In 2018 Syrian troops eliminated 23,000 militants and liberated 387 settlements in Syria, Head of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov said during a briefing for foreign military attaches on December 5.
Gerasimov recalled that Syrian government forces, who had gained considerable combat experience under the leadership of Russian military advisers, successfully carried out operations to take control of the Eastern Ghouta, Homs and southern de-escalation zones.
He added that more than 40,000 members of “moderate” opposition armed groups joined the government forces. Additionally, militants voluntarily surrendered 650 weapons and military equipment to the Syrian Army.
“The decisive role was played by the Russian Center for reconciliation of the warring parties. During operations, over 230,000 people were taken out of de-escalation zones through specially created humanitarian corridors,” the General Staff Head stressed.
Gerasimov also adressed the situation on the eastern bank of the Euphrates where the US is reportedly trying to create a Kurdish quasi-state formation.
“The situation on the eastern border of the Euphrates is deteriorating. The United States, falling back on Syrian Kurds, is trying to create a quasi-state formation independent from the central government there. They are already forming the government of the so-called Democratic Federation of Northern Syria. Americans support Kurds’ separatist aspirations by delivering weapons and military equipment to them, and they are thus allowing Arabic tribes’ oppression by Kurds”, he said.
The general went on saying that ISIS terrorists in Syria are mostly present east of the Euphrates, in US-controlled territory.
“In December last year, the active phase of the operation to eliminate gangs in Syria was completed. Today, Daesh [ISIS] militants are only east of the Euphrates, on the territory controlled by the United States”, Gerasimov said.
“The United States is always telling us about some fight against Daesh in the east of Syria. But we are seeing the opposite. ‘Sleeping’ terrorist cells have become active and as a result, Daesh has begun expanding its zone of influence in the east of the country.“