After four months and 6,000 sorties, Russia and Damascus-led forces are on a roll, while ISIL is fleeing.
Following a formal request from Damascus, Moscow launched its much lauded aerial campaign on September 30. Russian warplanes have been tasked with assisting the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in its fight against extremists groups, who are trying to overthrow Bashar al-Assad and establish an Islamic state in Syria and Iraq.
Chief of Russia’s General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov said earlier this month Damascus-led forces are on the offensive on ten fronts out of 15. Four months and more than 6,000 sorties later, due to Russia’s counterterrorism efforts, Daesh is losing fighters, weapons and territories, while the SAA is on a roll and its soldiers are now willing to fight and feel confident.
This week, Damascus-led forces freed 28 localities in Latakia alone. In total, by January 15, militants were pushed out of as many as 217 localities.
Daesh still has access to recruits, weapons and supplies, which are mostly smuggled through the porous border with Turkey but Russia has employed an impressive arsenal of cutting-edge weapons, including cruise missiles, state-of-the-art fighter jets and long-range bombers, in its limited, but extremely efficient campaign.
Moscow has also made every effort to kick start the humanitarian and peace process in the war-torn country in line with UN Security Council resolution 2254.
The Russian humanitarian operation to help civilians, who have been trapped in towns besieged by the extremists, appears very effective. On January 15, Russian General Staff head Sergei Rudskoi made an announcement that the humanitarian aid would be largely distributed in the city of Deir Ez-Zor.