13 Oct, 2017
FILE PHOTO: The Syrian army servicemen broke the three-year siege of Deir ez-Zor, in the area of the 137th mechanized brigade in Syria © Press Service of the President of Syria / Sputnik
“Islamic State currently controls 14,800 square kilometers, which is less than 8 percent of the Syrian territory,” said General Sergey Rudskoy, spokesman for the Russian General Staff.
According to Rudskay, IS lost 5,841 square kilometers of territory during the last month alone, with 142 town and villages liberated from the terrorists.
Syrian government forces continue their successful advance near Deir ez-Zor, taking control of a large area on the right bank of the Euphrates River to the northwest and west of the city, he said.
In the southeast, the military has completely blocked the city of al-Mayadeen, which remains the largest IS-held settlement in Syria.
“The city is in full blockade at the moment. The liberation of its central districts is now close to completion,” Rudskoy said.
IS was planning to turn the city into its new stronghold, deploying its remaining battle-worthy units to al-Mayadeen, he added.
The Syrian operations are carried out with the backing of Russian aviation, which has intensified its airstrikes against the terrorists “one and a half times.”
“Over the past week, in the Deir-ez-Zor area alone, the Russian Airspace Forces have carried out 383 sorties, hitting 993 IS targets,” said the General.
In late September, the Syrian forces prevented a major counteroffensive by a 3,000-strong grouping of terrorists in Deir-ez-Zor Province.
The force was comprised of militants inside Syria and IS units, which crossed into the country from Iraq’s Anbar and Nineveh Provinces where the US-backed forces are carrying out an anti-terrorist operation, the spokesman explained.
“In addition to that, the government forces were attacked by 450 IS fighters, coming from the area near al-Tanf, controlled by the US,” he added.
Russia continues its support of the liberated areas in Syria, delivering 74 tons of humanitarian aid to Aleppo and Damascus in recent months.
The medics from the Russian Defense Ministry’s hospital in the country have also treated over 2,000 patients during the period.
“One of the most acute problems in the areas liberated from Islamic State is the presence of a large number of explosive devices left by the militants as well as unexploded ordnance,” said Rudskoy.
Russian sappers have so far cleared 838 buildings and 87 kilometers of roads in Syria, neutralizing 24,000 mines and improvised explosive devices.
“The Russian Airspace Forces will continue the operation against IS and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist groups until their full elimination,” he said.