Briefing by Chief of Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff Colonel General Sergei Rudskoy (December 7, 2017)
The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation have successfully accomplished counterterrorism operation targeting the ISIS in Syria.
Over the last month, the city of Abu Kamal and a number of settlements on the western shore of the Euphrates has been liberated.
In the last week, the SAA supported by the Russian Air Force have retaken the region north-west of Abu-Kamal from the Euphrates to the settlement of Muayzilah with a total area of 2,000 sq.km.
Yesterday, the Russian Air Space carried out a massed air strike to support the units commanded by General Suheil al-Hassan in coordination with the Fifth Assault Corps. The troops conducted a rapid offensive and advanced 11 km along the western shore of the Euphrates. As the SAA has retaken al Qut'ah, al Musallakhah, ar Ramadi and al Hasrat, they were joined by militia units moving towards them from Abu Kamal.
Over the last five days of the offensive, the SAA supported by the Russian Air Force have eliminated more than 550 terrorists including 130 suicide-bombers, 6 tanks, 14 car bombs and 91 pick-ups equipped with large-calibre machine-guns.
As a result of successful actions, the last area of Syrian territory controlled by the ISIS has been liberated. Most well-prepared terrorists armed with heavy equipment, and foreign mercenaries operated there.
Currently, the SAA are mopping up the area and clearing up liberated settlements.
Earlier, on December 3, militia units formed by the eastern Euphrates tribes and the Kurds, which operated jointly with the Russian Special Operations Forces covered by the Russian Air Force, eradicated the ISIS on the eastern shore of the Euphrates and reestablished control over the Syrian-Iraqi border.
The operation had been planned by the Russian force grouping HQ in Syria, and was carried out under the direct control of the Joint Operational Staff deployed in Salhiya. Besides the Russian military advisers, the Staff is comprised of leaders of militia units formed by the eastern Euphrates tribes and the Kurds. When liberating the territory, the Russian aircraft were operating from the Khmeimim as well as from Deir ez-Zor airfield.
The final stage of the counterterrorism operation saw unprecedented in scale and intensity application of the Russian Air Force. In order to support ground troops in offensive, the Russian aircraft carried out at least 100 sorties and up to 250 strikes a day. The Russian Aerospace Forces eliminated terrorists’ positions, ammo and armament depots, armored hardware, pick-ups with armed weaponry. Long-range aircraft were extensively applied.
The Tu-22M3 bombers from the Russian airfields, carried out 14 group strikes within 84 sorties over the last month.
The Russian Special Operations Forces made a great contribution to the defeat of ISIS. The special units directed aircraft to targets and eliminated most odious leaders of illegal armed formations behind the enemy’s lines.
Therefore, there are no territories controlled by the ISIS in Syria today. The country has been completely liberated from this terrorist organization.
It cannot be excluded that separate ISIS sabotage groups can act in the liberated territories. They will be defeated by the government troops, which have special mobile reserves.
Recovery of peaceful life and returning of refugees back to their homes have become the priority task after defeat of the ISIS. The Russian Centre for reconciliation of opposing sides has been supporting this process.
The Committee for Governance of the Eastern Territories of Deir ez-Zor province has been formed and has started operating under direct participation of the Russian Centre for Reconciliation. The Committee is comprised of all ethnic and confessional groups living on the eastern shore of the Euphrates. They are Bedouins, Arabs, Kurds, and the most authoritative sheikhs.
The leadership of the Committee has been forming power bodies in Deir ez-Zor, Hajin, and Diban.
Four de-escalation zones located in south Syria, East Ghouta, north Homs, and Idlib province have been operating successfully. Ceasefire regime has been provided by units of the Russian Military Police.
The Russian Reconciliation Centre has been taking all necessary measures to promote returning of refuges back to their homes. For the last two weeks, 12 settlements and towns have received over 34 tons of humanitarian cargos. Safe passage of the United Nations and International Red Cross Committee was provided by Russian troops.
Engineers of the International Mine Action Centre of the Russian Armed Forces have finished clearing up living quarters of Deir ez-Zor. The Russian specialists have cleared up 1,868 buildings and 246 kilometers of roads. They have defused 53,478 explosive devices at the territory of 1,200 hectares.
Russian engineers continue training servicemen of the Syrian Arab Army. Officers of the International Mine Action Centre have trained 740 Syrian engineers.
Citizens of Deir ez-Zor have been provided with drinking water by the assistance of the Russian engineer troops.
The Russian force grouping in Syria will concentrate its main efforts to provide support to Syrians in recovering peaceful life and observing reached ceasefire agreements.