Published: Wed, December 13, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Russia-Syria: Putin orders start of pullout from Syria

Russia-Syria: Putin orders start of pullout from Syria

President Vladimir Putin ordered "a significant part" of Russia's military contingent in Syria to start withdrawing on Monday, saying Moscow and Damascus had achieved their mission of destroying Islamic State in just over two years.

Assad praised Russia's efforts to aid his government and said Syrian people would never forget the country's help.

Russian Federation launched its military operation in Syria on September 30, 2015, at the request of President Bashar Assad and has helped Damascus to clear the cities of Aleppo, Palmyra, as well as the Deir ez-Zor province and other regions.

"The battalion of military police from the southern military district (of Russia) deployed to the Syrian Arab Republic has been flown by two military planes to Makhachkala (the capital of Dagestan) airport", the Russian army said in a statement.

In Turkey, Putin and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plan to discuss bilateral issues, including joint energy projects, as well as the conflict in Syria and the broader situation in the Middle East, the Kremlin said.

"You are returning with victory to your native homes, to your relatives, parents, wives, children, friends", Putin said in an address to Russian troops at the Hemeimeem air base shown on state television.

Putin's assertion that Russian troops will soon begin withdrawing from Syria is not without precedent.

"This war began for political reasons", said Golts.

"In two years, the Russian armed forces, together with the Syrian army, have defeated the most combat-capable group of global terrorists", Putin said in a speech at the Hmeimim air base in Syria, where his country has and will have a permanent presence.

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While Turkey has backed the anti-regime opposition and Russian Federation along with Iran is the main worldwide supporter of Damascus, Putin and Erdogan have worked closely to resolve the Syrian conflict in recent months.

What comes next, he said, will be a political resolution to the Syrian civil war, and Russian Federation wants to make sure it has a clear role of influence in a future Syria.

Negotiations are continuing in Geneva and Astana and the position of Russian Federation will surely be a game changer for a brokered peace, according to experts.

But Russia and Turkey could eventually come at loggerheads on the future presence of the Syrian Kurds at the negociating table. He added that within two years, the Russian and Syrian armies "have defeated the toughest group of global terrorists".

The announcement comes after the defence ministry said last week that Russian Federation had "completely liberated" Syria from the Isil, despite reports that the jihadist group still controls some remote territory in the country.

"In essence, the operation to save Syria and liberate the territory of Syria from terrorists has been completed, and there is no longer any need to use large-scale combat potential".

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told NTV news channel on Tuesday that his government has provided the Russian side a list of Syrian Kurdish opposition groups that Ankara would not object in the Syrian National Dialogue Congress initiative led by the Kremlin.

"YPG represents only a fraction of Kurds in Syria".

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