Putin ordered the withdrawal of troops from Syria and focus on peace talks

Putin ordered the withdrawal of troops from Syria and focus on peace talks

MOSCOW, March 14. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to begin March 15 conclusion of the main part of the Russian troops from Syria. At the same time the head of state instructed the Minister of foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov to intensify Russia’s participation in organizing the peace settlement process in Syria.

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The decision on the withdrawal of troops, coordinated by Moscow with Damascus, made possible by the fact that the Russian group has achieved in front of her principal tasks, Putin stressed in a telephone conversation with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

In Washington and European capitals, for whom Putin’s decision was, apparently, a complete surprise, while abstain from estimations of the decision of the Russian President can influence the process of settlement of the Syrian conflict.

“Command to start withdrawing”

“I think the tasks set before the Ministry of defence. Therefore, I order you tomorrow to start the withdrawal of the main part of our military groups of the Syrian Arab Republic”, – said the head of state on Monday evening at a meeting with Russian foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

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The President stressed that the Russian points in Tartus and air Hamim should continue to work as usual. “Our locations – the sea in Tartous and aviation at the airport Hamim – will function as usual. They should be protected from land, sea and air”, set the task of the commander-in-chief.

Putin added that remaining in Syria, the Russian military will be engaged in the monitoring of compliance with the ceasefire.”Part of our military group was in Syria traditionally for many previous years, but this will have to perform a very important function of monitoring the ceasefire and creating conditions for peace process,” – said the head of state.

He commended the actions of the Russian military, noting that they “showed professionalism, consistency, ability to organize work fighting away from its territory with a military theatre of operations General borders.”

The head of state stressed that during the operations in Russia have managed to create a small but effective military grouping. “Effective work of our military has created the conditions for the start of the peace process,” the President said.

Turned the tide and seized the initiative

“With the participation of Russian military forces and the Syrian Patriotic forces of Syria have managed to radically turn the tide in the fight against international terrorism and to seize the initiative in almost all areas”, – said Putin.

Russian troops killed in Syria’s more than 2 thousand fighters, who were natives of Russia, including 17 field commanders, reported to the President, Minister of defence Shoigu.

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According to him, during the operations on 30 September 2015, the Russian aircraft flew more than 9 thousand sorties, and were struck with precision weapons on the range more than a thousand kilometers. “During this time of the attacks managed to seriously stop, and in some places – completely stop the resource support of terrorists, to suppress the trade of hydrocarbons. Covered the basic ways of delivery of hydrocarbons, the main ways of delivering weapons and ammunition to the militants,” – said Shoigu.

The Minister said that the Russian aircraft destroyed in Syria 209 of oil production facilities and pumping fuel, and more than 2 thousand vehicles used for delivery of petroleum products. With support from aviation of the Russian Federation, the Syrian troops liberated 400 settlements and over 10 thousand square kilometers of territory.

Shoigu added that the Russian military provided the control over observance of the ceasefire regime, which has used unmanned aircraft and all other reconnaissance and satellite constellation.

To activate the peace process

Putin instructed the Russian foreign Minister Lavrov to intensify Russia’s participation in the organization of a peace process aimed at resolving the Syrian problem.

The Minister, in turn, noted that the operation of the Russian aerospace defence forces contributed to the creation of conditions for the political process in Syria. He reminded that on Monday in Geneva renewed inter-Syrian negotiations, which was steadily opposed by Russia. “Not an easy job, still have to understand how all these groups (involved in negotiations) can be at the same table to meet, – said the Minister. But the process is started, and in our common interest to make it sustainable and irreversible.”

Damascus agreed

The withdrawal of Russian forces after performing its tasks as earlier and the beginning of the Russian operation in Syria that was agreed between Moscow and Damascus, reported the President’s press Secretary Dmitry Peskov.”Everything that President (at the meeting with Lavrov and Shoigu) was brought to the attention of our Syrian colleagues and agreed with President Assad,” – said Peskov.

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According to him, during a telephone conversation, Putin informed Assad that the principal tasks set before the Russian armed forces in Syria, decided, in connection with which the parties agreed to withdraw the main part of the aviation group of the Russian Federation, ATT.

Assad expressed his deep gratitude to Russia for help in combating terrorism and provide the Syrian people with the humanitarian assistance. He also stressed the readiness of the Syrian authorities to engage in political process in the country. Putin and Assad expressed the hope that organized under the auspices of the UN, the Geneva talks with the participation of representatives of the government and the Syrian opposition “will produce concrete results”.

Syrian opposition welcomes

Representatives of the Syrian opposition at talks in Geneva welcomed the decision of the President of the Russian Federation on the withdrawal of the main Russian forces from Syria since 15 March and expressed the hope that it will give a positive impetus to the inter-Syrian dialogue.

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This opinion was expressed today, answering in Geneva on questions of journalists, the official representative of the Syrian opposition of the Higher Committee on negotiations (WCP) Salim al-Meslet.

“If there is seriousness in the execution of this withdrawal of troops, this will give the negotiations a positive impetus,” said the official representative of the Syrian opposition of the Higher Committee on negotiations (WCP) Salim al-Meslet.”I believe that Russia’s decision, of course, will affect the position of the other side,” he added.

The West has not yet commented on

Washington and European capitals do not comment became a surprise decision of the Russian President.

USA at this stage do not undertake to predict how the withdrawal of the main forces of Russia from Syria could affect the situation in this Arab country and attempts to promote the settlement of the conflict, said at the regular press briefing White house press Secretary Joshua Ernest.

“We must see what exactly are the intentions of Russia,” said Ernest, adding that he still “difficult to assess” how the new steps Moscow might affect the inter-Syrian negotiations.

The White house did not rule out that President Barack Obama would call Russian President to discuss the current developments in Syria. “I would certainly not exclude,” replied Ernest, the question of whether to wait for a new telephone talks between leaders of Russia and the USA.