(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Around 90 percent of Syria has been liberated from terrorist groups, according to Andrey Novikov, said the head of the Commonwealth of Independent States Anti-Terrorism Center.
"According to the estimates of the military, 90 percent of Syria's territory has been freed of terrorist groups, which is a very positive result," Andrey Novikov said.
After suffering losses in Syria, ISIS terrorists have been relocating to Pakistan, he added. The number of armed extremist individuals decreased in Syria, he said, adding that the terrorists are changing their tactics as well as “the geography of activities.”
"Relocation of significant ISIS forces from Syria to Iraq to the territory of Waziristan (Pakistan) with further redistribution observed since the fall of 2016. In other words, resolution of military and political tasks in Syria lowers the number of armed radical individuals physically on one hand, but on the other it forces ISIS to not only change their tactics but also the geography of upcoming activities," Novikov said.
"The majority of terrorists will return to their origin countries, or go to other states (both CIS and the European Union) via the routes they used to leave for conflict zones. In practice, this means using connecting flights from Turkey to airports of Commonwealth’s [CIS] cities. Special research shows that the Balkan route is especially in demand," the head of the Commonwealth of Independent States Anti-Terrorism Center added.
According to Novikov, Hungary and Poland are also used as transit countries, as well as Romania and Switzerland to a lesser extent.
In early September, the Syrian government troops, backed by Russian airstrikes, broke a three-year ISIS blockade to the west and south of Deir ez-Zor. On Monday, the Syrian Army crossed the Euphrates River with the support of the Russian Aerospace Forces near Deir ez-Zor, dislodging militants from a number of settlements, and are currently developing an offensive eastward.
Syrian forces are currently engaged in in a fierce battle against ISIS Takfiri terrorists in Raqqa, the terror group’s de facto capital in the Arab country, in a bid to dislodge them from the embattled city, which was overrun by Takfiri elements in March 2013.