MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russia’s Rossiya 24 television channel that Russia’s operation in Syria has largely reached the final goal, with the land now freed from Islamist militants.
"This years-long operation has in fact largely reached its goal, the Syrian territory has been freed from terrorists and conditions are ripe for a political settlement," Peskov said, adding that, as Russia’s commander-in-chief, President Vladimir Putin played a significant role in commanding the operations by the Russian Aerospace Forces.
According to Matvienko, the efforts of Russian forces and the Syrian army greatly contributed to preserving Syria's integrity. Also, the victory of Russia over Daesh (ISIS) in Syria made it possible to change the situation in the Middle East and the attitude towards Russia around the world, she said.
"Russia defended its national interests and the interests of the whole world in Syria," Matvienko stressed.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump announced that the United States achieved victory over Daesh in Iraq and Syria, and a Pentagon spokesman said Syrian government troops aided by Russian Aerospace Forces provided only a small contribution to the fight against the terrorist group.
With over 70 percent of Syrian territory under Daesh control before Russian aircraft, warships and submarines began unleashing their deadly payload upon the terrorists' heads, this number dwindled to less than 5 in 2017.
"President Vladimir Putin very clearly told the terrorists and their backers that if the jihadists ['raise their heads'] again, Russia will deal a devastating blow to them," Syrian political scientist Timur Dwidar said on Wednrsday.
"The Hmeymim airbase became a symbol for the entire region and the world that Moscow does not abandon its allies amid difficult circumstances," he said, implying the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria, announced by President Putin during his December 11 visit to Latakia's Hmeymim airbase.