MOSCOW- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has accused the US-led coalition of having made no positive contribution to the counter-terrorism fight in Syria, but rather worsened the conflict gripping the country.
Speaking at a Defense Ministry meeting in Moscow on Tuesday, Shoigu stressed that Moscow had achieved its main objectives in Syria regarding the anti-terror battle.
He further noted that the US-led alliance’s assistance for Russia’s Syria campaign “did not rate at a zero, but a negative score, and to my great regret we did not see this support.”
Shoigu's comments came two days after US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter claimed that the Russians had given "virtually zero" support to Washington in its alleged fight against Daesh militants in Syria and Iraq.
The coalition’s non-cooperation “required the exertion of all our forces, all our capabilities, deploying quite a serious grouping including aircraft carriers and others," the Russian official added.
Russia's General Staff reports on Russia's success in fight against Terrorist in Syria
Russian warplanes have conducted 19,160 sorties since the start of the Syria operation, destroying 174 militants’ makeshift oil refineries and depriving them of the basic source of revenues, Chief of Russia’s General Staff Army General Valery Gerasimov said on Tuesday.
"Since the start of the operation, our aviation has performed 19,160 sorties and delivered over 71,000 strikes against terrorists’ infrastructure. Our aviation targeted militants’ training camps, ammunitions factories and workshops, and also illegal oil extraction facilities of terrorists of the ISIL [the former name of the Islamic State terrorist organization outlawed in Russia], the chief of Russia’s General Staff said at a conference call in the Defense Ministry.
According to the general, the Russian air task force "destroyed more than 200 such objectives, 174 oil refineries and 111 oil tank convoys."
In the estimate of the chief of Russia’s General Staff, "this helped both disrupt the system of ISIL illegal armed formations’ supply and deprive them of their basic source of revenues."
With the support of Russia’s air task force, the Syrian government troops have liberated 12,360 square kilometers of Syria’s territory and 499 communities since the start of its operation, the chief of the General Staff said.
US-led coalition fails to tackle Islamic State
The US-led coalition has failed to achieve significant success during its two-year campaign allegedly against the "Islamic State". According to Gerasimov, the US-led coalition delivered far less airstrikes on militant targets than Russia’s Aerospace Force.
“They [the US-led coalition] have not achieved any significant success… At the same time, a large number of civilian deaths as well as Syrian government troops deaths has been recorded,” Gerasimov noted.
He pointed to the Deir-ez-Zor attack that occurred on September 17, 2016, when the US war planes attacked Syrian government troops prompting the IS members to launch an offensive.
“The latest in a sequence of such attacks took place on January 3 when a B-52 bomber targeted the town of Sarmada in the Idlib province without previously notifying Russia, although the ceasefire agreement applies to this area. This attack killed over 20 civilians,” Russia’s Chief of General Staff said.