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    Russian military air group at Khmeimim airbase in Syria

    One Year On: What Russia Achieved in Syria in 12 Months

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    Russia's Operation in Syria: One Year On (35)
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    In twelve months, Russian forces achieved major success in Syria, destroying radical fighters, stolen oil trucks, militant command and control centers, as well as deploying humanitarian aid and assisting the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), but most importantly bringing civilians hope for a peaceful future, a Syrian lieutenant told Sputnik.

    Moscow launched its anti-Daesh operation in Syria almost a year ago, on September 30, 2015. Unlike the US-led coalitions' efforts in the country, Russia's campaign has been authorized by Damascus and is conducted in close cooperation with government forces. 

    "Russian aircraft have brought Syrians hope for life and security," the source said. "In Latakia alone, dozens of villages were liberated in several months [after the Russian operation was launched]. Thousands of people returned to their homes. The SAA retook control of hundreds of strategic locations. People are no longer at risk of the militants shelling them because [radical fighters] were pushed far away from Latakia."

    An officer of the Syrian Arab Army
    © Sputnik / Morad Saeed
    An officer of the Syrian Arab Army

    The Syrian lieutenant from an SAA unit that has coordinated its operations with the Russian Aerospace Forces in the province of Latakia also said that Moscow's involvement has helped to drastically change the balance of power in the Syrian war largely due to the fact that Russia has sent some of its best, newest and most powerful planes to the war-torn country.

    Moscow's military engagement has been instrumental in helping the SAA advance to areas hard to reach for land forces. Russian planes launched airstrikes against the most fortified militant positions often located in mountains and hills of the Latakia, Idlib and Aleppo provinces that made it possible for the SAA to storm those areas.

    "In the forests of Latakia, a Russian pilot made a low-altitude pass to destroy terrorists with a machinegun. It was a tour de force. The terrorists did not expect a helicopter do something like that. Those who survived had to flee and hide behind trees," he said.

    The source further pointed to coordination and intelligence sharing as the key factors behind recent developments in Syria.

    "The SAA has constantly shared geographic coordinates of terrorist locations and key militant supply routes with the Russian Aerospace Forces," he said. "In addition, Damascus-led forces provide data on their movement so that Moscow could provide air cover for the SAA's offensive operations."

    The Syrian lieutenant hailed Russia for eliminating leaders of Daesh, al-Nusra Front and other terrorist groups active in Syria. He also praised Russian experts who removed explosive devices from Palmyra. "They were extremely careful since they understood that they were working with ancient artefacts thousands of years old," he noted.

    Situation in Syria
    © Sputnik / Maksim Blinov
    Situation in Syria

    The source said that Russia's involvement helped to transform the SAA operation into an offensive at a time when Damascus was struggling to contain the insurgency. The SAA and Russian forces have achieved what the US-led coalition is only claiming to do: terrorists have lost the majority of their forces and territories in Syria, he added.

    Topic:
    Russia's Operation in Syria: One Year On (35)

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    Tags:
    Syrian crisis, Russian aerial campaign, Islamic extremism, radical Islam, Syrian conflict, counterterrorism, airstrike, Syrian Arab Army, Russian Aerospace Forces, Palmyra, Syria, Russia, Latakia
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