Russia: Syria now 'liberated' from 'Islamic State'

Vladimir Putin has declared victory over ISIS

GETTY DESTRUCTION Vladimir Putin has declared victory over ISIS in Syria

The Russian Armed forces have fulfilled their objective of destroying the military forces of the Daesh terrorist group in Syria, the head of the Russian General Staff Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi said on Thursday.

"There is not a single village or district in Syria under the control of ISIL. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu had informed President Putin about that", Gerasimov said.

"All ISIS units in Syria have been destroyed, and the territory has been liberated". ISIL is an alternative abbreviation for the militant group.

He said that Russian warplanes recently have operated at an "unprecedented" pace to support their action, flying over 100 missions a day against IS.

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The UN's Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said at a press conference in Geneva that winning territory back from the Islamic State did not stamp out the jihadists' influence or preclude them from re-appearing in the future in a different form.

"But it is a big and prolonged task", he said. Russia's stated goal has been to combat terrorism while pursuing a political settlement in the country through representative intra-Syrian negotiations and the preservation of Syria's unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Though its self-styled caliphate has now collapsed, IS also has a presence in eastern parts of the central provinces of Homs and Hama, and in the Yarmuk Palestinian camp near Damascus.

Russian Federation began its bombing raids in September 2015 in support of Assad's beleaguered forces. The intervention has helped forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a close ally of Moscow, regain control over much of the country.

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Smoke billows from the eastern Syrian city of Deir al-Zour during an operation by Syrian government forces against Islamic State (IS) group jihadists on November 2, 2017.

The Syrian troops are now demining the settlements previously occupied by IS terrorists.

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.

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

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