07:15 GMT17 February 2020
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    Russia does not seek to boost its military influence in the Middle East – after assisting the legitimate government of Syria to preserve sovereignty and integrity Moscow has started pulling out its troops of the region, Yang Mian, a political analyst at the Center for International Relations at the Chinese Institute of Communications, told Sputnik.

    Russia's decision to pull out of Syria indicates that Moscow has no intention to expand its sphere of influence, Yang Mian, a political analyst at the Center for International Relations at the Chinese Institute of Communications, told Sputnik China, adding that the Russian Army helped Syria preserve its statehood and sovereignty.

    "The war in Syria has been almost ended, Daesh [ISIS/ISIL] is defeated, the Syrian opposition also took part in the negotiations on the resolution of the problem. Russia's Aerospace Forces have accomplished most of its tasks in Syria; besides, there is the issue of cost for a long-term maintenance of the military base. Therefore, under these circumstances, [President Vladimir] Putin's decision to withdraw the military personnel [from Syria] was announced very opportunely," Yang summarized.

    Additionally, the United States and Iraq have already announced the end of the war on terrorism.

    On December 9, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) after the three-year long struggle against the terrorist group.

    "Honorable Iraqis: your land has been completely liberated. The dream of liberation is now a reality," al-Abadi said in an official statement.

    The announcement came two days after Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi, the head of the Russian General Staff, stated that "the task of destroying the Daesh militia in Syria by the Russian Armed Forces has been accomplished."

    The political analyst remarked that not all terrorist cells in Syria have been eradicated. According to Yang, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has gained enough experience to cope with its problem.

    The Chinese analyst also noted that the triumphant victory of the Russian armed forces over terrorists in Syria will be regarded as a great achievement of Putin on the eve of the upcoming 2018 presidential elections in Russia.

    Yang suggested that Moscow's decision to pull out of Syria will not have a big impact on the situation in the Middle Eastern country: "Russian tasks in Syria are fully implemented at this stage, and much depends now on the Syrian government and its ability to maintain domestic security and stability."

    Speaking to Radio Sputnik, professor Eyal Zisser, vice rector of Tel Aviv University and the holder of The Yona and Dina Ettinger chair in Contemporary History of the Middle East, shared a similar stance.

    According to Zisser, Damascus is capable of maintaining stability on its own, following Daesh's defeat. The academic opined that Putin's decision to withdraw Russian troops from Syria is a "message of trust" not only to the Syrians but to Moscow's regional allies, Turkey and Iran — the participants of the Astana format.

    "The Russians said from the early beginning that they came to fight for a reason, to defeat ISIS [Daesh]. They have no intention to establish any sort of military presence in Syria. So it's quite logical that when the mission was accomplished, ISIS [Daesh] was defeated, there is no need for such level of presence," Zisser stressed.

    On December 11, while on an official visit in Syria's Latakia President Putin announced the withdrawal of the Russian military contingent after a two-year-long military operation which started on September 30, 2015.

    "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, praising Russian Aerospace Forces servicemen for performing brilliantly and "returning home with victory."

    The views and opinions expressed by Yang Mian are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    terrorists, stability, peace, withdrawal, Daesh, Russian Aerospace Forces, Sergei Rudskoi, Vladimir Putin, Syria, Iraq, United States, Russia, Middle East
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