MOSCOW, December 22. /TASS/. Syria’s collapse was prevented due to the operation conducted by Russia’s Aerospace Forces and 9,000 militants have already laid down arms in the Middle East country, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Thursday.
"The breakup of the Syrian state was prevented, the chain of ‘color revolutions’ circulating in the Middle East and Africa was interrupted and the process of political settlement and reconciliation of warring parties was launched," Shoigu said during the ministry’s final board meeting attended by President Vladimir Putin.
"Some 1,074 settlements with around 3 million citizens have joined the ceasefire regime… and 9,000 militants have laid down arms," the minister said.
The operation "inflicted significant damage to the international terrorist organizations in Syria and their spread in the region was stopped, their financial support and provision with resources were disturbed," he added.
The minister said more than 12,000 square kilometers of territory and some 500 settlements have been liberated from militants in Syria.
"Since the start of the operation Russia’s aircraft made 18,800 sorties, delivering 71,000 strikes against the terrorists’ infrastructure. At the same time, 725 training camps, 405 plants and workshops for manufacturing ammunition, 1,500 pieces of military hardware of terrorists, 35,000 militants, including 204 field commanders, have been destroyed," he said.
Besides, during the operation 408 tanks and other armored fighting vehicles, 57 multiple rocket launchers and 418 homemade multiple rocket launcher systems, 410 mortars and more than 28,000 pieces of small arms were seized from Syria’s armed groups.
More than 160 types of weapons were tested during the military operation in Syria.
"A total of 162 types of modern and upgraded weapons were tested during the combat actions in Syria. They showed high efficiency. Among them are the cutting edge aircraft systems Su-30SM, Su-34, and Mi-28H and Ka-52 helicopters. The high-precision ammunition confirmed their tactical characteristics," Shoigu said.