| 12.12,17. 12:13 AM |
Putin orders start of Russian withdrawal from Syria
President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered the start of a withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria, according to Russian media.
"I order the minister of defense and the chief of General Staff to begin the withdrawal of the Russian group of forces to the points of their permanent deployment," Putin was quoted as saying by Russia's official news agency TASS.
Putin's remarks came during his visit to Russia's Khmeimim Air base, near Syria's Latakia province, on the Mediterranean coast.
He said Russian armed forces, together with the Syrian army, had defeated international terrorists in the war-torn country.
"In this connection, I made a decision: A significant part of the Russian military contingent, based in the Syrian Arab Republic, returns home, to Russia," Putin said, according to TASS.
He congratulated the Russian servicemen for their victory.
Last week Nikolay Patrushev, the head of Russia’s National Security Council, said Moscow is “preparing” to reduce its military presence in Syria.
Russia and Syria signed a deal in August 2015 for the permanent deployment of Russian warplanes and soldiers at the air base.