Russian President Vladimir Putin issued an order to begin the withdrawal of the Russian troops from Syria. He said this during a visit to the base in Syrian Khmeimim on Monday, December 11, RIA Novosti reported.
“I order the Minister of Defence, Chief of the General Staff to start the withdrawal of the Russian group of troops to the points of their permanent deployment,” said Putin during a visit in Syria.
Accompanied by Russian defence minister Sergey Shoygu, Mr Putin said Russian and Syrian armies had destroyed “one of the most capable groups of international terrorists” in just over two years.
RIA Novosti reports that Putin’s plane landed at the Hemeimeem air base in Syria’s coastal province of Latakia, the heartland of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s Alawite minority. The visit marks Putin’s first trip to Syria and comes as Assad’s forces have retaken control over most of Syria under the Russian air cover.
The air base has served as the main foothold for the air campaign Russia has waged since September 2015 in support of Assad.