Smoke rises after an airstrike against an Islamic State position near Deir ez-Zor City in east Syria, Sept. 11, 2017. (Xinhua/Ammar Safarjalani)
MOSCOW, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- Syrian government troops, supported by the Russian air force, are in control of nearly the entire territory of the Middle Eastern country, the Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday.
"As of today, 85 percent of Syria's territory has been freed from illegal armed units. About 27,800 square kilometers of the territory of the republic have yet to be liberated before IS is completely destroyed," a ministry statement quoted Lt. Gen. Alexander Lapin, chief of staff of the Russian Armed Forces group in Syria, as saying.
He said government troops continued to conduct successful offensive operations along the western bank of the Euphrates River in northeast Syria, clearing Islamic State (IS) terrorists in the northern and southern quarters of Deir ez-Zor after breaking a three-year blockade of this city.
After the defenses of the terrorists were disrupted, servicemen of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties in Syria delivered more than 10 tons of food, medicine and other humanitarian aid to the inhabitants of the city.
The Syrian armed forces de-blocked a military airfield in the area, where over 1,000 servicemen were surrounded for ten months, Lapin said.
The government forces have also expelled terrorists from a strategically important traffic junction, the city of Akerbat in Hama province in western Syria, which was transformed by IS militants into a powerful fortified area, he said.
Lapin said that all the remaining routes for supply of ammunition and equipment to terrorists were blocked and the terrorists continued to resist despite heavy losses.
"The operation to destroy the militants of IS and the Nusra Front terrorist groups in Syria will continue until their complete extermination," Lapin said.