In a significant development, Russia has decided to pull out troops from Syria saying that they have achieved their goals in the country. Elaborating on the decision, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said: “I think that the task that was assigned to the Ministry of Defense and the armed forces as a whole has achieved its goal, and so I order the defense minister to start withdrawing the main part of our military factions from the Syrian Arab Republic.”
Russia had joined the Syrian war in the fight against the Islamic State in September 2015. Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad appreciated the professionalism and courage of the Russian forces, which took part in the military operations and thanked Russia for providing substantial help in fighting terrorism, and providing humanitarian assistance.
Russia also discussed its withdrawal plans with the US. According to a statement from the White House it said: “They discussed President Putin’s announcement of a partial withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria and next steps required to fully implement the cessation of hostilities with the goal of advancing the political negotiations on resolution of the conflict. President Obama welcomed the much-needed reduction in violence since the beginning of the cessation, but stressed that continuing offensive actions by Syrian regime forces risk undermining both the cessation of hostilities and the UN-led political process.”
Syria peace process
The ceasefire in Syria came into effect after nearly five years of war in the country. Many analysts view the decision of Mr Putin to withdraw troops as sending a message to Syrian and other forces in the region to reach a political solution. The peace talks in Geneva came into effect at the end of February.
Both Russia and the US had agreed on the terms and conditions for the ceasefire to come into effect. While Russia’s decision has been hailed by some analysts, others view it as Russia abandoning the fight.
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