Putin declares 'complete victory' on both banks of Euphrates in Syria
Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared a 'complete victory' over the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group on both banks of the Euphrates River in Syria, stressing the significance of switching to a political process to ultimately end the crisis in the Arab country.
Putin said in remarks released by the Kremlin on Wednesday that the terrorists have been completely defeated on both banks of the Euphrates River in Syria.
"Two hours ago, the (Russian) defense minister reported to me that the operations on the eastern and western banks of the Euphrates have been completed with the total rout of the terrorists," Putin said.
He further said "some pockets of resistance” could remain in the area, “but overall the military work at this stage and on this territory is completed with, I repeat, the total rout of the terrorists."
Putin did not specify whether he was referring to the end of operations in entire Syria, or just the areas around the Euphrates valley.
The Russian president stressed the need to move to a political dialogue that would eventually involve presidential and parliamentary elections, but said this is "a big and prolonged task."
"We need to ... move, undoubtedly, on to the next stage - the start of a political process."
Since September 2016, Moscow has been launching military operations in Syria, targeting the positions of Daesh and other terrorist groups upon an official request from the Damascus government.
Different foreign-backed terrorist groups have been wreaking havoc in Syria since 2011.
Russia, Iran and Turkey have been acting as a guarantor state in peace talks for Syria in Astana, Kazakhstan. The three countries have helped set up de-escalation zones across Syria to reduce fighting on the ground.