85% Syrian Terrority Cleared from Terrorists: Russia

Aviation VKS Russia began work in Syria two years ago, and this year the counter-terrorism operation enters the final stage. The proximity of the victory over the militants is clearly shown by the figures: more than 85% of the country’s territory has been liberated by the Syrian government troops with the support of the Russian military.

Thanks to the efforts of Russia, it was possible to unite the disparate and warring groups of the armed opposition in the fight against terrorists. Over the past year, Aleppo was liberated, Palmira returned, a major command post of the militants, Akerbat, was taken, which made it possible to launch an offensive operation on Deir Ez-Zor. By now, the besieged city had been unlocked for three years, but now the military continues to sweep its quarters and suburbs.

Aleppo and Palmyra

Aleppo is a large city on the western border with Turkey. The militants launched attacks on the city in 2012, as a result, by the end of the year about half of the city was under the control of terrorists. Despite the intense fighting, the situation did not change until the fall of 2015, when the Russian military began to strike at targets of militants in the province of Aleppo, which allowed the Syrian government army to go on the offensive and unblock the airfield.

In the summer of 2016, the Syrian army launched a large-scale operation to liberate the city. In October, Russia initiated the creation of humanitarian corridors so that civilians could leave the city, but militants fired people, preventing them from leaving. In these conditions, the employees of the Russian Center for the reconciliation of the warring parties took the inhabitants of Aleppo out at night, despite the fact that fighting continued in the city. In November, the Syrian army launched a massive assault on the city, and on December 16 the Russian General Staff announced the complete liberation of Aleppo.

The liberation of the city created conditions for a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin called this operation the largest international humanitarian action in the modern world.

After this operation, the head of state announced that Russia is reducing its presence in Syria. In particular, on January 6 of this year, the aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov, which was on the coast of Syria since October 2016, and the ships that accompanied it, went to Severomorsk. During the presence of the Russian aircraft carrier off the coast of Syria, its MiG-29K / KUB and Su-33 deck fighters carried out more than 400 sorties, destroying about 1,300 targets of terrorists.

However, while the main forces were focused on the assault of Aleppo, the Syrian military failed to repel the counter-offensive of the militants and to keep Palmyra, which they had earlier released in March 2016. “The pearl of the Syrian desert” had to be beaten again. The assault began on March 1, 2017, and on March 2 the Syrian army, with the support of the fighters of the Shiite party Hezbollah, entered the city. On the same day, Defense Minister of the Russian Federation, Army General Sergei Shoigu, reported to the President of Russia on the completion of the operation to return Palmyra.

Political Settlement

After the liberation of one of the most strategically important cities – Aleppo – negotiations on a truce became possible. As a result, the Syrian government and scattered detachments of the so-called armed opposition signed agreements on a cease-fire and preparations for peace negotiations. The truce entered into force at midnight on December 30, 2016.

On February 22, 2017, Russian and US Presidents Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama accepted a ceasefire in Syria on February 27. Both sides pledged to influence the political forces close to them in the country in order to achieve an armistice. The vast majority of armed formations fighting under the auspices of the so-called Syrian Free Army announced their consent to a truce that was announced on February 27. An hour before the ceasefire, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution in support of the cessation of hostilities in Syria.