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

08 December 2017

Moscow's declaration that Syria had been "completely liberated" from IS fighters came amid UN-backed peace talks aimed at ending almost seven years of bloodshed in Syria, which have faltered over the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. "The territory of Syria has been completely liberated from fighters of this terrorist organisation", he said.

"Today, there is not a single settlement or district left under IS control".

In addition, he said that "the final stage of the defeat of the terrorists was accompanied by the unprecedented deployment and intense combat use of Russia's air force", including 14 sorties of groups of long-range bombers that occurred in the past month. ISIL is an alternative abbreviation for the militant group.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict, yesterday said that IS still holds about eight percent of Deir Ezzor province.

"To win territorially against Daesh is one thing", de Mistura said, using an Arabic acronym for the group.

"But it is a big and prolonged task", he said.

The Russian military says it has provided air support to Kurdish forces and local tribes in the oil-rich province of Deir el-Zour in eastern Syria and helped coordinate their offensive against IS.

The United States and France called on Russia Wednesday to deliver the delegation of President Bashar Assad to Syria peace talks in Geneva after discussions on ending the 6-year-old war resumed with no sign of the government attending.

On Wednesday, Syrian forces supported by Russian Federation air power had swept through the remaining Islamic State territory in the Deir Ezzor region, seizing Abu Kamal and other cities on the west bank of the Euphrates near the Iraq border, Mr Rudskoi said. Gerasimov said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies that Syrian government forces coming from two directions met in eastern Syria Wednesday, completing the route.

Putin had said in November that Russian Federation would start focusing on political reform as part of a "new stage" in the conflict.

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

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