The Russian Defense Ministry is to hold talks with the US on assisting it to defeat ISIS in western Iraq, Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the Russian General Staff, said at an annual briefing for foreign military attaches on Wednesday.
Gerasimov added that the US-led coalition “should be focused on how to destroy militants in Iraq’s western regions in order to prevent the ISIL [ISIS] comeback to Syria and how to exclude the revival of Islamic Caliphate there, but not on deployment of own military bases in Syria.”
The general staff chief said that Russia is ready to hold talks with the US on the issue.
“Contrary to the statements by our Western partners, the operations of the international anti-terror coalition led by the United States have not yielded any considerable successes on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic,” he said.
Gerasimov noted that coalition forces took control over “the city of Raqqa in 2017 and its siege and storming lasted 11 months,” but as a result of the operation “Raqqa was 90% destroyed and became actually unsuitable for living.”
He also added that US troops’ presence near the Syrian border vilalge of At Tanf “has obviously lost its relevance and will create obstacles for the government forces to take control of the sovereign territory, including Syria’s state border with Jordan and Iraq.”
As to the remaining ISIS members in Syria, Gerasimov said that “All ISIL [ISIS] units” in the country have been destroyed and “the territory has been liberated.”
This could be considered as a formal declaration of the victory over ISIS in eastern Syria. However, in practice, some vestiges of the terrorist group are still present in the Homs desert where no major settlements are located.