Russian President Vladimir Putin orders forces to start pulling out of Syria

Lucy Bush
December 14, 2017

The Russian president was met by his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu at the airbase, which houses Russian forces assisting Syria in the battle against Islamic State terrorists.

The announcement came as the Russian strongman made a surprise visit to Russia's Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province, Russian news agencies reported.

In 2016, the Russian leader claimed that the "the main part" of Russian armed forces in Syria would start to pull out from the country.

"In this connection, I made a decision: a significant part of the Russian military contingent in the Syrian Arab Republic will return home, to Russia", the Supreme Commander-in-Chief said.

President Vladimir Putin visits Khmeimim Air Base in Syria
Sputnik Michael Klimentyev Putin Orders Withdrawal of Russian Troops From Syria

The Russia president first deployed troops to Syria in September 2015 after starting an intervention in the Syrian civil war in support of Assad's government.

'Our homeland thanks you, my friends, ' Putin said, 'Have a safe trip.

"You have shown the best qualities of a Russian soldier - courage, valour, team spirit, decisiveness and excellent skills", he said.

And he added that if the "terrorists raise their heads" in Syria again, Russian Federation will hit them hard with powerful strikes - saying: "We will never forget about the deaths and losses sustained in the anti-terror fight both here in Syria and in Russian Federation".

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Putin and Assad were pictured smiling and shaking hands.

"I hope that together with Turkey and Iran we will succeed in restoring peaceful life and launch a political process to settle the situation in Syria", Putin said.

Russian Federation launched its air campaign in Syria at the end of September 2015, when Assad's government was teetering on the brink of collapse, and quickly changed the course of the conflict.

He told troops: "In a little more than two years Russia's armed forces, together with the Syrian army, have destroyed the most combat-effective group of global terrorists".

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Russian Federation is ready to deal a new blow to terrorists if they again try to break peace in Syria, Putin said.

In its turn Moscow has voiced concern over the move, with Putin saying earlier in the day at talks with Egypt's President Sisi that "long-term and fair agreements respecting the interests of both sides are needed" to solve the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

Putin is in Ankara on a working visit to discuss bilateral cooperation, as well as to exchange views over the situation in Syria and the crisis sparked by US President Donald Trump's declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

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Other reports by Info About Network

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