In this Friday, Sept. 15, 2017 photo a Russian soldier guards as a military helicopter flies over Palmyra, Syria. Government troops and their allies intensified an offensive Friday against Islamic State militants in central Syria, trying to consolidate their control on the area. Backed by Russian warplanes and fighters from Iranian-backed militias, the Syrian government has enjoyed a series of battlefield successes in recent weeks. It has seen an increase in the territory it controls from a low of only 19 percent of the country earlier this year to currently about 48 percent, according to the Observatory. (AP Photo)
Syria

Russia Declares Victory Over ISIS In Syria, Seeks Involvement in ISIS War in Iraq

Putin said the military operation in the area was now finished, and that the focus would switch to a political process that would eventually involve presidential and parliamentary elections.