Putin Pulls Main Part of Russian Troops Out of Syria
Vladimir Putin announced on Monday that he will begin the process of pulling the main part of Russian Troops out of Syria as of Tuesday. He says their goal has been accomplished and that Assad has regained his footing.
“With the tasks set before the Defense Ministry and the military largely fulfilled, I’m ordering the Defense Minister to start the pullout of the main part of our group of forces in Syria, beginning tomorrow.” Vladimir Putin
Confusing the issue
That does not mean the airstrikes will stop, nor does it mean that all Russian presence will be gone. The Russian airbase in Hmeimeem in Syria’s coastal province of Latakia and a naval facility in the Syrian port of Tartous will continue to operate.
“Our bases — the naval base in Tartus and the airbase at the Khmeimim airfield — will operate in a routine mode. They are to be safely protected from the land, from the sea and from air.”
The Russian News Agency Tass reported,
The Russian president said he hopes the start of the withdrawal of Russian troops will become a good motivation for launching negotiations between political forces of that country and instructed the foreign minister to intensify Russia’s participation in organization of peace process in Syria.
“I hope today’s decision will be a good signal for all conflicting parties. I hope it will sizably increase trust of all participants in the process,” the president said. “I ask the Russian Foreign Ministry to intensify Russia’s participation in organizing the peace process to solve the Syrian problem,” he added.
What will this mean? That depends on who you talk to. The answers thus far have been akin to “huh?” What do you think he’s up to?
Fox News wrote,
U.S. officials told Reuters they had no advanced warning of Putin’s decision to withdraw the main part of Russian forces from Syria, nor had they seen any indications of preparations for such a withdrawal.
One rebel group told Reuters they did not understand the Russian announcement.
“It’s a surprise, like the way they entered the war. God protect us,” Fadi Ahmad, spokesman for the First Coastal Division, a Free Syria Army group fighting in the country’s northwest, told Reuters.
Roadblocks to peace
The main roadblock in Syria is reportedly President Bashar Al-Assad, whom Russian an d Iran have supported. And though the cease fire signed on February 27 is “sort of ” holding, it did not include Al-Qaeda groups or ISIS. And rebel groups are not interested in allowing Assad at the table either.
“There will be no role within this (transitional) body for those who have committed crimes or for Assad.” Salem al-Meslet, a spokesman for the High Negotiations Committee (Representing the Syrian opposition).
And there you have it – the answer to Syria is … go back to war or figure it out.