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The Russian president made a stopover on Monday at the Hmeimim base in Syria, where he claimed complete victory over the Islamic State.

The Russian president made a stopover on Monday at the Hmeimim base in Syria, where he claimed complete victory over the Islamic State.

Vladimir Putin made a surprise stop on Monday afternoon at the Russian military base of Hmeimim in Syria where he was received by Bashar al-Assad and the Russian Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu. The opportunity for the Russian president to claim a complete victory over the Islamic State and to order the start of the withdrawal of the Russian contingent from the country. "In two good years, the armed forces of Russia and Syria have crushed the most combative terrorist group internationally, and I have made the following decision: a significant part of the military contingent is going home," the official said. leader of the Kremlin congratulating his troops: “You are victorious and you are going home… The motherland awaits you, my friends. Bon voyage, I am grateful for your mission,” he added. The withdrawal should take place within the next thirty days, said the deputy head of the Defense Committee at the Council of the Federation, Frantz Klintsevich.

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Vladimir Putin's Syrian stopover comes a few days after the announcement of the Head of State to run for a fourth term in the presidential elections of March 2018, and when a patriotic wave rises in the country. “Casualties and casualties will not interrupt our fight against terrorism. This is not the character of our people. On the contrary, memory will give us additional strength to eradicate this absolute evil, international terrorism, however it plays out”.

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In the wake of his Syrian stopover, the head of the Kremlin flew to Egypt where he met President Sissi. He was also expected in Turkey for his seventh visit of the year. A meeting with his counterpart Recepp Tayip Erdogan was announced, and this within the framework of the peace negotiations initiated for almost a year. “Syria is preserved as a sovereign and independent state,” said Vladimir Putin, speaking to Bashar al-Assad who expressed his thanks to his host. “The pilots are in the air all the time. Thanks to them,” said the Syrian president, who had already made another surprise visit to Sochi two weeks ago.

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Moscow did not appreciate a recent statement by French Defense Minister Jean-Yves le Drian, who blamed Russia for claiming victory over the Islamic State. For his part, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that military operations against Daesh would continue until mid-February, thus taking issue with the Kremlin, which for its part had declared Syria "totally liberated" from Daesh.


Source: Putin announces the withdrawal of a “significant part” of the Russian forces in Syria

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