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    Islamic State fighters fire their weapons during clashes with the Kurdish-led Syria Democratic Forces in Manbij, in Aleppo province, Syria (File)

    Majority of Daesh Militants to Leave Syria for Libya by End of 2016

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    Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS) Director Leonid Reshetnikov stated that within this year the majority of Daesh militants will leave Syria and Iraq for Libya.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The major part of Islamic State (ISIL or Daesh) militants will leave Syria, including the city of Aleppo and its stronghold of Raqqa, and relocate to Libya until the end of the year, Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS) Director Leonid Reshetnikov told Sputnik on Friday.

    "I think that within this year the majority of militants will leave for Libya. They will flee from Aleppo and Raqqa. They would have to leave for Libya, maybe some of them will stay in Iraq," Reshetnikov said in an interview.

    Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces loyal to President Bashar Assad fighting numerous opposition factions and extremist groups, including Daesh and Nusra Front, a Syrian division of al Qaeda that has changed its name to Jabhat Fatah al Sham, which are outlawed in many countries including Russia.

    Friday, September 30, marks a year since Russia launched its aerial anti-terror campaign in Syria after an official request from the Syrian government that has been fighting numerous extremist groups and opposition factions since 2011.

    In March, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the pullout of the bulk of the Russian contingent in Syria as the anti-terrorist campaign's objectives had broadly been completed. At the same time, Russia did not abandon its obligations to provide the Syrian government with weapons and military equipment, train military specialists. Hmeymim air base and a naval facility in the port of Tartus remain operational while Russia's S-400 and Pantsir air defense systems continue to be on duty in Syria to protect Russian servicemen in the war-torn country.

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    Tags:
    war on terror, Daesh, Leonid Reshetnikov, Libya, Syria, Iraq
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