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Russia strikes turned tide in Syria’s anti- terror fight: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R), accompanied by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (L), meets with military chiefs at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi, Russia, May 10, 2016. ©AFP

Russian President Vladimir Putin Tuesday underlined the effectiveness of Moscow’s campaign in Syria, saying the operation helped turn the tide of the Damascus government’s fight against terrorists.

Speaking at a meeting with military officials in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Putin described as “precise and powerful” the Russian strikes from the air and the sea on Daesh and al-Nusra Front terrorist groups in Syria.

“They (the raids) have allowed us to achieve a turning point in the fight against the militants, although we realize that the situation there is difficult and there is still a lot for the Syrian army to do,” Putin said.

Since last September, Russian fighter jets have made over 10,000 combat sorties and hit more than 30,000 targets, including 200 oil facilities, allowing the Syrian army to push militants out of 500 towns and villages, Putin stated.

On September 30, 2015, Russia launched its air campaign against Daesh and other terrorist groups upon a request by Damascus. Later in mid-March, the bulk of Russian military forces were withdrawn from Syria. 

A Russian Su-25 ground attack jet lands after return from Syria at a Russian air base in Primorsko-Akhtarsk, Russia, March 16, 2016. ©AP

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Russian president said the operation in Syria proved the efficiency and high quality of new Russian weapons. During the campaign, the Russian military performed 115 launches of the long-range cruise missiles, he added.

Putin, however, said the situation is Syria is "complicated and there is still a lot left to do for the Syrian army."

He expressed hope that the talks between Russia and the United States on Syria will help achieve positive results. "The most important thing is to create conditions for a political settlement in the country."

On Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that Washington and Moscow have agreed to work to restore a nationwide ceasefire in Syria. 

The truce, which began on February 27, has helped reduce violence, but fierce fighting has raged on over the past few weeks in some parts of Syria, especially the northwestern city of Aleppo. Recently, local regimes of silence have been enforced in several areas of the war-torn Middle Eastern country.

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