There is no more “territory controlled by the Islamic State in Syria” – Russia

Syrian government forces wave the Syrian flag while standing on top of a building in Deir al-Adas in the Daraa province on February 11, 2015 after President Bashar al-Assad's army, backed by Hezbollah and Iranian officers, pushed rebels out of the area. Lebanon's Hezbollah, Syrian regime forces and Iranian officers fighting rebels in southern Syria have advanced to the edge of Israeli-occupied territory, a monitor and state media said. Daraa is located near Damascus, the border with Jordan as well as the Golan Heights. AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Syria is completely liberated from the terrorists of the “Islamic State”. This was stated in the General Staff of the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin did not rule out that separate hotbeds of resistance may remain in the territory of the UAR, but in general the military operation is over.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon said that they did not agree with Moscow’s statements about the victory over the IS. The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation called these statements “a pretext for the illegal abandonment of US troops” in the region.

Military experts point out that the US side impedes the transition to a political settlement of the conflict. How will the situation in Syria develop after the defeat of the IS.

Syria is completely liberated from the terrorists of the “Islamic state”, the remnants of the militants were routed in the province of Deir ez-Zor. This was stated by the chief of the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces, Army General Valery Gerasimov.

“All the gang formations in the territory of Syria have been destroyed, and the territory itself has been liberated. Russian Defense Minister General of the Army Sergei Shoigu reported this an hour ago to the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, President Vladimir Putin, “Gerasimov said at the annual briefing for foreign military attaches.

According to him, on December 6, 2017, the forces of General Hasan Suhel and the 5th Volunteer Assault Corps defeated the remnants of militants in the province of Deir ez-Zor.

As a result of the fighting, they were able to liberate the settlements of Salihia, El Khrete, El-Katya and Musalaha. Subsequently, General Suchel’s units joined forces with government forces advancing from the south.

– “Complete rout of terrorists” –

Thus, according to Gerasimov, there is no more “territory controlled by the IS in Syria”.

This information was confirmed also by the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.

“Two hours ago, the Minister of Defense (Sergei Shoigu) reported that operations on the eastern and western coast of the Euphrates have been completed by the complete rout of the terrorists,” RIA Novosti quotes the head of state.

He did not rule out that separate hotbeds of resistance may remain in the territory of the SAR, but in general the combat work is over.

Further, according to Putin, all participants in the Syrian settlement, including the government of Syria, the countries of the region and the UN, should move on to the next stage – that is, the political process. However, before the transition to a political settlement, it is necessary to strengthen the de-escalation zones in the RAA.

According to the Russian General Staff, a significant contribution to the liberation of Syria from the terrorists was made by Kurdish self-defense units and tribes of the eastern Euphrates. In addition, the units of the Russian Special Operations Forces operated “confidently and efficiently,” Valery Gerasimov emphasized.

According to him, as a result of the coordinated actions of the Kurdish forces and the Syrian army with the support of the Russian Air Force, it was possible to completely destroy the bandit formation of the IS in the eastern regions of Syria and to release more than a thousand settlements.

– “The US Coalition has not made much progress in Syria” –

As for the US-led coalition, then, according to the head of the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces, her work in Syria prior to Russia’s intervention led to a critical situation – 70% of the territory of Syria was under the control of the militants. Gerasimov recalled that the active phase of the participation of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in rendering assistance to Syria began on September 30, 2015.

“By this time, the US-led coalition has been fighting for over a year since September 2014 against ISIL. However, during this time, the “Islamic State” not only did not incur significant losses, but also managed to take control of more than 70% of the territory of Syria. The situation was critical. Another month and a half, and Syria would cease to exist as a state, “said the general.

Contrary to Western declarations, the chief of the General Staff stated, the actions of the US coalition in the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic did not bring significant success.

So, by the coalition forces in 2017 only the city of Rakka was liberated, the siege and storming of which was carried out within 11 months. At the same time, Gerasimov noted, with the air strikes of the US-led coalition, “90% of Rakka was destroyed and practically unsuitable for living.”

– Interaction between the Russian Federation and the United States in Syria –

At the same time, the Defense Ministry believes that the interaction between Russia and the US helped in the settlement of the Syrian crisis.

“I consider it necessary to note the positive moments of Russian-American contacts on the settlement of the Syrian crisis.

The existing format of cooperation allowed signing on 7 July 2017 a Memorandum between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Russian Federation and the United States and creating the first de-escalation zone in the south of Syria, “Gerasimov said.

He pointed out that Moscow and Washington pledged to ensure compliance with the ceasefire by all factions in the zone, and to guarantee humanitarian access and establish contacts between the opposition and the official Damascus.

In addition, the chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces drew attention to the effectiveness of the joint Russian-American Monitoring Center in Amman, thanks to which it will be possible to maintain the ceasefire in the de-escalation zone in southern Syria.

