flag_of_the_islamic_state_of_iraq_islamska država, zastava.png
Photograph: hr.wikipedia.org

The terrorist group Islamic State has lost control of 217 settlements since Russia began military intervention in Syria, Russian General Sergei Rudskoi said Friday.

"More than 1,000 square kilometres of territory" have been liberated from the Islamic State in the past 100 days, Rudskoi told journalists, according to state news agency TASS.

"The populace is returning to Syrian towns, and peaceful life is being restored," Rudskoi said.

Russian warplanes have performed more than 5,600 combat flights in Syria, and Russia is providing humanitarian aid to civilians there, he said.

Russia began a bombing campaign against Islamic State and other insurgents in September to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a longtime Russian ally.

On Thursday, the Russian Defence Ministry said that Russian and Syrian forces had flown their first joint combat mission against Islamic State.

Syrian-flown MiG-29 fighter jets provided cover for Russian Su-25 assault aircraft that bombed infrastructure facilities used by the terrorist group in Syria, the Defence Ministry said on its Facebook page.

A group of Syrian pilots recently visited Russia's principle airbase in Syria - Humaymim, near the border with Turkey - to drill interaction procedures and radio communication rules, the ministry said.

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