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Shoigu:In last two months, area under Syrian government control more than doubled

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August 13, 2017 – Fort Russ News –

– Vladislav GORDEEV, in RBC.ru, translated by Tom Winter –

Shoigu announces territory controlled by Assad has increased by a factor of 2.5. 

The territory of Syria controlled by the government of Bashar Assad has increased 2.5 times over the past two months, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said. According to him, the Syrian army did this with the support of Russia.

“Over the past two months, much more territory has been liberated than was under the control of the Syrian government at the time of our entry there. That is, in fact, we made it 2.5 times more than it was before,” Shoigu said in an interview with Rossiya 24. “We — I mean the Syrian army with our support,” the minister specified.

He also named the city of Deir ez Zor, which has been besieged by the “Islamic state” fighters (banned in Russia) for several years, “the main point on the Euphrates,” the release of which “will largely mean the end of the struggle” with terrorists in Syria.

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The Ministry of Defense of Russia on Sunday morning, August 13, reported that the Syrian troops and the militia, with the support of Russian aviation, have liberated the city of Sukhne. The successful completion of this operation opened the door for the beginning of the struggle to liberate Deir ez Zor.

“On Aug. 13, 2017, as a result of joint actions by the aviation of the Russian Air and Space Agency, units of government troops and militia units in the province of Homs, the city of Ess-Sukhneh has been completely released from the IGIL militants,” the ministry said.

In addition, Shoigu said that the armed Syrian opposition must fight on its own with terrorists who find themselves within the recently created de-escalation zones.

According to the head of the Defense Ministry, one of the main problems of the operation in Syria was the separation of oppositionists from terrorists. “When we said: this is a zone of de-escalation, there is a moderate and a not very moderate opposition, but opposition. No bandits. And if there are bandits there, then the opposition that is inside this zone of de-escalation should fight them,” he said.

The memorandum on the establishment of four security zones in Syria was agreed upon and signed by the delegations of Russia, Iran and Turkey during the international talks in Astana on May 4. By agreement, airplane departures and military operations will be stopped in these zones.

On July 7, during the first personal meeting between the presidents of Russia and the United States, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, it became known that an armistice agreement had been reached in the southwestern regions of Syria. The ceasefire entered into force on 9 July. Representatives of Israel and Jordan also participated in the negotiations on the ceasefire.

On August 9, the Haaretz newspaper wrote that a series of secret talks involving Russia, Israel and the United States took place in Amman, the capital of Jordan and in one of the European capitals. In total, three rounds of consultations took place, but Israel remained dissatisfied with their results and sharply opposed this agreement. As the the newspaper reported it, Israel demanded that the agreement on de-escalation stipulate the withdrawal of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hezbollah fighters and Shiite militia loyal to Tehran from Syria

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