president Bashar al-Assad says Russia’s involvement in his country’s war
has led to significant changes, including the "shrinking" of the Islamic
State (IS) group.
Russia launched air strikes in late September in support of Mr Assad,
Mr Assad told Czech television that US air strikes on Syria had
not slowed IS, but that Russian bombing was doing so.
He also condemned the recent shooting down of a Russian warplane
Russia has been bombing rebel positions in Syria, but said on
launching the air strikes that its main target was IS.
The US said last month that most of the air strikes were against
"moderate Syrian opposition forces" opposed to Syria’s government.
Mr Assad said that since US air strikes on Syria began in
September last year, IS "has expanded and the recruiting from around the
world has increased".
He added: "Since the participation of Russia in the same fight
(...) Isis has been shrinking - and al-Nusra Front of course and the
other terrorist groups. The facts are telling." However, in September,
before Russia began its sorties, the US defence department said IS had
already lost up to 10% of its territory in Syria in a year.