Russia’s partial Syria withdrawal ‘carried out’, says Defense minister

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Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Friday said the military has completed the partial withdrawal from Syria ordered by President Vladimir Putin, ending over two years of active involvement in the conflict.

“Your order to withdraw the contingent of Russian forces from Syria has been carried out,” Shoigu said during a meeting of top Russian military brass in Moscow.

Russia pulled out air units, military doctors and a battalion of military police, as well as 36 aircrafts and four helicopters, as quoted by Russian agencies.

After this partial withdrawal, Moscow will maintain the Russian reconciliation center and three military police units, as well as the “Hameimim” base and the “Tartous” military naval base.

Russian officials on Thursday approved an agreement to expand Russian military port facilities in Tartous in northwestern Syria, which would become a permanent Russian naval base.

While the Russian defense minister said that 48,000 Russian troops had participated in the Moscow military campaign in Syria, Syria's UN envoy, Bashar al-Jaafari, said US and Turkish troops should leave Syria immediately.

(With AFP)

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