Monday, March 14, 2016

Putin Orders Start of Withdrawal From Syria Starting Tuesday

President Putin holds meeting on economic issues

© Sputnik/ Alexei Druzhinin
Middle East

Russian President Vladimir Putin has confirmed that Moscow will begin withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria.

On Monday, President Putin indicated that the Kremlin will start withdrawing its main forces in Syria, saying that the military has largely achieved its objectives.
"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 tomorrow withdrawing the main part of our military factions from the Syrian Arab Republic," President Putin said during a meeting with the Russian Defense and Foreign Ministries, according to RIA Novosti.
The withdrawal will begin on Tuesday.
Putin expressed hope that this decision will encourage all parties involved in the Syrian conflict to pursue a peaceful resolution.
"I ask the ministry of foreign affairs to intensify the participation of the Russian Federation in the organization of the peace process towards a solution to the Syrian crisis," Putin said.
Moscow will, however, maintain a military presence in Syria, and a deadline for complete withdrawal has not yet been announced.
According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has informed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of the decision.
During the phone call, both Assad and Putin agreed that the ceasefire has led to significant reduction in bloodshed, and the humanitarian situation has improved. Assad also expressed hope that peace talks in Geneva will lead to concrete results, and stressed the need for a political process in Syria.
Earlier on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow's anti-terrorist air campaign created the conditions for political process on Syrian reconciliation.

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