Russia airstrikes in Syria cut off terrorists’ supply routes: Defense minister

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu says his country’s aerial campaign against foreign-sponsored Takfiri militant groups operating inside Syria has changed the course of the developments on the ground in favor of the Damascus government.
“The Russian Air Force operations have changed the course of the events in favor of Syria's legitimate government. As a result of Russian strikes, terrorists' supply routes have been disrupted and in some places fully discontinued,” Shoigu said in Moscow on Friday.
“To date, many Takfiri groups have been busted near Hama and Homs. Militants have been pushed out of Latakia plus areas south and north of Damascus. The main road linking the capital with the country's north has been secured as well,” the Russian defense minister pointed out.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visits the Hmeimim air base in Syria’s northwestern province of Latakia on June 18, 2016. ©Reuters
Shoigu further noted that Russian military experts are training Syrian army units and helping them to restore fighting ability in battles against Takfiri terrorist groups.
He stated that Syrian army troops, backed by Russian fighter jets and artillery units, have already managed to retake nearly 600 populated areas from foreign-sponsored extremists.
“With active aerial and artillery support from Russian forces, Syrian soldiers have liberated 586 populated areas, including 150 towns and over 12,000 square kilometers of territory. This has helped 264,000 refugees return to their homes,” Shoigu highlighted.
A Russian Sukhoi Su-30SM fighter jet lands at the Russian Hmeimim air base in Syria’s western province of Latakia on December 16, 2015. ©AFP
Russia has been bombing Daesh and al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front terror groups in Syria since September 30, 2015 at the official request of President Bashar al-Assad.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
The UN has stopped its official casualty count in Syria, citing its inability to verify the figures it receives from various sources.
A ceasefire brokered by the US and Russia went into effect in Syria on February 27, but it does not apply to the Daesh and al-Nusra Front terrorist groups in the Arab country.
While most European countries have been voicing opposition to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, some of them are gradually making a shift in their policies as they realize the importance of Damascus’ efforts in fighting terrorism.


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