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  1. #1
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    Hans Mann's Avatar
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    Putin orders pull-out


    ©AP Russian fighter jets at the Hemeimeem air base in Syria

    Russian president Vladimir Putin has ordered his armed forces to start pulling out of Syria on Tuesday after a six-month campaign, saying that they had largely met their objectives and it was time to focus on peace talks.

    The announcement comes as external powers seek common ground for turning a tentative cessation of hostilities in the civil war into a political solution, efforts long hampered by Moscow’s support for Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad.

    Russia’s military intervention, which began in September, changed the course of the Syrian conflict. Before the Kremlin sent in its bombers, Mr Assad’s forces were losing ground to various armed rebel groups.

    Russian air power was often deployed indiscriminately, according to Syrian activists, and in the early stages did not target Isis positions despite Moscow saying that its mission was to destroy the jihadi group.

    Speaking at a meeting with Sergei Shoigu, minister of defence, and Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, Mr Putin said that his objectives had “overall been fulfilled”, adding: “Therefore I order the ministry of defence to start the pullout of the basic part of our military group from the Syrian Arab Republic.”

    The Russian announcement appeared to take much of the Obama administration by surprise. The state department declined to comment and said that John Kerry, secretary of state, had last spoken to Mr Lavrov on Thursday.

    “We have seen reports that President Putin has announced a planned withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria. We expect to learn more about this in the coming hours,” a senior administration official said.

    President Barack Obama spoke on the phone on Tuesday with Mr Putin shortly after what the White House described as Russia’s announcement of a “partial withdrawal” of forces from Syria.

    According to the White House, Mr Obama “welcomed the much-needed reduction in violence” since the ceasefire announced last month and some progress on delivering humanitarian aid. However he told Mr Putin that continuing offensive actions by the Syrian regime were putting at risk the UN-led political process in Syria.


    ©Reuters Russian president Vladimir Putin, right, meets Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad in Moscow last year

    The Kremlin said that the Russian military would retain a presence in Syria for flights to continue to monitor the ceasefire and ensure its implementation.

    For Mr Putin, Russia’s intervention in Syria has been a means to reassert Moscow’s role as a power with a say in global affairs far beyond its shores. Critics of US President Barack Obama’s policy towards Syria say that US inaction left a strategic void for the Kremlin to fill.

    Following Russia’s joint efforts with the US in brokering and monitoring the Syrian ceasefire, which Moscow has been playing up at home, Mr Putin can argue to a domestic audience that this mission has been fulfilled.

    But Moscow’s announcement also throws a spotlight on Mr Assad. According to Russian and foreign officials familiar with Moscow’s Syria diplomacy, Russia has been frustrated that the Syrian president has not been more flexible in accommodating efforts at a political solution of the conflict.

    Mr Putin said that Russia’s announcement of a partial pullout would help bolster the chances of political progress.

    “I hope that today’s decision will be a good signal for all conflicting parties,” he said. “I hope that this will considerably increase the level of trust between all parties of the Syrian settlement and contribute to a peaceful resolution of the Syrian issue.”

    The Kremlin said that Mr Putin had discussed the cessation of hostilities in a telephone call with Mr Assad and both leaders had agreed that the ceasefire had helped “drastically reduce the scale of bloodletting in the country”. Mr Assad had expressed his hope for a swift start to a political process in the country, it said.

    Activists in Syria were cautious about the news. Mohammad al-Sibai, an activist from the central city of Homs, said he did not believe Russia would abandon the regime but that “if the air raids were reduced and the regime lifted off the sieges imposed on cities and reduced its [ground] raids, this will lessen the pressure on the Syrian people”.

    Omar al-Shimali, an activist from Azaz/Aleppo, said: “[Russia’s] ally is not Assad. Its ally is the interests in Syria [such as] oil and other resources. Russia runs after its interests. If it is in its interest to keep Assad, Russia will keep him. If its interest is to remove him, it will do so.”

    Anmar al-Najjar of the Syrian Civil Defence Force, a volunteer search and rescue group, said that if Russia did pull out, “it would reduce the suffering of the Syrian people. More than 90 per cent of air raids were carried out by Russian warplanes.”

    When Moscow started its military intervention in Syria last autumn, Russian politicians said they aimed it to last no longer than four months, but the campaign was initially less successful than expected. However, since the beginning of this year, Russian bombardments have helped Syrian government forces turn the tide and regain territory from armed rebels.



    Putin orders Russian forces to start pulling out of Syria - FT.com

  2. #2
    Utopian Expat Chittychangchang's Avatar
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    Mission accomplished and biceps shown.

    What an utter cock..


  3. #3
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    What a lose for western propaganda, everything wrong in Syria could be blamed on the Russians.
    The Syrian refugee crisis was the Russians fault, yes. A secret Soviet plan to weaken Germany.

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    Kerry says to meet Putin in Russia next week

    US Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday he will meet with President Vladimir Putin in Russia next week on the crisis in Syria after Moscow announced the partial withdrawal of its forces.

