04:46 GMT +324 February 2017
    President Putin holds meeting on economic issues

    Putin Orders Start of Withdrawal From Syria Beginning Tuesday

    © Sputnik/ Alexei Druzhinin
    Middle East
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced that Moscow will begin withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria.

    On Monday, President Putin indicated that the Kremlin will start withdrawing its main forces in Syria, saying that the military has largely achieved its objectives.

    "I think that the task that was assigned to the Ministry of Defense and the armed forces as a whole has achieved its goal, and so I order the defense minister to start tomorrow withdrawing the main part of our military factions from the Syrian Arab Republic," President Putin said during a meeting with the Russian Defense and Foreign Ministries, according to RIA Novosti.

    The withdrawal will begin on Tuesday.

    "With the participation of the Russian military…the Syrian armed forces and patriotic Syrian forces have been able to achieve a fundamental turnaround in the fight against international terrorism and have taken the initiative in almost all respects," the Russian president said.

    "There has been a significant turning point in the fight against terrorism," Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

    Putin expressed hope that this decision will encourage all parties involved in the Syrian conflict to pursue a peaceful resolution.

    "I ask the ministry of foreign affairs to intensify the participation of the Russian Federation in the organization of the peace process towards a solution to the Syrian crisis," Putin said.

    Moscow will, however, maintain a military presence in Syria, and a deadline for complete withdrawal has not yet been announced. Putin also indicated that Russian forces will remain at the port of Tartus and Hmeymim airbase in Latakia.

    "Our bases of operations — our naval base in Tartus and our air base at Hmeymim — will operate as usual. They should be protected from land, sea, and air," Putin said. "That part of our military group has traditionally been in Syria over the course of many years, and today will have to perform a very important function in monitoring the ceasefire and creating conditions for the peace process."

    According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Russia has informed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of the decision. A statement from Assad's office stresses that the Kremlin has nonetheless pledged to continue its support for Syria in "confronting terrorism."

    Assad also recognized the "professionalism, courage and heroism" of Russian Army soldiers and officers and thanked Moscow for its extensive help in fighting terrorism and in providing humanitarian relief and assistance to the civilian population of Syria.

    During the phone call, both Assad and Putin agreed that the ceasefire has led to significant reduction in bloodshed, and the humanitarian situation has improved.

    "The sides expressed shared opinion that the implementation of the ceasefire in Syria has helped to sharply reduce the bloodshed and to improve the humanitarian situation in the country," the Kremlin press service said in a statement.

    Assad also expressed hope that peace talks in Geneva will lead to concrete results, and stressed the need for a political process in Syria.

    Earlier on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow's anti-terrorist air campaign created the conditions for political process on Syrian reconciliation.

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    • avatar
      Russia starts withdrawal on Tuesday. I give it until the next Tuesday before these slack jawed maggots called the U.S. military join the disgusting Saudis and the idiot Turks to invade Syria again. They're really good at wiping out people who can't defend themselves.
    • avatar
      Sputnik either removes my comments, or removes the article after my comment. So here it is.

      As I have said on many occasions, and attacked by others for my negative comments, Russia always sells out when the price is right.

      Russia backstabbed Iran so many times that only our Dahati turban-heads are stupid enough to trust them, or corrupt enough to sign contract with Russia for kickback.

      The signs were there when Russia started to talk about including the Kurds in negotiations. The skirt-wearing Kurds have a single aim of carving out a country at the expense of three other countries. Just like South Sudan which was carved out mostly by Israel with Israeli flags everywhere, the so-called Kurdistan will be a front for Israel against Iran.

      Saudis successfully bribed Russia, like they do other disgraced leaders, and Russia is slowly creeping out of Syria, leaving only Iran to fight against the bastards of the planet.

      I still wonder how a country with so few friends continues to backstab its allies just to sell Gas, and maybe a few other stuff. Ignoring long term consequences of disgraceful behavior Russia seem to make the same mistake over.

