Mission in Syria 'accomplished'


Mission in Syria 'accomplished'

"The mission of defeating the Islamic State bandit groups in Syria has been accomplished", Lt General Sergei Rudskoi, head of the general staff's main operations directorate, said as combat maps and footage of Russian planes and Syrian soldiers firing their guns in celebration flashed on the huge screen behind him at a security press briefing.

"There is not a single village or district in Syria under the control of ISIL".

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the complete destruction of the jihadists along both banks of the Euphrates River.

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. ISIL is an alternative abbreviation for the militant group.

There has been an "unprecedented" involvement by Russia's airforce in recent days, Rudskoi added, with jets making 100 sorties and staging up to 250 strikes daily. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 21 civilians were killed, among them 9 children.

Syria's delegation has called the opposition's insistence on Assad's removal "provocative" and "irresponsible".

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces on Sunday thanked both the US and Russian Federation for their military support, days after the USA announced it would stop arming the group.

Russian Federation began its bombing raids in September 2015 in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's beleaguered forces.

"Its biggest presence is on the eastern side of the Euphrates, where it still holds around eight percent of Deir Ezzor Province", he said. Those strikes have helped Assad regain control over much of war-ravaged Syria.

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.

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.