Putin: ISIS Terrorists Fully Defeated on both Banks of Euphrates in Syria

NIZHNY NOVGOROD- Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the ISIS terrorist organization had been fully defeated on both banks of the Euphrates in Syria.

"Two hours ago, Defense Minister [Sergey Shoigu] reported that the operations on the eastern and western banks of the Euphrates have ended with terrorists’ complete defeat," the head of state told reporters.

"Naturally, there can still be some isolated pockets of resistance. However, by and large, combat operations at this stage and on this territory are over. I repeat that they ended with the terrorists’ complete defeat," the president stressed, according to Itar Tass.

Putin noted that it is necessary to go over to the next stage, together with all parties to the Syrian settlement, the Syrian government, regional countries and the UN.

 "That’s a political process, the beginning of the political process, efforts to set up and hold the Syrian People’s Congress, as we agreed on during the trilateral meeting between the Russian, Iranian and Turkish presidents in Sochi," he said.

He also mentioned work on the country’s new constitution. "And then, as this process develops, [it is necessary] to go over to the presidential and parliamentary elections," the Russian head of state added.

"This is a big and long-term work. To begin with, it is necessary to at least take first steps, namely, to consolidate the situation, which exists now, to strengthen the de-escalation zones, to make sure that the bloodshed on the Syrian soil ends once and for all and go over to a peaceful political settlement process," Putin said.

Syria fully liberated from terrorists — Russia's top brass

In the same context,Chief of Russia’s General Staff, General of the Army Valery Gerasimov, said at an annual briefing for foreign defense attaches on Wednesday, that Syria is fully liberated from terrorists, all units of the ISIS terrorist group.

"All ISIS units in Syria have been destroyed, and the territory has been liberated," he said, adding that Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu had informed President Putin about that.

Gerasimov concluded by saying that today the advancing units of the Syrian army and the allied and supportive routed the remaining illegal armed forces in the Deir Ezzor province, and, having liberated the inhabited communities of Al-Salihiyah, Al-Khreita, al-Katia and Musalaha, merged with the government troops advancing from the south. Thus, there are no territories controlled by ISIS in Syria today.

On Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that the last ISIS enclave in eastern Syria diminished to an area of 7 to 10 kilometers.