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Mission in Syria 'accomplished'
08 December 2017, 12:42 | Devin Moran
Mission in Syria 'accomplished'
Hours prior, the Chief of Russia's General Staff General Valery Gerasimov made a similar announcement to reporters, noting: "All (Islamic State group) units in Syria have been destroyed, and the territory has been liberated".
"There is not a single village or district in Syria under the control of ISIL".
At the same time, special forces were on the ground directing planes and "destroying the most odious leaders of militant groups behind enemy lines", he said.
Senior military officer Sergei Rudskoi said at a briefing that Moscow's "goal to defeat armed groups of the ISIL terrorist organisation in Syria has been accomplished", using another acronym for the group. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 21 civilians were killed, among them 9 children.
"We need to. move, undoubtedly, on to the next stage - the start of a political process", he added.
Egeland spoke to reporters in Geneva on Thursday, where a delegation of the Syrian opposition is awaiting the government to resume United Nations -brokered talks.
"But it is a big and prolonged task", he said. In recent weeks, the terrorist group has been progressively driven out of the country by a combination of Syrian government forces, Kurdish militias and Russia's Aerospace Forces.
Though its self-styled caliphate has now collapsed, IS also has a presence in eastern parts of the central provinces of Homs and Hama, and in the Yarmuk Palestinian camp near Damascus.
With Syrian government forces now involved with combing and de-mining areas once held by the Islamic State group, Russia's new mission, according to Rudskoi, will revolve around preserving ceasefires and restoring peaceful life. The intervention has helped forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a close ally of Moscow, regain control over much of the country.
Meanwhile, U.S. Pentagon spokesperson Army Colonel Rob Manning announced that roughly 2,000 U.S. troops are now operating in Syria, a number the agency had previously disputed.
Putin also said it was important to establish an inclusive and truly representative Congress of Syrian Peoples, a proposed peace conference that Russian Federation has offered to host, which would lead to the preparation of a new constitution and then presidential and parliamentary elections.
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