist group.

"The Russian armed forces' goal to defeat armed groups of the ISIL terrorist organisation in Syria has been accomplished," said senior military officer Sergei Rudskoi, using an alternative acronym for the group.

"There is not a single village or district in Syria under the control of ISIL. The territory of Syria has been completely liberated from fighters of this terrorist organisation," he told reporters.

There has been an "unprecedented" involvement by Russia's airforce in recent days, he said, with warplanes making 100 sorties and staging up to 250 strikes daily.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict, yesterday said that IS still holds about eight percent of Deir Ezzor province.

Rudskoi said "separate sabotage bands of ISIL" could still be operating but would be fought by Syrian government troops, indicating that Russia's involvement would be scaled down.

Russia began its bombing raids in September 2015 in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's beleaguered forces. Those strikes have helped Assad regain control over much of war-ravaged Syria.

Last month, President Vladimir Putin said efforts to end the war were entering a "new stage" as the focus shifts from military intervention to political reform.

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