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Syrian defense minister Major General Fahd Jassem al-Freij hails Iran, Russia support in fighting terrorism

The photo on January 22, 2015 shows Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Armed Forces, Defense Minister Fahd Jassem al-Freij (R) during a field visit to military units and checkpoints at an unknown location in the south of Syria. (By AFP)
The Syrian defense minister has lauded the support provided by Iran, Russia and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement in battling terrorism inside Syria.
Major General Fahd Jassem al-Freij made the remarks during a Thursday field visit to units of the Syrian army in Damascus south-eastern countryside.
“Our battle against terrorism is continuous and the terrorist scheme against Syria is collapsing and retreating thanks to the steadfastness of the Syrian people who rallied around their army and leadership as well as the support provided by the friendly countries, particularly Russia, Iran and the Lebanese Resistance,” the official SANA news agency quoted Freij as saying.
Syria has been fighting different foreign-sponsored militant and terrorist groups since March 2011. De Mistura estimated last August that more than 400,000 people had been killed in the crisis until then.
Russia and Iran are the main international backers of the Syrian government in its battle against foreign-backed terrorists.
At Damascus’ request, Iran has been providing military advisory support to the Syrian military in its counterterrorism operations.
Russia has been also carrying out an aerial campaign in Syria in coordination with Damascus since September 2015 to further boost the Syrian military’s anti-terror fight.
Moreover, Iran and Russia along with Turkey have brokered several rounds of peace talks between Syria’s warring parties in the Kazakh capital, Astana. The Astana discussions produced a memorandum of understanding on de-escalation zones in Syria that sharply reduced fighting in the Arab country.
Syrian chief negotiator and envoy to UN Bashar al-Jaafari (C) walks with his delegation during a fifth round of Syria peace talks in Astana on July 5, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
The negotiations are aimed at bringing an end to the foreign-backed militancy in Syria, which began in March 2011.
Earlier this week, UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said that opposition groups had achieved significant progress in coming closer together on the issues of Syria's future and constitutional reform, noting that “the opposition’s stance is now not that far even from Damascus.”
Last month, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Syria’s opposition groups, which are being sponsored by foreign countries, were progressively losing their power.
Meanwhile, the Syrian government forces continue to make advances against foreign-backed terrorist groups in several fronts.
Earlier this week, Syrian Air Force fighter jets had carried out a string of aerial assaults against Daesh positions in al-Hussainia, al-Bogheilia, Panorama, Hattla, Marat and Mazloum districts in the eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr, killing scores of the militants and destroying large amounts of their munitions.
Separately, Syrian army soldiers have regained control over al-Heil oil fields northeast of the ancient city of Palmyra, inflicting heavy losses on Daesh terrorists.
Elsewhere in the southwestern province of Sweida, Syrian army troops established complete control over Tal Shihab mountainous region.

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