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Syrian troops aided by Russian jets recapture 586 settlements — defense minister

July 15, 2016, 20:26 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russian Defense Minister said three oil and gas fields had been returned under government control

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© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, July 15. /TASS/. Syrian military supported by Russian jets and artillery strikes have recaptured from terrorists 586 settlements, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Friday.

"With active aircraft and artillery support of the Russian group, Syrian troops have ceized back 586 settlements, including 150 cities and more than 12,000 square kilometers of land. This gave possibility for 264,000 refugees to return to the places of their permanent domicile," the minister said at a military-scientific conference.

Shoigu said three oil and gas fields had been returned under government control. Palmyra and al-Qaryatayn towns of key importance were recaptured, the minister added.

"But most important is that an expansion of terrorist groups’ activity to nearby territories has been stopped," the minister said.

"The operation of the Russian Aerospace Troops has reversed the situation in favor of the Syrian legitimate government," Shoigu said, adding that as a result of Russian airstrikes resources’ provision to terrorists was fully disrupted in certain areas. He said the main routes to supply gunmen with weapons and ammunitions had been blocked.

"As of the present day, major militant units have been defeated in the areas of Hama and Homs, gunmen were driven from Latakia and territories south and north of Damascus," Shoigu said. "The main transport route connecting the capital with the north of the country has been unblocked," he added.

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