Vladimir Putin's Surprise Visit to Hmeymim Airbase Amid Victory Over Daesh

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On Monday morning, the Russian president arrived at the Hmeymim base in Latakia province for the first time since 2015, when the anti-terrorist operation was launched in the Arab Republic. Take a look at the highlights of the official event in Sputnik’s photo gallery.

During his first visit to the Hmeymim base in more than two years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria and held a separate meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad at the base.

© Sputnik / Michael Klimentyev / Go to the photo bankRussian President Vladimir Putin aboard the presidential plane during a flight to the Hmeymim Airbase in Syria on December 11, 2017.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin aboard the presidential plane during a flight to the Hmeymim Airbase in Syria on December 11, 2017.
© Sputnik / Go to the photo bankAt the base, Putin was met by Syrian President Bashar Assad, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the commander of the Russian group of forces in Syria, Col. Gen. Sergei Surovikin (right).
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At the base, Putin was met by Syrian President Bashar Assad, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the commander of the Russian group of forces in Syria, Col. Gen. Sergei Surovikin (right).
© Sputnik / Michael Klimentyev / Go to the photo bankRussian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar Assad (left) during a meeting at the Hmeymim Airbase in Syria on December 11, 2017.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar Assad (left) during a meeting at the Hmeymim Airbase in Syria on December 11, 2017.
© Sputnik / Mikhail Klimentyev / Go to the photo bankSyrian President Bashar Assad and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) at the Hmeymim Airbase in Syria on December 11, 2017.
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Syrian President Bashar Assad and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) at the Hmeymim Airbase in Syria on December 11, 2017.
© Sputnik / Michael Klimentyev / Go to the photo bank"I instruct the Defense Minister, the head of the General Staff to begin the withdrawal of the Russian troop contingents back to the places of their permanent location," Putin said.
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"I instruct the Defense Minister, the head of the General Staff to begin the withdrawal of the Russian troop contingents back to the places of their permanent location," Putin said.
© Sputnik / Michael Klimentyev / Go to the photo bankSpeaking to servicemen, Putin praised their work, saying that they have demonstrated "courage, heroism, coordination, determination, brilliant training and high professionalism."
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Speaking to servicemen, Putin praised their work, saying that they have demonstrated "courage, heroism, coordination, determination, brilliant training and high professionalism."
© Sputnik / Mikhail Klimentyev / Go to the photo bankRussian President Vladimir Putin, Syrian President Bashar Assad and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu are photographed with Russian servicemen during a visit to the Hmeymim Airbase in Syria on December 11, 2017.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin, Syrian President Bashar Assad and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu are photographed with Russian servicemen during a visit to the Hmeymim Airbase in Syria on December 11, 2017.
© Sputnik / Go to the photo bankDuring the meeting, Assad thanked Putin for the effective assistance in the country's fight against terrorism. "The achievements that have taken place are very significant, very important for us. The victories that have been achieved have affected not only our state, but also neighboring countries," the Syrian president said.
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During the meeting, Assad thanked Putin for the effective assistance in the country's fight against terrorism. "The achievements that have taken place are very significant, very important for us. The victories that have been achieved have affected not only our state, but also neighboring countries," the Syrian president said.
© Sputnik / Michael Klimentyev / Go to the photo bankRussian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to the Hmeymim Airbase in Syria on December 11, 2017.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to the Hmeymim Airbase in Syria on December 11, 2017.
© Sputnik / Michael Klimentyev / Go to the photo bankThe commander of the Russian group of forces in Syria, Col. Gen. Sergei Surovikin reported on the results of the operation, which lasted 227 days.
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The commander of the Russian group of forces in Syria, Col. Gen. Sergei Surovikin reported on the results of the operation, which lasted 227 days.
© Sputnik / Michael Klimentyev / Go to the photo bankRussian servicemen during the visit of President Vladimir Putin at the Hmeymim Airbase in Syria on December 11, 2017.
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Russian servicemen during the visit of President Vladimir Putin at the Hmeymim Airbase in Syria on December 11, 2017.
© Sputnik / Go to the photo bankRussian President Vladimir Putin, Syrian President Bashar Assad (left) and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at the Hmeymim Airbase in Syria on December 11, 2017.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin, Syrian President Bashar Assad (left) and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at the Hmeymim Airbase in Syria on December 11, 2017.
© Sputnik / Michael Klimentyev / Go to the photo bankRussian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar Assad (right) at the Hmeymim Airbase in Syria on December 11, 2017.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar Assad (right) at the Hmeymim Airbase in Syria on December 11, 2017.
© Sputnik / Michael Klimentyev / Go to the photo bankRussian President Vladimir Putin is photographed with Russian servicemen during a visit to the Hmeymim Airbase in Syria on December 11, 2017.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin is photographed with Russian servicemen during a visit to the Hmeymim Airbase in Syria on December 11, 2017.
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