MOSCOW, November 21. /TASS/. Former Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Aerospace Force, head of the Federation Council’s Committee for Defense and Security Viktor Bondarev has called contribution of the international coalition in the war on terror in Syria "insignificant" on Russia 24 TV live.
"They did not reach a special breaking point by this campaign, as can be seen from Iraq. They have stayed there much longer than the Russian Armed Forces (in Syria - TASS), with hardly any results. On the contrary, support is coming from that area, though they could and had to put an end to all these events. The history and video recordings speak for themselves: their contribution is insignificant and maybe even harmful in some cases," he said.
"What the Russian Aerospace Force did is obvious. We did it as quickly as possible: in a little more than two years. Work of the Aerospace Force gave confidence to the Syrian army. The people believed in the freedom and establishment of a constitutional order. I believe that after the Russian Armed Forces withdraw, the Syrian Armed Forces will manage to put things right there and achieve a constitutional order in the country, as well as drive out all bandits and scoundrels," he said, stressing that the Syrian army will do everything possible to counteract terrorist raids.
Syria can be fully freed from terrorists before year-end
Syria’s liberation from terrorists can be completed as early as this year, according to Bondarev.
"The forecasts concerning the timeframe of the counterterrorism operation, which we made earlier, are coming true. There is every likelihood that Syria will be liberated from terrorists before the end of 2017," Bondarev said.
The senator noted that the decision on keeping Russian troops in Syria will be made by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russian aircraft, armor may stay in Syria
Russian aircraft and some armored vehicles may stay in Syria after Russia completes its anti-terror operation in that country, Bondarev said.
As of now, the Syrian government troops are controlling over 98% of the country’s territory, the senator said.
"I believe that the Russian aviation (strategic bombers, attack aircraft and fighter jets), satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles, air defense and anti-ballistic missile defense systems and some pieces of the armor may stay in Syria to some or other degree to consolidate the result and maintain it and to further stabilize the internal situation. That is, the Aerospace Force to a larger extent and the land troops (missile forces and artillery) to a lesser degree. The Navy, in particular, the marine infantry, will also be needed, of course, to ensure security," Bondarev said.
After the terrorists’ manpower is eliminated, the mine-clearance operation on the liberated territory will become a priority, the ex-commander said.
"This means that engineering troops will also come in handy. The participation of Russia’s International Counter-Mine Center with the assistance of our commercial hi-tech companies selected through a tender after the conclusion of an agreement between Russia and Syria is being discussed," the senator said.