MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia's military said on Thursday it had carried out its mission of defeating Islamic State in Syria, and there were no remaining settlements under the group's control.
Russian bombers had used an unprecedented force in the final stages to finish off the militant group , a senior Russian officer said.
"The mission to defeat bandit units of the Islamic State terrorist organization on the territory of Syria, carried out by the armed forces of the Russian Federation, has been accomplished," Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoi, head of the general staff's operations , said on Rossiya 24 TV channel.
Syrian government forces were now combing and de-mining areas where Islamic State had had their strongholds, he said.
"The final stage of the defeat of the terrorists was accompanied by the unprecedented deployment and intense combat use of Russia's air force," he said. The air strikes included 14 sorties of groups of long-range bombers from Russia made in the past month, he said.
Russia's military deployed in Syria would now focus on preserving ceasefires and restoring peaceful life, he said.
Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Christian Lowe and Richard Balmforth