Russia touts major Syrian state military successes over Islamic State

BEIRUT/MOSCOW, Weedah Hamzah and Peter Spinella (dpa) - Russia's military said Tuesday that with its help, Syrian state troops have "liberated about 85 per cent of the Syrian territory."
The Syrian army backed by Russia's air force continues to reap military victories over extremist organizations such as Islamic State, the Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement.

Russia has supported Syria's ruling regime, a longtime ally, through a bombing campaign against militant groups in the country for the past two years.
Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad broke through the three-year siege of Deir al-Zour last week and have been continuing efforts to liberate the eastern Syrian city, the statement added.
Most of the province of Deir al-Zour has been controlled by Islamic State since 2014.
At least 28 civilians were killed in Russian and US-led coalition airstrikes earlier Tuesday targeting Islamic State in eastern Syria, according to a monitoring group.
The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman, said Russian airstrikes killed 16 civilians at a refugee camp near Deir al-Zour, on the western bank of the Euphrates River.
Five children were among those killed, bringing the civilian death toll to 69 in Russian airstrikes since Sunday, the watchdog said.
The US-led coalition killed 12 people on Tuesday in strikes targeting other areas to the east of Deir al-Zour.
A Syrian Kurd-led alliance supported by the US started a separate offensive over the weekend against Islamic State in the province.

Tuesday, September 12th 2017
Weedah Hamzah and Peter Spinella

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