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Syria, Russia Discuss Cooperation, Anti-Terror Ops.

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu met to discuss bilateral defense ties and an upcoming Damascus offensive to fully liberate the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor from the Wahhabi Daesh [Arabic acronym for "ISIS" / "ISIL"] terrorists.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu

During the Tuesday meeting in Damascus, Shoigu submitted a letter from Russian President Vladimir Putin to Assad, "congratulating him on lifting the siege" imposed by Daesh on Deir ez-Zor, the Syrian presidency said in a statement.

The two sides underlined their resolve to continue counter-terrorism efforts across Syria until terrorism is defeated completely, noting that the fate of the war in Syria will determine the future map of the region.

"During the meeting, the issues of military and military-technical cooperation were discussed in the context of the successful actions of the Syrian government troops with the support of the Russian Aerospace Forces" aimed at the complete destruction of Daesh, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Last week, Syrian government forces, backed up by Russia airstrikes, reached Deir ez-Zor on the Euphrates River, breaking a three-year terrorist siege on the city and a nearby air base.

Syrian soldiers are now preparing for a fresh offensive to cleanse Deir ez-Zor of Wahhabi Daesh militants. Reports said Monday that huge military reinforcements, including equipment, vehicles and troops, had been deployed to the city ahead of the new army push.

According to the Russian chief of staff in Syria, the Syrian government managed to liberate 85 percent of the country from the grip of terrorist groups.

In a bid to aid the Arab nation in its war against foreign-sponsored terrorism, Russia started a campaign in Syria in 2015 at the Damascus government's request.

Russian warplanes, based in Hmeymim, have so far significantly aided government troops in ridding Syria of the widespread militancy.

Assad and Shoigu further pointed to the upcoming Syrian peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana on Thursday and Friday, and discussed ways to strengthen de-escalation zones in Syria in an attempt to pave the ground for a lasting ceasefire.

The Astana peace process began in January, a month after the Syrian army and its allied forces dealt a fatal blow against the Takfiri militants in Aleppo.

The process, which is being mediated by Russia, Iran and Turkey, is aimed at facilitating local ceasefires in Syria and setting up de-escalation zones amid negotiations between the warring parties.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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