Russian-President-Putin-orders-withdrawal-of-troops-from-Syria. MOSCOW, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday said he will begin withdrawing troops from Syria this week as the peace process moves forward in the war-torn nation.
Putin had military forces in Syria for months, primarily to fight terrorist factions, to aid the regime of President Bashar Assad. Additionally, Moscow has pummeled parts of Syria with airstrikes for months.
On Monday, Putin said the need for military forces in Syria has shrunk and his government’s main objectives have largely been met, Russian news agency Tass reported.
“I think that the tasks set to the defense ministry are generally fulfilled. That is why I order to begin withdrawal of most of our military group from Syria starting from tomorrow,” he said during a meeting with Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Putin said Russian troops will begin leaving on Tuesday.
“Besides, our military, soldiers and officers demonstrated professionalism, teamwork and ability to organize combat work far away from their territory, having no common borders with the theater of war,” he added.
Putin acknowledged that the move to withdraw forces is, in part, aimed at facilitating the peace process, which is in the ceasefire phase.
United Nations special envoy Staffan Mistura has said peace talks between Assad’s regime and opposition forces are set to resume this week. The ceasefire began Feb. 26.
Both sides are hoping to reach a peace agreement to end the civil war that has ravaged Syria since 2011.
By Doug G. Ware