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21.08.2017 (15:55)

Briefing by Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Colonel General Sergei Rudskoy

Within the last month, fundamental changes have occurred in the Syrian Arab Republic.

The Syrian Arab Army supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces have achieved major success and defeated a large ISIS force grouping in central Syria.

The Aleppo province has been completely liberated from terrorists.

In total, 50 inhabited areas and more than 2,700 square kilometers have been liberated from insurgents.

As a result of the government troops’ strike on directions to al-Sawwanet, a large grouping of ISIS terrorists has been encircled near Uqayribat.

Actions aimed to tighten the encirclement are being held. The Uqayribat town will be liberated in the near future.

Another group of insurgents has been encircled to the east from Ithriyah.

Rapid offensive actions of units commanded by General Suheil al-Hassan and supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces allowed to achieve the result.

SAA started implementing new methods of fighting against the terrorist groupings.

Therefore, the Syrian army has carried out a tactic assault operation behind ISIS lines near al-Kder, Raqqah province. The operation took place at nighttime on August 12 under support of Russian aviation.

Sudden and rapid actions of assaulted units as well as effectiveness of fire conducted by Syrian artillery and Ka-52 Russian helicopters allowed main forces to reach and take al-Kder under control without losses.

ISIS formations have been eliminated in this area. SAA is on offensive and passes from 30 to 40 kilometers a day.

Al-Kom, Bir Kdem, and Manbij oilfield have been liberated. Offensive on al-Taybah is carried out. Another insurgents’ force grouping is to be encircled.

A group of the government troops operating to the east from Palmyra has taken al-Sukhnah under its control and continues its offensive on Deir ez-Zor.

In order to eliminate terrorists, which had been encircled and taking efforts to leave for Deir ez-Zor, flight intensity of the Russian aviation has been increased to 60-70 flights a day. Twenty-four hours a day, the Russian Aerospace Forces conduct reconnaissance operation in order to detect and eliminate armored hardware, pick-ups with heave armament, and automobile convoys with munitions of the ISIS. Within last 5 days, Russian aircraft have performed 316 flights and 819 strikes.

This month, aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces has carried out 990 combat flights. 2,518 aviation strikes have been made on command centres, positions, storages, transfer bases and camps of insurgents. 40 pieces of armored vehicles, 106 cars with large-caliber machine guns and up to 800 terrorists have been eliminated.

Therefore, liberation of the central part of Syria is being finished.

In the south, offensive of the government troops is being held near Abu Kemal (Syrian-Iraqi border). In this direction, SAA is aimed to reach the Euphrates.

The Syrian government troops supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces are pressing their offensive on Deir ez-Zor from three directions. Territory around the city is the last stronghold of terrorists in Syria.

ISIS last forces are concentrated there. Insurgents from Mosul and most battle-ready units of the ISIS from Raqqah have been redeployed near Deir ez-Zor. Despite that, units of Syrian Democratic Forces supported by the United States of America and their allies could not take Raqqah under control.

Relief of Deir ez-Zor will put an end to elimination of main forces of the ISIS, which had taken efforts to create its own ‘caliphate.

Due to the Russian Federation actions on ceasefire regime, basing on the Astana agreements, the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic can be assessed as stable in the central and southern part of the country.

Three de-escalation zones are functioning successfully – in the south of Syria, in the Eastern Ghouta region, and in the Homs province.

On August 18, the Faylaq al-Rahman group of the Syrian opposition accepted to join the de-escalation agreement in the Eastern Ghouta de-escalation zone.

The agreement signed in Geneva stipulates that the grouping will refrain from shelling any diplomatic missions in Damascus, including the Russian embassy.

Besides the Faylaq al-Rahman group confirmed their readiness to conduct the irreconcilable struggle against terrorists of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra.

Earlier, a similar ceasefire agreement was signed with the Jaysh al-Islam grouping. Thus, following the talks with the Russian Defense Ministry representatives, two main Syrian opposition groupings operating in the Eastern Ghouta have joined the de-escalation regime.

The Russian Defence Ministry continues its work on establishing national reconciliation committees. Their activity is to ensure a peaceful conflict settlement.

The representatives of the Reconciliation Centre are exercising control over ceasefire regime compliance.

Each violation is followed by investigation.

The Russian military at check points and observation posts along the de-escalation zone are playing vital role in it.

The agreements reached by Russia and the Syrian opposition have made it possible to restore trade among the Syrian regions once divided by civil strife.

The problem of humanitarian access has been settled.

More than 14 humanitarian convoys of the UN and International Red Cross have entered the de-escalation zone since it was established, including 10 convoys over the past month.

The civilians have received hundreds of tons of provisions, medical supplies, and basic essentials.

The Russian Centre for reconciliation of opposing sides have conducted 24 humanitarian actions to provide urgent humanitarian aid to the opposition-controlled territories, supplying food products, medicaments, and items of first necessity.

Thus, the Russian Federation supported by the Syrian official authorities and number of international organizations have prevented a humanitarian disaster. We put all efforts to provide favorable conditions in the de-escalation areas to restore peaceful life.

Amid the de-escalation process, the Russian Centre for reconciliation have signed ceasefire agreements with representatives of 107 settlements. Total number of reconciled settlements has reached 2,207.

The Russian military medics have provided medical aid to more than 3,500 civilians.

Russian transport aircraft have delivered 293 tons of food products and medicaments to the besieged Deir ez-Zor over the month through the United Nations.

Observation of the ceasefire regime by opposition formations and creation of de-escalation zones will allow the Syrian Arab Army to focus its efforts on fighting the ISIS. Aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces in Syria will continue eliminating insurgents and providing support to the Syrian army in liberation of the country.

Elimination of the last stronghold of terrorists near Deir ez-Zor is the main goal. 

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