Russia's military said Tuesday that Syrian regime troops had liberated about 85 percent of the war-torn country's territory from terrorists, a major turn-around two years after Moscow intervened to land a hand to its embattled long-time ally, according to The Kansas City Star.
Russia has been providing air cover for President Bashar Assad's troops since 2015, changing the tide of the war and giving Syrian and allied troops an advantage over opposition fighters and ISIS terrorists.
Speaking to reporters at the Hemeimeem air base in Syria's province of Latakia, Lt. Gen. Alexander Lapin said Syrian government still must clear the remaining 15 percent, approximately 27,000 square kilometers, from the terrorists.
Syrian regime troops, along with strong support from Iranian-backed ground fighters, have in recent weeks pushed ISIS terrorists out of central Homs province, near the border with Lebanon, and are now fighting them in the oil-rich Deir el-Zour province in the east.
Russian air power has been instrumental in recent successes of the Syrian military. With Damascus facing major battlefield defeats, Moscow signed a deal with the Syrian government in August 2015 to deploy an air force contingent and other military assets at the Hemeimeem base.
In a matter of weeks, Russia's military built up the base so it could host dozens of Russian jets. It delivered thousands of tons of military equipment and supplies by sea and heavy-lift cargo planes in an operation dubbed the "Syrian Express".
A month later, Moscow declared the launch of its air campaign in Syria — Russia's first military action outside the former Soviet Union since the federation's collapse.
In April 2016, Assad regime forces, relying on Russian air support, retook the ancient town of Palmyra from ISIS. ISIS terrorists carried out a counteroffensive but were finally driven out of the city in March 2017.
Russia has also co-sponsored talks with opposition fighters and the government to negotiate local cease-fires, and set up "de-escalation zones" in Syria, which were credited with reducing fighting around the country.
A new round starts later this week in the Kazakh capital of Astana, on local cease-fires and de-escalation zones.
Last Modified: 09 12 2017 03:05 PM
Add Comment E-mail will not be published. Please fill required fields. *