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Russian Head of General Staff Gerasimov hands award weapon to Syrian general

August 19, 9:10 UTC+3

Valery Gerasimov also handed a grateful letter from the Russian defense minister and award weapon to Brigadier General Hasan Sukhel

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Head of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov

Head of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov

© Mihail Mettsel/TASS

MOSCOW, August 19. /TASS/. Head of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov at the Hmeymim air base handed award weapon to the Syrian general, who commanded landing and the liberation of El-Kder, the Defense Ministry's press service said on Saturday.

Gerasimov also handed a grateful letter from the Russian defense minister and award weapon to Brigadier General Hasan Sukhel, the ministry said.

"For the successful offensive along the Euphrates river, for participation in strategically important settlement Es-Sukhne, as well as for command of the landing and the liberation of El-Kder, the Russian Defense Minister, Army General Sergei Shoigu awards you for the courage," the ministry quoted Gerasimov.

Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement: "On the night of August 12, for the first time since the outbreak of hostilities against the IS terrorist group in Syria, the government forces have managed to organize and conduct a virtuoso operation to land a tactical airborne assault in the rear of the militants, followed by the defeat and capture of the settlement of El-Kder (about 120 km west of the city of Deir ez-Zor)."

"On August 13, 2017, in a joint action of the Russian Aerospace Force, units of the governmental forces and militia west of the Homs Province, Es Sukhne is fully liberated from militants of the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia - TASS)," the ministry said.

"By 7 in the morning on August 13, in hard fighting units of the Syrian armed forces liberated from terrorists Es Sukhne’s central and southern parts, establishing full control over the city," the ministry said. "The liberation of Es Sukhne from the IS terrorists opens the opportunity for the Syrian governmental forces for an offensive and de-blocking of Deir ez-Zor."

Earlier on Sunday, in an interview with the Rossiya 24 television channel, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said de-blocking of Deir ez-Zor, which has been seized by the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia) for a few years, would be a milestone in fighting terrorism in Syria. "This is probably the milestone on Euphrates, which will to a big extent say about finishing fighting IS," he said.

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