Russia's military has announced it has defeated the Islamic State group in Syria, affirming that the terrorist group has lost its remaining areas in the country.
Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoi, head of the general staff’s operations, said, “The mission to defeat bandit units of the Islamic State terrorist organization on the territory of Syria, carried out by the armed forces of the Russian Federation, has been accomplished,” according to Rossiya 24 TV channel.
In addition, he said that “the final stage of the defeat of the terrorists was accompanied by the unprecedented deployment and intense combat use of Russia’s air force,” including 14 sorties of long-range bombers that occurred in the past month.
With Syrian government forces now involved with combing and de-mining areas once held by the Islamic State group, Russia's new mission, according to Rudskoi, will revolve around preserving ceasefires and restoring peaceful life.
Meanwhile, U.S. Pentagon spokesperson Army Colonel Rob Manning announced that roughly 2,000 U.S. troops are currently operating in Syria, a number the agency had previously disputed.
Since the Pentagon declared that they only had 503 troops in Syria last month, a quarterly report issued by the Defense Manpower Data Center estimated the number to be some 1,720, according to PressTV.
At the time, Manning responded, “The DMDC numbers are not the official deployment count, the numbers that we provided — the approximately 500 in Syria and approximately 5,000 in Iraq is the official deployment count.”
Now, after the Pentagon's official report exceeded the DMDC estimate, Manning said troop removals from Syria will proceed on a “conditions-based” assessment conducted by the U.S. government.