After Russian President Vladimir Putin announced earlier this week that Syria has almost been freed from the terrorist group known as Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), The Russian foreign ministry has now officially declared Syria has been freed from the grip of the terrorists. The Russian General Staff has declared the liberation of Syria from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), stating that all territories previously under terrorist control were liberated in the final push by the Syrian Army. Russian Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Valery Gerasimov said, “All terrorist units of ISIS on Syrian soil have been destroyed, and the territory is liberated…. Therefore, as of today, there’s no territory controlled by ISIS in Syria… Naturally, there might be some spots of resistance, but the military work has been largely completed in the area and at the time. Completed with a full victory, I repeat, with a victory and defeat of the terrorists”. Russia began providing support to Syria and the Assad regime following an official request from Damascus in 2015 to prevent the terrorists from overrunning the country completely. Russia’s help allowed the Syrian Arab Army to turn the tide and liberate large areas of the country previously occupied by the jihadists.
With jihadists defeated, the focus is now turning to the political transition in Syria, which has been a thorny international issue as Russia supports the Assad regime and the United States want to oust it.
In a separate event, the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that he has called on Russians to make Assad joining the ongoing Geneva peace talks. The eighth round of Geneva talks has begun on November 28th. Speaking in NATO headquarter in Brussels, Tillerson said, “We have said to the Russians it is important that the Syrian regime be at the table and be part of these negotiations and part of the discussion……It's important that as long as Bashar Assad is still the leader of that regime, that he be directly engaged in these discussions and negotiations.” The Russian support has given Assad an upper hand in the negotiations, who was discarded off by the Western leaders years back.