Syrian troops supported by Russia’s Aerospace Forces have captured the last terrorist stronghold of the ISIS terror group (outlawed in Russia), the city of Abu Kamal, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said at the military board of Russia and Belarus.
Commander of the Russian group in Syria, Colonel-General Sergey Surovikin, reported on the city’s liberation during a video conference at the beginning of the board’s meeting.
"Work is in progress on demining Deir ez-Zor and al-Mayadeen. Today we started demining and clearing Abu Kamal. That’s the last major stronghold where a fairly large group of terrorists was concentrated. Some of them were wiped out, while some others crossed the Euphrates and are moving northwards. I hope they will receive a worthy ‘welcome’ there," TASS cited Shoigu as saying.
The President of the National Strategy Institute, Mikhail Remizov, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza earlier, said that the defeat of ISIS still does not mean the stabilization of Syria and Iraq. "I recall that the emergence of ISIS was not the cause, but the consequence of a whole tangle of regional contradictions between states and religious groups that has not been untangled to this day. The war against ISIS has obscured some of these contradictions, but now things will go back to the way they were. Other conflicts remain in force and, winning the war against ISIS, we do not win peace in Syria and Iraq. Of course, Damascus will have stronger negotiation positions, which may provide greater effectiveness of meetings in Astana and Geneva, but the possibility of reaching united Syria with a reformed system of government and a gradual process of political transformation is still under big question," he explained.
According to him, the most likely situation in the near future is the preservation of the status quo of control zones. "This means the de facto partition of Syria, which importance is still to be assessed in economic terms. A significant part of the territory where the natural resources of Syria are located is not controlled by Damascus. At the same time, it is possible that the system of de-escalation zones will be canceled, as it was a temporary solution, which was necessary to suppress the ISIS, but then other directions of the Syrian conflict will be unfrozen," Mikhail Remizov expects.
The deputy director of the Political and Military Analysis Institute, Alexander Khramchikhin, also noted that ISIS can cease to exist, but its members will not disappear.
"The project, perhaps, will be closed, but those survived people will not disappear. Many of them have survived, therefore, most likely, either ISIS will be recreated in another form, or these people will simply join other groups, in including those in which they used to be. I recall that initially ISIS was recruited from other groups, sometimes even through re-purchase - and these people can return to where they came from," he warned.
The editor-in-chief of the newspaper 'Journalistic Truth', Vladislav Shurigin, in turn, noted that the war on terror in Syria is not yet done. "We liberated the territories that we had to liberate, according to the agreement with the allies. But this by no means means the end of the ISIS. It only means that there are no more ISIS on these territories," he said.
The expert explained that the further development of events depends on the behavior of "our so-called allies".
"If everything goes well, we will move on to a new stage: from large territories that are controlled by terrorists, we will enter the level of fighting against bandit formations. After which we will be able to move to the level of individual attacks and small terrorist groups," Vladislav Shurygin said.