Russia says Syria government controls 85 percent of country

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Russia's military says Syrian troops have liberated about 85 percent of the war-torn country' territory from militants.

Lt. Gen. Alexander Lapin told reporters on Tuesday at Hemeimeem air base near the Syrian coastal city of Latakia that Syrian government forces have yet to clear the remaining 15 percent, approximately 27,000 square kilometers (10,425 square miles) from the extremists.

Russia has been providing air cover for President Bashar Assad's offensive against Islamic State group militants since 2015 and the support has changed the tide of the war.

Syrian troops, along with strong support from Iranian-backed ground fighters, have in recent weeks pushed out IS militants from the central Homs province, near the border with Lebanon, and are now fighting them in the oil-rich Deir el-Zour province in the east.