In a surprise move, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his military to start withdrawing the “main part” of its forces in Syria from Tuesday.
He said the Russian intervention had largely achieved its objectives.
The comments come amid fresh peace talks in Geneva aimed at resolving the five-year Syrian conflict.
Russia’s intervention has achieved its main goals – consolidating President Assad’s position, enabling his forces to re-take key pieces of strategic territory and ensuring that Mr Assad remains a factor in any future Syrian settlement.
Mr Putin said that Russia’s Hmeimim air base in Latakia province and its Mediterranean naval base at Tartus would continue to operate as normal. He said both must be protected “from land, air and sea”.
Once again, Putin thumbs his nose at the international peace process and acts unilaterally. It just shows what a farce that process is. America would be better served acting according to its best interests as a great power and bringing our allies along rather than trying to do everything based on consensus with our enemies.