The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies liberated 3,332km2 from militants in southwestern Syria, the head of the Russian General Staff Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi said during a press briefing on August 2.
According to Col. Gen. Rudskoi, government forces restored control of 146 settlements. 50 of them were liberated by peaceful means after negotiations with local armed groups.
Under the surrender deals, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other armed groups handed over 650 pieces of military hardware to the SAA. This number includes 39 battle tanks, 28 infantry fighting vehicles and armoured personnel carriers, 10 Shilka self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, 35 anti-aircraft guns, 17 multiple launch rocket systems, 60 machine guns and 23 anti-tank missile launchers.
9,652 people, including 4,297 fighters of the militant groups, withdrew from the area towards the militant-held part of the province of Idlib.
Col. Gen. Rudskoi described an SAA operation against ISIS east of the Golan Heights as “rapid” and noted that 160 ISIS members surrendered to government forces.
The col. gen. also noted that a unit of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) escorted by the Russian Military Police made its first in last six years patrol at the separation line between Syrian and Israeli forces.
According to Col. Gen. Rudskoi, the Russian Military Police established eight observation posts along in front of the UNDOF to prevent provocations.
He also adressed situation in the Idlib de-escalation where militants continue violating the ceasefire agreement targeting government troops positions and civilian areas in Aleppo, Hama and the mountain region of Latakia.
Col. Gen. Rudskoi further noted that there is a growing group of ISIS members in the areas surrounding the US-held zone of al-Tanf. From this zone, ISIS militants are carrying out attacks on targets in the provinces of al-Suwayda and Damascus as well as trying to organize raid against targets in the provinces of Homs and Deir Ezzor.