Press TV — Oct 18, 2018
Russian President Vladimir Putin warns that Daesh is expanding its presence in the Syrian regions controlled by Washington and its allied Kurdish militants, revealing that the Takfiri terror outfit has managed to take hundreds of people hostage in those areas, including the US’s own citizens.
Speaking in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi on Thursday, the Russian leader said Daesh had taken nearly 700 people, including several European and US nationals, captive in areas on the east bank of the Euphrates River, where the US runs military bases.
Daesh has already executed some of the hostages and promised that it would kill off the rest, said Putin, lambasting Washington for staying conspicuously silent on this tragedy “as if nothing has happened.”
This is just horrible, it is a catastrophe,” emphasized the Russian leader.
Putin added that the Takfiri terrorists “have issued ultimatums, specific demands and warned that if these ultimatums are not met, they will execute 10 people every day. The day before yesterday they executed 10 people.” The Russian leader, however, did not specify what the Daesh’s demands were.
The American forces “have clearly fallen short of their target,” which has been declared as eliminating Daesh terrorists in Syria, Putin said.
He added that Washington and its allies apparently failed to combat Takfiri terrorists in the parts of Syria they occupy, with Daesh continuing to expand its presence there.
The US, along with a coalition of its allies, has been conducting airstrikes inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate. It has repeatedly been accused of targeting Syrian civilians and infrastructure.
On the contrary, Russia has been providing the Syrian army with both advisory and on-the-ground assistance in its counter-terrorism battles. Thanks to that help, Syrian armed forces have managed to liberate most of their homeland from the clutches of terrorists.
Putin further said Russia, unlike the US, had dealt a “heavy blow” to terrorists in Syria, eliminating many of them and forcing others to surrender their arms to advancing Syrian government troops.
“Over these years, we liberated almost 95 percent of the Syrian Republic’s territory,” he said, adding, “We maintained its sovereignty and did not let [the Syrian] state fall apart.”
Putin further stressed that Russia’s counter-terrorism actions in Syria – which come at the request of the legitimate government in Damascus — helped “stabilize the situation in the region.”
The mid-northern parts of Syria are under the control of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-dominated alliance of militants receiving arms and training from the US.
The SDF militants, mainly active in the eastern part of the Euphrates River, are purportedly fighting against the remnants of Daesh, which has already been driven out of all its urban bastions both in Iraq and Syria.
Damascus, however, regards them as occupying forces since they refused to return the areas they captured from Daesh to government control.
Back in June, the Russian military said that the last pockets of land occupied by Daesh were “only in areas controlled by the US.”
It had also said in March that the US had set up around 20 military bases in areas controlled by the Kurdish militants.
Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the US is seeking to use its allies in Syria, especially the Kurds, in order to establish a quasi-state east of the Euphrates River and create illegal structures there.