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Gerasimov Refutes Ash Carter’s Claim that Russia Has Done ‘Virtually Zero’ Against ISIS in Syria

Jan. 11, 2017 (EIRNS)—Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian General Staff, reported, yesterday, that Russian warplanes in Syria have flown 19,160 sorties, delivering 71,000 strikes against terrorist targets.

"Our aviation targeted militants’ training camps, ammunition factories and workshops, and also illegal oil-extraction facilities of terrorists of the ISIL"

he said, adding that the Russian air task force

"destroyed more than 200 such objectives, 174 oil refineries, and 111 oil tank convoys." In Gerasimov’s estimate, "this helped both disrupt the system of ISIL illegal armed formations’ supply and deprive them of their basic source of revenues."

With the support of Russia’s air task force, the Syrian government troops have liberated 12,360 square kilometers of Syria’s territory and 499 communities since the start of its operation, the chief of the General Staff said.

"The actions by our air task force started on September 30, 2015, have reversed the course of the struggle against terrorism in the Syrian Arab Republic,"

he noted.

"Over this period, large illegal armed formations were routed near Hama and Homs. The province of Latakia has been freed from militants, the liberation of Damascus suburbs is nearing completion, and the basic transport artery linking the capital with the country’s north has been unblocked. The cities of Aleppo and Al-Karyatein that are of key significance have been liberated"

Gerasimov said.

And, in what was an obvious rebuke to Ash Carter, who claimed during a Jan. 8 appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, that the Russian military deployment in Syria has done next to nothing against ISIS, Gerasimov said that the U.S.-led coalition was far less effective.

"They [the US-led coalition] have not achieved any significant success. At the same time, a large number of civilian deaths as well as Syrian government troops’ deaths has been recorded"

Gerasimov noted, referring to the Sept. 17, 2016, U.S.-led air strike on Syrian troops in Deir Ezzor.

"The latest in a sequence of such attacks took place on Jan. 3 when a B-52 bomber targeted the town of Sarmada in the Idlib province without previously notifying Russia, although the ceasefire agreement applies to this area. This attack killed over 20 civilians."