Russia Says Syria Government Seized Most Territory From ISIS

Russia Says Syria Government Seized Most Territory From ISIS by Nataliya Vasilyeva - AP

Russia's military said Tuesday that Syrian troops have liberated about 85 percent of the war-torn country's territory from militants, a major turn-around two years after Moscow intervened to lend a hand to its embattled long-time ally.

Russia has been providing air cover for President Bashar Assad's troops since 2015, changing the tide of the war and giving Syrian and allied troops an advantage over opposition fighters and Islamic State group militants.

Speaking to reporters at the Hemeimeem air base in Syria's province of Latakia, Lt. Gen. Alexander Lapin said the Syrian government still must clear the militants who hold approximately 27,000 square kilometers (10,425 square miles), the remaining 15 percent.

The reporters were later flown to Aleppo city, which opposition fighters lost to the Syrian government in late 2016, and where Russian military police patrol parts of the city.

Syrian troops, along with strong support from Iranian-backed ground fighters, have in recent weeks pushed IS militants out of central Homs province, near the border with Lebanon, and are now fighting them in the oil-rich Deir el-Zour province in the east…

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