TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Russia’s military said Tuesday that Syrian troops have retaken about 85 percent of the territory once controlled by Takfiri militants.

“To date, 85 percent of Syria’s territory has been cleared of the militants of illegal armed groups,” Alexander Lapin, chief of staff of the Russian military contingent in Syria, said, Ria Novosti reported.

Lapin said Daesh (ISIL) militants are still in control of around 27,000 square km of Syria’s territory.

“Syrian troops are finalizing the defeat of (Daesh) blocking the northern and southern districts of Deir ez-Zor,” Lapin said.

 He said the assault was being led by Gen. Suheil al-Hassan, a Syrian officer who has risen to prominence in the war.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu held talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad Tuesday focusing on plans to recapture Deir ez-Zor city and to “strengthen efforts to combat terrorism in all Syrian territory until its utter annihilation,” Assad’s office said.

Syrian government forces last week reached Deir ez-Zor city, the provincial capital on the Euphrates River, breaking a Daesh siege of a government-held pocket and an important nearby air base.