Putin orders "victorious Russian troops" to leave Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered his country's troops currently deployed in Syria to be withdrawn, Sputnik is reporting.

Source: B92
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(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

Putin did this while visiting the Hmeymim base in Syria for the first time since the launch of the anti-terrorist operation at the request of President Bashar Assad, the agency said, noting that he was today welcomed by the Syrian president.

Putin "emphasized that if terrorists gain upper hand in Syria, Russia will carry out strikes that they've never seen," and said the Russian forces will return "with victory."

"I instruct the defense minister, the head of the General Staff to begin the withdrawal of the Russian group of troops to the places of their permanent location," Putin said.

The order is unexpected, even though Moscow announced back in 2016 that Russian soldiers had completed their task in the Middle East country and should "soon" withdraw.

Speaking on Monday, the Russian leader said that "in the space of two years the Russian and Syrian militaries defeated the most battle-hardened grouping of international terrorists," RT reported, adding that Putin said that he had made the decision that a significant number of the Russian military contingent in Syria should return to Russia.

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