    "I will be traveling next week to Moscow to meet with President Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in order to discuss how we can effectively move the political process forward and try to take advantage of this moment," Kerry said.

    In Moscow, Lavrov's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed to the Russian news agency Interfax that the foreign ministry was making plans for a possible visit by Kerry to Moscow.

    Earlier, the White House said "earliest indications" suggest Russia is following through with an announced withdrawal of its forces from Syria, where they have been supporting Bashar al-Assad's forces against opposition rebels.

    Kerry says to meet Putin in Russia next week

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hans Mann View Post
    Kerry says to meet Putin in Russia next week

    US Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday he will meet with President Vladimir Putin in Russia next week on the crisis in Syria after Moscow announced the partial withdrawal of its forces.

    "I will be traveling next week to Moscow to meet with President Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in order to discuss how we can effectively move the political process forward and try to take advantage of this moment," Kerry said.

    In Moscow, Lavrov's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed to the Russian news agency Interfax that the foreign ministry was making plans for a possible visit by Kerry to Moscow.

    Earlier, the White House said "earliest indications" suggest Russia is following through with an announced withdrawal of its forces from Syria, where they have been supporting Bashar al-Assad's forces against opposition rebels.

    Kerry says to meet Putin in Russia next week
    As much as I find Putin loathsome [most heads of state] and boorishly hypocritical, I can easily say the same for America's Secretary of State, John Kerry...probably has 2 fold on the Russian "bad guy".

    They deserve one another.

  6. #6
    Custom user Neverna's Avatar
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    Syria conflict: US and Russia want draft constitution by August

    The US and Russia have agreed to aim for a draft version of a new constitution for Syria by August, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said.

    Mr Kerry was speaking after four hours of talks at the Kremlin with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    He said they also agreed to press the Syrian government and rebels to speed up talks on a political transition.

    A round of indirect peace talks in Geneva between the Syrian government and opposition concluded on Thursday.

    UN envoy Staffan de Mistura said he had found a lot of common ground between the two sides.

    The talks have now gone into a planned recess and Mr de Mistura said they would re-start next month.

    Mr Kerry arrived for talks in Moscow 10 days after President Putin announced he was withdrawing the bulk of Russia's military force from Syria.

    "We agreed on a target schedule for establishing a framework for a political transition and also a draft constitution, both of which we targeted by August," Mr Kerry said at a joint news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

    Mr Kerry would not say if the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had been discussed in his talks with Mr Putin.

    But he said they agreed that Mr Assad "should do the right thing" and engage in the peace talks.

    Syria conflict: US and Russia want draft constitution by August - BBC News
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  7. #7
    euston has flown

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chittychangchang
    Mission accomplished and biceps shown. What an utter cock..
    Russia wanted to make the peace talks a choice between a syria run by isis or assad, its why isis and assad were the only groups they did not bomb into oblivion.

    From russia's perspective its job done and let everyone else deal with isis.

  8. #8
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    Russia, despite draw down, shipping more to Syria than removing


    Russian and Syrian servicemen line up near military jets during a ceremony dedicated to the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria at Hmeymim airbase, Syria, in this March 15, 2016 file photo.
    REUTERS/RUSSIAN MINISTRY OF DEFENCE/VADIM GRISHANKIN/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS/FILES


    When Vladimir Putin announced the withdrawal of most of Russia's military contingent from Syria there was an expectation that the Yauza, a Russian naval icebreaker and one of the mission's main supply vessels, would return home to its Arctic Ocean port.

    Instead, three days after Putin's March 14 declaration, the Yauza, part of the "Syrian Express", the nickname given to the ships that have kept Russian forces supplied, left the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk for Tartous, Russia's naval facility in Syria.

    Whatever it was carrying was heavy; it sat so low in the water that its load line was barely visible.

    Its movements and those of other Russian ships in the two weeks since Putin's announcement of a partial withdrawal suggest Moscow has in fact shipped more equipment and supplies to Syria than it has brought back in the same period, a Reuters analysis shows.

    It is not known what the ships were carrying or how much equipment has been flown out in giant cargo planes accompanying returning war planes.

    But the movements - while only a partial snapshot - suggest Russia is working intensively to maintain its military infrastructure in Syria and to supply the Syrian army so that it can scale up again swiftly if need be.

    Putin has not detailed what would prompt such a move, but any perceived threat to Russia's bases in Syria or any sign that President Bashar al-Assad, Moscow's closest Middle East ally, was in peril would be likely to trigger a powerful return.

    Russia operates an air base in Hmeymim and a naval facility at Tartous. Putin has said Russia will keep both and that they will need to be well protected.

    "Since the main part of the force de facto stayed there, there is no reason to reduce the traffic," said Mikhail Barabanov, a senior research fellow at the Moscow-based CAST military think tank. "Supplies for the Syrian army remain significant as well."

    Moscow has not revealed the size of its force in Syria, nor has it given details of its partial withdrawal.

    Reuters has calculated that around half of Russia's fixed-wing strike force based in Syria flew......

    Exclusive: Russia, despite draw down, shipping more to Syria than removing | Reuters

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