Russian president, Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian military to start withdrawing 'main part' of forces in Syria, saying the military campaign had 'largely achieved' its goals. Putin, at a meeting in the Kremlin with his defence and foreign ministers, said the pull out should start from Tuesday.
He also ordered that Russia intensify its role in the peace process to end the conflict in Syria. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin had called Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to inform him of the Russian decision.
'The task that was set before our defence ministry and armed forces has as a whole been completed and so I order the defence ministry to from tomorrow start the withdrawal of the main part of our military contingents from the Syrian Arab Republic,' Putin told Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in televised comments.
The Russian president said the airbase in Hemeimeem in Syria's coastal province of Latakia and a naval facility in the Syrian port of Tartous will continue to operate. He said both must be protected 'from land, air and sea'.