Russian Minister of Defense: Damascus-controlled territory has increased by 2.5 times

In a broadcast of the TV channel Russia 24, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu said that Damascus-controlled territory has increased by 2.5 times in the last two months.

According to him, this is a “serious success”. Shoygu said that half of the province of Deir ez-Zor is controlled by Syrian state forces. Its liberation will be decisive in the fight against the terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS).

He specified that in Syria, since the start of the Russian Armed Forces’ operation, there are two wars going on in parallel - “one war is with terrorists, the other war is civil, a war of opposition to the government”. Shoygu pointed out that Russia considers it necessary to distinguish between the fighters of terrorist organizations and the Syrian opposition, in order understand “where to strike”.

Shoygu added that Russia has “practiced” for almost a year, but has not achieved anything in this way. According to him, the creattion of de-escalation zones has effectively become the way of dividing between terrorists and oppositionists.
“When we said ‘here is a de-escalation zone, there is moderate and not very moderate opposition, but opposition. There are no bandits there. And if there are bandits, then this is opposition which is located within this de-escalation zone, and it must be fought,” he said.

The civil war in Syria has been raging since March 2011. According to estimates made by human rights activists, this conflict has claimed roughly 475,000 casualties. More than 5.1 million Syrians have become refugees.

The ceasefire in several regions of south-western Syria was coordinated by the US, Russia and Jordan, and came into force on July 9. However, the Syrian army continues to attack the positions of the moderate opposition. In this way, Assad’s forces launched missiles on a suburb of Damascus in August, injuring 19 people.

  Syria, Russia, Syrian opposition