Bloomberg reports: President Vladimir Putin ordered the “main part” of Russia’s military forces to begin withdrawing from Syria, saying it’s completed its primary objectives after an almost six-month campaign.
Russia, which has urged Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad to be “constructive” during the latest round of peace talks, should begin the pullout on Tuesday, Putin said. A Russian air base and a naval facility will continue to function, he said in Moscow. Assad has been informed of the withdrawal, said Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov.
“The effective work of our military created the conditions for the beginning the peace process,” Putin said during talks with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. “I hope today’s decision will be a good signal to all the conflicting sides. I hope this will significantly increase the level of confidence of all participants of the settlement process in Syria and will contribute to the solution of the Syrian issue through peaceful means.” [Continue reading…]