World

Syria '100% Free of Islamic State' - Russia's Defense Ministry

Syria '100% Free of Islamic State' - Russia's Defense Ministry

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that the Islamic State group has suffered a "complete defeat" in eastern Syria at the hands of Syrian troops and Kurdish-led forces, both supported by Moscow.

It remains to be seen whether the Russian Aerospace Forces will continue military operations in the region or would completely draw to a close.

Now that terrorist group has been eliminated from Syria, Russian troops will concentrate their efforts on restoring peaceful life in the country and observing the parties' ceasefire, Rudskoi said.

The extremist group still controls patches of territory in eastern Syria, where it imposes a media blackout. ISIL is an alternative abbreviation for the militant group.

Senior military officer Sergei Rudskoi said at a briefing that Moscow's "goal to defeat armed groups of the ISIL terrorist organisation in Syria has been accomplished", using another acronym for the group.

The general also said that Russian forces had in recent days been fighting alongside Kurdish forces near the Syria-Iraq border.

Meanwhile, U.S. Pentagon spokesperson Army Colonel Rob Manning announced that roughly 2,000 U.S. troops are now operating in Syria, a number the agency had previously disputed.




Russian Federation launched an air campaign in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces in 2015.

But the British-based war monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday that IS still held around 8 percent of the eastern province of Deir Ezzor.

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.

In comments released by the Kremlin, Putin said that military operations against the Islamists had ground to a halt on both sides of the Euphrates while Russian activities would focus on backing a political process that would eventually involve presidential and parliamentary elections.

Those strikes have helped Syria regain control over much of the war-ravaged country.

The Syrian conflict began in 2011 and over 340,000 people have been killed.


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