1,411 residential areas in Syria were freed from ISIS terrorists during the period of Russia’s direct participation in the conflict, Head of the Russian National Defense Management Center Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev said on December 11.
“In total, 1,411 settlements were liberated during the operation with Syrian government troops and militia having retaken more than 96.5% of the country’s territory,” Mizintsev said during a joint meeting of the interdepartmental coordination of the Russian and Syrian headquarters for the return of refugees.
[SF: It remains unclear how Mizintsev reached this 96.5%. Most likely, 3.5% is the Idlib de-escalation zone area and the Hajin area in the Euphrates Valley. However, even in this case, it’s complicated to declare 96.5% of Syria “liberated”. A notable part of northwestern Syria is occupied by Turkey and its proxies, the northeastern part of Syria is in the hands of the US-led coalition and its proxies, ISIS cells are still operating in the Homs-Deir Ezzor desert and on the eastern bank of the Euphrates.]
He noted that the Russian Armed Forces successfully completed its operation of mopping up terror groups in Syria, including thousands of ISIS fighters. According to Mizintsev, only a few ragtag US-backed groups survived in the Trans-Euphrates region and near Al-Tanf. The remaining members of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (Jabhat al-Nusra) were blocked in the Idlib de-escalation zone.
“In accordance with the UN Security Council Resolution 2254, which calls for a political settlement in Syria, a constitutional committee with the participation of the opposition and representatives of Syria’s entire multinational civil society is being shaped,” Mizintsev stressed.
The colonel general also commented on the situation in the US-occupied area of at-Tanf where, he said, 6,000 militants are staying.
“Perhaps, only our American partners do not want to see up to date how much has been done to revive peaceful life in Syria. They are holding with incomprehensible stubbornness the occupied 55 km area around al-Tanf where 6,000 armed militants are on the loose and are preventing the disbanding of the Rukban refugee camp,” he said.
“I would like to emphasize once again that Rukban is the territory illegally occupied by the United States and that is why the entire responsibility for the conditions of the life of Syrian citizens is borne solely by the United States.”
He described thea area as a stronghold of evil, injustice and horror for ordinary Syrian citizens set up by the US on the territory of the country. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Igor Tsarikov said that the US-held area is the source of destabilization in this part of the country.