Middle East Russia Syria

Shoigu: Daesh Controls Under 5% of Syria

Manilla (GPA– Speaking at a meeting of ASEAN Defense Ministers, Sergey Shoigu delivered some good news about the Syrian war.

In the days leading up to this year’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) conference, a major meeting took place between all the Defense Ministers of the member nations. One important statement that has been released from this meeting is that of the Russian representative Sergey Shoigu.

Sergey Shoigu
Image: President of Russia

This statement began with Shoigu giving exciting news about the 2-year Russian intervention in the Syrian war and the advances made since the dark days of 2015 when Daesh controlled ” more than 70% of the territory of Syria.” He compared this state of affairs to the current situation on the ground, which has seen Russian jets and soldiers help the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) reclaim all but “less than 5%” of the country.

Shoigu went on to elaborate that the territory reclaimed by the SAA “998 cities and settlements,” and that the area liberated by the military totals “503 thousand 223 square kilometers. Included in that territory are the oil-rich areas of Syria, which have now been liberated, playing a major role in cutting Daesh revenue from almost $3 billion a year to next to nothing. This includes “More than 200 oil and gas facilities were also wiped out, as well as 184 oil refineries, 126 fuel pumping stations and around 4,000 petrol tank vehicles.”

This news comes as the SAA continues to seize territory in Deir Ezzor, and Daesh comes closer to an end.

Related: Netanyahu To Shoigu: Israel ‘Won’t Tolerate’ Iranians In Syria

Beyond the victories obtained in Syria on the battlefield, Shoigu also showed Russia’s steadfast commitment to rehabilitating the devastated nation and “restoring a peaceful life.” This process includes a long list of achievements that western media somehow always fail to cover.

For example, for all the discussion in the west about the refugee crisis, there has been a total blackout on the hundreds of thousands of Syrians moving back to their homes in liberated territory. In fact, the total number of repatriated Syrians according to Shoigu now stands at “1.12 million people,” who have returned home. This includes 660 thousand since the beginning of this year alone.

Shoigu went on: “We pay special attention to solving humanitarian issues in Syria.” These humanitarian issues include major issues such as the thousands of explosives left behind by Daesh during their many retreats.

According to Shoigu, the efforts by Russian and Syrian engineers have handled a “total of 96,105 explosive objects have been defused since the work started – an average of 1,500 explosive objects per 24 hours. We are also training Syrian sappers. As of now, 621 sappers have already started working.”

Russia is also doing the one thing the US always says they’re interested in doing but never actually achieving: reconciliation. Unlike the US, which isn’t engaging in any peace process, Russia and their negotiating partners in Syria have begun a formalized process of healing the wounds from the war in agreements reached with around 2,500 settlements.