Syria has been completely liberated from ISIS, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Valery Gerasimov said on Wednesday that the group has been expelled from its final strongholds in the Euphrates Valley.
‘Therefore, as of today, there’s no territory controlled by ISIS in Syria,’ he said.
General Valery Gerasimov, Russia’s Armed Forces Chief of Staff, announced on Wednesday that ISIS has lost all of its territory in Syria (pictured, a Russian bomber attacks targets in the Euphrates Valley earlier this week)
Russian troops have been fighting alongside the forces of Bashar al-Assad in order to drive ISIS from its last remaining towns along the Euphrates River
Russian forces have been fighting alongside dictator Basahr al-Assad’s troops since 2015 to drive ISIS out of the country.
In November they achieved a major victory after pushing the terror group out of Deir Ezzor, the last major city it held in the Middle East.
That started a campaign to retake other towns dotted along the Euphrates River, which leads to Syria’s border with Iraq.
ISIS was pushed out of that country last month when government forces seized the border city of Al-Qaim and announced victory.
The group’s remaining fighters have now fled into a large, remote area of desert spanning the two countries.
President Putin also confirmed the news on Wednesday, saying: ‘Some detached resistance hotspots still exist, but on the whole the military part at this point and on this territory is finished.
‘I emphasize the complete defeat over Daesh and victory over terrorists.’
It comes after the American-backed Syrian Democratic Forces liberated Raqqa, once ISIS’s de-facto capital, back in October (pictured, fighting there in August)
The remaining ISIS fighters are now believed to have fled into a large area of desert spanning Iraq and Syria (file image)
He added that the focus would switch to a political process that would eventually involve presidential and parliamentary elections.
Putin also said it was important to establish the Congress of Syrian Peoples, a proposed peace conference that Russia has offered to host, which would lead to the preparation of a new constitution and then presidential and parliamentary elections.
‘But it is a big and prolonged task,’ he said.
The victory came after Russian and Syrian government forces liberated the town of Abu Kamal, Sputnik reported.
ISIS has now lost all of the territory it claimed back in 2014 as it swept through the Middle East in a lightning offensive which established it as the world’s most powerful terrorist group.
Russia’s military intervention in Syria’s civil war in 2015 has turned the tide of the conflict in favour of Moscow’s ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and against rebel groups fighting to oust him.