06:49 GMT +313 December 2017
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    In this Friday, Sept. 15, 2017 file photo, a Russian soldier guards as a military helicopter flies over Palmyra, Syria

    Russia to 'Significantly' Reduce Military Presence in Syria - General Staff

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    The statement comes in the wake of the liberation of over 90 percent of the Syrian territory from terrorists.

    Russia is set to "significantly" reduce its military contingent in Syria, keeping two military bases — an airbase in Hmeymim and a naval base in Tartus — and the reconciliation center there, Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov has announced.

    "After the completion of the military tasks […] a decision will be made by the supreme commander-in-chief and the contingent will be reduced."

    Assad Tells Putin at Meeting: Syria Was Saved as a State Thanks to Russia

    The announcement came in the wake of the meeting between leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran, who adopted a joint statement, in which the three ceasefire regime guarantors urged to continue de-escalation efforts in Syria in the framework of the Astana process, with President Vladimir Putin saying that the Arab Republic's collapse has been prevented, while the civil war has almost stopped.

    Wednesday's negotiations came just a day after Syrian President Bashar Assad had paid a one-day visit to Russia to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and meet with the leadership of the Defense Ministry and the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, during which the leaders of the two countries noted the quick defeat of terrorists in the country and discussed the principles of holding the National Dialogue Congress in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi.

    While over 90 percent of the Syrian territory has been freed from terrorists, Assad noted that the aerial support provided by the Russian Aerospace Forces had been a key to resolving the conflict. 

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