According to Russian state television the Russian backed forces liberated over 400 cities and towns since the beginning of the operations on the 30th of September when the West was taken by surprise by such a resolute Russian action. Putin recently addressed Russian army officers after they returned home: The Syrian army took the strategic initiative in its hands and keeps clearing its land from terrorist groupings. Russia created [using its air force] the foundation for a peaceful transition. We managed to put in place a working agreement with the United States of America […] as well as with the responsible opposition forces on the ground who are truly willing to stop the war. Putin thanked the soldiers for promptly responding to the motherland’s call to action. It’s important here to point out that great emphasis is placed all the time on the military component of Russian power, and respect is always paid to war veterans in the public discourse. This is carefully matched by the US if you look at their almost idolatry towards those who served in the US army .
Putin continued adding that it would be a mistake to think about this war as an alien one to Russia. The main goal of our campaign was to stop global terror from expanding and spreading to Russia. The national border is only 700 km away from the ISIS controlled territory, which according to some estimates reaches almost 90.000 square kilometers. For as much as people in the west won’t like it we need to give some credit to the Russians. They have always said that their aim in Syria was fight ISIS, not in the name of what frequently the US advocates as the excuse to intervene, the spread of democracy, but rather imminent threat to Russian national security embodied by the over 7000 people from former Soviet republics now fighting alongside the terrorists in Iraq and Syria.