Unlike the US-led international coalition’s activities, Russia’s assistance has allowed Damascus to make significant gains in the war on terror in Syria, Bashar Assad said.
“Let’s be real. The IS (Islamic State terror group, outlawed in Russia) had been expanding its presence until the Russians came,” he said. According to Assad, “since the Russian Aerospace Forces began its operation in Russia, IS, Jabhat al-Nusra and other Al-Qaeda affiliates have been losing control over seized territories.”
“That is the reality. Why so? Because (Russia) is a great power with a strong army and huge military capabilities that is able to support the Syrian army in this war.” Assad went on to say that “when a great power like Russia takes part in the war on terror in coordination with ground forces, namely with the Syrian army, it can achieve actual results” unlike the US-led international coalition.
“As for the US-led alliance which is not serious anyway, they don’t have allies here and can achieve nothing,” Assad elaborated.
Russia launched an operation against the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra (renamed Jabhat Fateh al-Sham) in Syria on September 30, 2015 at the request of president Bashar al-Assad. Syrian government forces supported by Russia’s warplanes have liberated about 400 settlements. Serious damage has been inflicted on the oil trade, which helped fund the terrorists’ coffers, and the main ways to supply arms and ammunition to the terrorists have been cut. On March 14, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the withdrawal of the bulk of the Aerospace unit from Syria, but two Russian military facilities which include the Hmeimin air base and the Tartus naval base, continue to operate in the country.