Tyranny lives to see another day.
Vladimir Putin has said Russia will withdraw the bulk of its forces from Syria following the “successful intervention” in the conflict there.
The announcement comes after the defence ministry said last week that Russia had “completely liberated” Syria from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), despite reports that the terrorist group still controls some remote territory there.
Speaking to soldiers at Russia’s Khmeimim airbase during his first trip to Syria, where he was welcomed by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, Mr Putin said he was ordering the defence minister and head of the general staff to begin withdrawing Russian forces to their home bases.
“In two-and-a-half years, Russia’s military along with the Syrian army have defeated the most battle-worthy gang of international terrorists,” Mr Putin said. “In connection with this, I’ve made the decision that a significant part of the Russian military contingent located in the Syrian Arab Republic will return home to Russia.”
The notable thing about Putin’s quote is that he doesn’t even pretend anymore that he isn’t the totalist dictator of Russia.