Russia’s Putin orders to start withdrawal of forces from Syria

Photo: AP


Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the military to withdraw the “main part” of their forces in Syria, saying they had largely achieved their goals, the BBC reports.

He told a meeting at the Kremlin that the pullout would start on Tuesday.

The comments come amid fresh peace talks in Geneva aimed at resolving the Syrian conflict.

Russia is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Kremlin said he had been informed.

Mr Putin also said that Russia’s Hmeimim airbase and the its port at Tartus would continue to operate as normal.

He said both must be protected “from land, air and sea”.

“Our bases — the naval base in Tartus and the airbase at the Khmeimim airfield — will operate in a routine mode. They are to be safely protected from the land, from the sea and from air,” he told the defense and foreign ministers, according to TASS.

Those Russian servicemen who will stay in Syria will be engaged in monitoring the ceasefire regime, Putin added.

The Russian president said he hopes the start of the withdrawal of Russian troops will become a good motivation for launching negotiations between political forces of that country and instructed the foreign minister to intensify Russia’s participation in organization of peace process in Syria.

“I hope today’s decision will be a good signal for all conflicting parties. I hope it will sizably increase trust of all participants in the process,” the president said.  “I ask the Russian Foreign Ministry to intensify Russia’s participation in organizing the peace process to solve the Syrian problem,” he added.

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