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Russian Federation declares 'mission accomplished' against Islamic State in Syria

08 December 2017

Russian Federation said Thursday that it had completed its mission to liberate Syria from Islamic State jihadists, though the United Nations cautioned that a territorial victory was incomplete without a political solution. The Russian military said "not a single village" remains in IS control.

Hours prior, the Chief of Russia's General Staff General Valery Gerasimov made a similar announcement to reporters, noting: "All (Islamic State group) units in Syria have been destroyed, and the territory has been liberated".

"The task of destroying the Daesh militia in Syria by the Russian Armed Forces has been accomplished", Rudskoi said, speaking at a press briefing. "The territory of Syria has been completely liberated from fighters of this terrorist organisation", he said.

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The general also said that Russian forces had in recent days been fighting alongside Kurdish forces near the Syria-Iraq border.

Rudskoi's comments followed an earlier statement from Putin, who said: "Operations on the eastern and western banks of the Euphrates have ended with the terrorists' complete defeat". Russia's stated goal has been to combat terrorism while pursuing a political settlement in the country through representative intra-Syrian negotiations and the preservation of Syria's unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

But the British-based war monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday that IS still held around 8 percent of the eastern province of Deir Ezzor.

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Russian Federation launched an air campaign in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces in 2015.

On Wednesday, Syrian forces supported by Russian Federation air power had swept through the remaining Islamic State territory in the Deir Ezzor region, seizing Abu Kamal and other cities on the west bank of the Euphrates near the Iraq border, Mr Rudskoi said.

Last month, President Vladimir Putin said efforts to end the war were entering a "new stage" as the focus shifts from military intervention to political reform.

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More than 340,000 people have been killed since the conflict broke out in March 2011 with protests against Assad's rule that sparked a brutal crackdown.

Russian Federation declares 'mission accomplished' against Islamic State in Syria