RAQQA /Syria/, December 26. /TASS/. Russian military police officers entered a rear base, abandoned by US servicemen, in the Syrian village of Tal Samin - a strategic district at the intersection of roads connecting the provincial capital Raqqa with Syria’s central and northern regions.
Tal Samin is located 26 km north of Raqqa, the former capital of the Islamic State terrorist organization (outlawed in Russia). Just a few days ago, US troops were still present in the rear base, located in a former school building. According to the Syrian authorities, militants used the region’s important roads to transport weapons and ammunition when the area was under US control.
"By the end of the day, the unit will be stationed and, in a manner of speaking, we will carry out patrols and solve tasks to protect local civilians starting from today," Russian military officer Arman Mambetov said after the Russian flag was hoisted above the base.
When IS terrorists seized the city of Raqqa, the center of the namesake province, in the spring of 2013, at least 250,000 people fled from there. In 2014, Raqqa was proclaimed to be the ‘capital’ of the Islamic State. Executions were held in the central city square Al Naim. The bodies of IS terror victims are still being discovered in the city and beyond its limits.
The US-led international coalition launched its operation to liberate Raqqa in the fall of 2017. The US air strikes almost wiped the city off the face of the earth. In March 2018, the UN commission published a report according to which up to 13,000 civilian residents and just 1,000 terrorists were killed during the operation. The massive strikes by the coalition’s artillery and aviation destroyed 80% of dwellings in the city, including all educational and medical facilities, and almost all mosques.