MOSCOW, November 17 /TASS/. The Syrian army supported by Russian warplanes has liberated 80 populated localities and regained control over a territory of over 500 square kilometres, Valery Gerasimov, the chief of staff of the Russian Armed Forces, reported to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.
"The Syrian army has liberated 80 populated localities for the first time during the four years of military hostilities and has established control over a territory of more than 500 square kilometres," Gerasimov said.
Russia started a military operation against the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist groups (both banned in Russia) on September 30 this year at the request of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The air group consists of more than 50 aircraft, including the Sukhoi Su-34 and Su-24M bombers, Su-25 attack aircraft, Su-30SM fighters and Mil Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters. Russia’s long-range aviation joined the military operation on November 17. Russia is not planning to participate in any land operations in Syria.