According to the UN, he added, in recent months, the number of refugees who returned from Jordan to the southern regions of Syria to their places of permanent residence has increased.

Gerasimov also noted the work within the Memorandum of Understanding between the Russian Defense Ministry and the Pentagon on the prevention of incidents and the safety of flights in Syria, which allowed avoiding dangerous incidents in the airspace of the UAR.

Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry expressed readiness to conduct a dialogue with the United States on assisting them in the destruction of militants in western Iraq to “prevent the return of IS to Syria and exclude the revival of the” Islamic Caliphate “there.

– The Pentagon does not recognize the defeat of the IS –

Meanwhile, the Pentagon said they “respectfully disagree” with Russia that the Islamic State terrorist organization has been defeated on both sides of the Euphrates in Syria.

“I think this is an interesting statement. I respectfully disagree, “said the representative of the department Erik Pehon. According to him, the IS has not yet been finally defeated.

In addition, the US authorities attribute credit to the successes in the destruction of terrorists in Syria by their military.

So, American President Donald Trump said that thanks to the Pentagon’s actions, the terrorists were actually squeezed out of Syria and Iraq.

“I want to thank Mattis (head of the Pentagon James) for his excellent work with the IS. They are actually knocked out of Syria, Iraq. This is great news. But the bad news is that they diverge in all places, “said the head of the White House, speaking at the meeting with members of the administration.

And on the eve of the Pentagon’s representative for Syria and Iraq, Eric Pehon said that the main merit in the liberation of the Arab Republic from the terrorists of the “Islamic state” was achieved by the forces of the international coalition under the auspices of the United States.

“The Syrian regime and the Russian Federation have not demonstrated a serious approach to the defeat of the IS. They carried out only a small part of the operations against the IG, and most of the territory liberated in Iraq and Syria was liberated thanks to the efforts of the global coalition and its partners,” RIA Novosti quotes Pehon.

He also assured that the coalition will continue operations in Syria in support of the forces on the ground, “to complete the rout of the IS and stabilize the situation in the liberated territories.”

In response, the first deputy chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security, Franz Klintsevich, suggested that the US military resort to “elementary logic.” The senator reminded that by the present moment almost 98% of the country’s territory is controlled by government troops.

“Therefore, my advice to Eric Pehon: before you say anything, you must at least look through a textbook on elementary logic,” said Klintsevich.

The official representative of the Ministry of Defense of Russia, Major-General Igor Konashenkov, called the Pentagon’s statement about the allegedly unconquered IS in Syria – an artificial pretext for the illegal abandonment of US troops there.

“The birth, expansion in Iraq and the invasion of Syria of the international terrorist group ISIL happened de facto with the silent non-interference of the Pentagon. The situation in the Syrian Arab Republic was able to stabilize, and now completely destroy ISIL due to the Russian military operation,” the Defense Ministry said.

Konashenkov added that “if ISIL is still somewhere and not defeated – then just in the zone of direct responsibility of the US in the territory of Iraq.”

– “The ridiculous statements of the United States” –

Military observer of Komsomolskaya Pravda, Viktor Baranets, in an interview with RT noted that “the biggest drama of the Syrian situation” is to sit all the parties to the conflict at the negotiating table and agree on the future of Syria.

However, according to him, the transition to the settlement process is “jealously hampered by the Americans” who, without the UN resolution, without any permits, “brazenly, like the invaders, climbed on the territory of Syria.”

The expert noted that America’s behavior in Syria is ambivalent: on the one hand, it stands for a political settlement, on the other hand it supplies the remnants of terrorist gangs with weapons.

“The main thing is that Syria managed to pay off the bonfire of the war. And here, of course, Russia played a decisive role. And then Washington’s statement that this role was played by the US coalition looks absurd, ridiculous, awkward,” Baranets said.

– According to him, it is now possible to talk about the victory over terrorists in Syria. –

“The situation on both banks of the Euphrates is such that large groups of terrorist groups have been routed and in fact stopped resisting, so in general, we can speak of a victory over terrorists. But such a war always has relapses … However, the overall result is the following: a giant terrorist formation, which in its time numbered more than 60,000 people, ceased its systemic resistance,” Baranets said.

According to Viktor Bondarev, Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Defense, after the defeat of the “Islamic state” in Syria, the order in the country will be supported by Syrian troops with the support of Russian military aircraft, which will remain on the base of Khemeymim.

“Russia provides Syria with regular humanitarian assistance, supplies food and medicine supplies. Not everyone has enough. We must now mobilize all civilian resources for the country’s return to normal life. And with the maintenance of order in Syria will cope with government troops with the support of Russian military aircraft, located at the base in Khmeimime, ” he said.

At the same time, he did not rule out that under-armed terrorists can unleash a guerrilla war. To prevent such a development of events, the senator said, it is necessary to take control of possible ways of their migration – Iraq, Turkey and Egypt.

(This material provided by Russian media, especially by RT)