      With the removal of the weak Medvedev we thought Russia was back to power and leadership. But it was short lived.
    • avatar
      And the sits the US looking like completely inept hypocritical fools!
    • avatar
      cohedavidin reply toFulvio Nylund(Show commentHide comment)
      Fulvio Nylund, Maybe they were not invited?
      But I agree, if they had, Libya would have been saved. Pride on Gadaffi's part may have been a factor ....
    • Baybarsin reply toIranianExpat1916(Show commentHide comment)
      IranianExpat1916, And you wonder why your posts are removed... Who do you consider a righteous leader and what country should all others emulate in your opinion?
    • FlorianGeyer
      "Unbeknownst to those opposition supporters, the Russian Air Force is not going anywhere; in fact, the Russian Federation is only withdrawing its ground forces that were primarily stationed in Latakia to protect their aerial assets."

      www.almasdarnews.com/article/russia-withdraws-ground-troops-not-air-force | Al-Masdar News

      If this report is correct ,it indicates that the Russian efforts against the Turkish supported Al Nusra / DAESH will continue. Perhaps some of the Russian trainers could now help the US pilots to actually hit their targets and not a pile of sand,lol.
    • avatar
      Please Mr. Putin, say it ain't so, don't leave, that's what Erdogan, the US, ISIS, and their Royal gulf supporters want, like wolves ready pounce on an already tired Syria, but this might not be it, maybe Putin has something planned.
    • avatar
      mvlazysusanin reply toIranianExpat1916(Show commentHide comment)
      You forgot to mention how the sooner the war on Syria is over, the sooner Iranian pipe-gas/oil will be taking European market share and competing against Russia in price.
    • FlorianGeyer

      All is not as it seems it seems. I would think that fresh Syrian artillerymen are now fully trained and the weapons will be left for them to use.

      It is important that non Muslim ground troops are withdrawn as soon as practicable in the Middle east as their mere presence is helping DAESH recruit Takfiri zealots.
    • A = π r 2
      relax - Putin knows what to do
    • avatar
      putin --- YOU FAILED ! !
    • avatar
      Putin didn't say Russia was ceasing all activity, just that the specific stage was evolving into another purpose/stage.
    • avatar
      I think it is too premature to withdraw. The enemy are regrouping and as soon as Russia is gone, it is going to spark again.
    • avatar
      wendigoin reply tomichael(Show commentHide comment)
      michael, I am also waiting for the other shoe to drop. Did the us promise Russia something?
    • avatar
      michaelin reply towendigo(Show commentHide comment)
      wendigo, we may find out in the next few weeks...?
    • avatar
      Veni, vidi, vici.
    • avatar
      Russians are teaching Americans and NATO how R2P should be done.

      You don't do all the fight for long time and don't keep military presence forever. IF you do that, it's not R2P.
    • avatar
      justnfreein reply toIranianExpat1916(Show commentHide comment)
      IranianExpat1916, I don't think Russians in Syria must have acted like Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. Russia came to help Syria, not stay and run the country forever. Actually that how Iranians would have preferred it. Not to mention cost of long time military presence in Syria which weighs heavily on Russia considering lower oil prices.
      But you can be sure Russian will continue supplying Syrian army with modern weapons and equipment needed to fight NATOGCC backed terrorists.
    • klod.infobeezin reply toIranianExpat1916(Show commentHide comment)
      IranianExpat1916, Expat ? Hmmm ? Why don't you go back home to explain all that ? Bribed by the Saudites, whow... You mean this bankrupt country somewhere in the middle-east ?
    • avatar
      bangein reply tojustnfree(Show commentHide comment)
      justnfree, You are right. Russian are leaving because they are seeing that opposition groups that have accepted the cease fire will actually join the Syrian army and fight daesh and other bad guys. It is also to show to late comer countries to the fight that there is no too much left for the Syrian to finish the war. That means there is no need to come in, stay away like we are doing now.
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