NORTH Korea has the world’s undivided attention as Kim Jong-un’s hermit regime blasts missiles miles out to sea – but while military powers watch the peninsula, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is seeking power elsewhere.
The Russian military announced on Sunday the city of as-Sukhnah (al-Sukhneh) has now been fully liberated from ISIS after being taken in 2015.
In a massive strategic defeat over daesh, Assad’s army has made a major inroad to the besieged enclave of Deir ez-Zor.
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“Over the past two months, the territories controlled by Damascus have grown by 250 percent.
“We’ve started persuading our American colleagues that terrorists should be separated from opposition to understand where to strike… Establishing the de-escalation zones today is exactly this separation.”
“There are no bandits there. And if there are bandits in it, the opposition which is within a de-escalation zone, should fight them.”
An airbase by Deir ez-Zor is being supplied and equipped by the Kremlin, months after army positions were bombed by the US in 2016.
Shoigu said the liberation of as-Sukhnah is a “significant gain” for Assad troops.
However, calls for the Assad regime to be toppled by the west have died down, after he was accused of a chemical attack on civilians and mass human rights abuses.
Many people fleeing the nation have said they were arbitrarily detained by Assad’s men and jailed for no reason. Some claim their families were killed by Government forces without a trial or evidence of wrongdoing.
Yet the Kremlin is keen to support Assad.
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Meanwhile, the Pentagon is focused on the looming threat from North Korea after Pyongyang declared it could hit US territory Guam with warheads – and could even hit Chicago.
The Russian MoD said Syrian troops pushed IS out of western and northern parts of as-Sukhnah over two days.