Rabat - Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has ordered on Monday the withdrawal of the majority of Russian troops from Syria, saying the six-month military intervention “had largely achieved its objective.”
Rabat – Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has ordered on Monday the withdrawal of the majority of Russian troops from Syria, saying the six-month military intervention “had largely achieved its objective.”
“The task that was assigned to the Ministry of Defense and the armed forces as a whole has achieved its goal,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
The pullout, scaling back an intervention that began at the end of September, started on Tuesday.
The Russian expeditionary force began loading equipment and military material in larger aircrafts that will then fly to Russia.
According to Russia Today, the first group of warplanes, including Tupolev Tu-154 and Sukhoi Su-34 bombers have departed from the Latakia airbase.
While Russia’s stated goal was fighting terrorists like ISIS in Syria, but critics said that its role was actually helping its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, eliminate his opposition.
Now that the Syrian peace talks in Geneva are to start, Russia will withdraw gradually, after “it has done enough to protect its ally.”
Reuters cited Western diplomats as saying that “Putin may be trying to press Assad into accepting a political settlement to the war,” which has claimed the life of more than 250,000 people.
The same source added that “U.S. officials saw no sign yet of Russian forces preparing to pull out.”
The anti-Assad opposition didn’t believe Russia would really pull out from Syria, with a spokesman saying, “Nobody knows what is in Putin’s mind.”
It is unclear yet whether Russia would practically withdraw from Syria as Putin gave no deadline for the completion of the withdrawal. The Russian president added that the Russian “forces would remain at a seaport and airbase in Syria’s Latakia province.”