But nor has it stirred unease of the kind the Soviet Union

orders partial Russian pull

MOSCOW (Reuters) President Vladimir Putin flew into Syria and ordered significant part of Moscow military contingent there to start withdrawing on Monday, declaring their work largely done.

Putin, who polls show will be re elected comfortably in March, made the announcement during a surprise visit to Russia Hmeymim air base in Syria his first since Russia intervened in the conflict. He held talks with President Bashar al Assad and addressed Russian forces.

The first leg in a three country one day whirlwind diplomatic visit which sees Putin canada goose outlet in montreal also meeting his Egyptian and Turkish counterparts, Putin is keen to leverage the heightened Middle East influence that Syria has given him to cast himself as a leader who can do diplomacy as well as military force.

The Kremlin first launched air strikes in Syria in September 2015 in its biggest Middle East intervention in decades, turning the tide of the conflict in Assad favour. Now that it regards that mission complete, Putin wants to help broker a peace deal.

just over two years, Russia armed forces and the Syrian army have defeated the most battle hardened group of international terrorists, Putin told Russian servicemen.

Canada Goose online A part of the Russian force could now return home. conditions for a political solution under the auspices of the United Nations have been created, said Putin. Motherland awaits you. Canada Goose online

Canada Goose Outlet Washington was sceptical about Putin statement. priorities in Syria, said Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon. Canada Goose Outlet

Putin made clear in any case that Russia would retain enough firepower to destroy any possible Islamic State comeback.

buy canada goose jacket Syrian state television quoted Assad as thanking Putin for Russia help, saying the blood of Moscow had been mixed with the canada goose outlet blood of the Syrian army. It also showed the two men watching what it called a victory parade with canada goose outlet boston Russian troops dressed in desert uniforms marching past. buy canada goose jacket

canada goose store Russia main contribution has been air strikes, and with Iran backed Shi militias doing much of the fighting on the ground, the partial Russian withdrawal may not make a huge difference when it comes to the military situation. canada goose store

Russia campaign, which has been extensively covered on state TV at home, has not caught the imagination of most Russians. But nor has it stirred unease of the kind the Soviet Union faced with its calamitous 1980s Afghanistan intervention.

The use of private military contractors, something which has been documented by Reuters but denied by the defence ministry, has allowed Moscow to keep the public casualty toll fairly low.

Canada Goose Jackets Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses servicemen as he visits the Hmeymim air base canada goose womens outlet in Latakia Province, Syria December 11, 2017. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik via REUTERS Canada Goose Jackets

Officially, less than 50 Russian canada goose outlet official service personnel have been killed in the campaign, but the real number, including private contractors, is estimated to be much higher.

ELECTORAL BOOST? Russia accomplished moment in Syria may help Putin increase the turnout at the March presidential election by appealing to the patriotism of voters.

Though polls show he will easily win, they also show that some Russians are increasingly apathetic about politics, and Putin supporters are keen to get him re elected on a big turnout, which in their canada goose outlet london uk eyes confers legitimacy.

Putin, who with the help of state TV has dominated Russia political landscape for the last 17 years, told Russian servicemen they would return home as victors.

canada goose uk shop Speaking in front canada goose factory outlet toronto location of a row of servicemen holding Russian flags, Putin said his military had proved its might and that Moscow had succeeded in keeping Syria intact as a independent state. canada goose uk shop

congratulate you! Putin told the servicemen.

Putin is keen to organise a special event in Russia the Syrian Congress on National Dialogue that Moscow hopes will bring together the Syrian government and opposition and try to hammer out a new constitution.

When asked about Putin canada goose outlet miami announcement, Yahya Aridi, spokesman for the Syrian opposition in Geneva, said it welcomed any step that brought Syria closer to real peace.

Putin made clear however that while Russia might be drawing down much of its forces, its military presence in Syria was a permanent one and that www.canadagoose-online-shop.co.uk it would retain canada goose stockists uk enough firepower to destroy any Islamic State comeback.

Canada Goose Parka Russia will keep its Hmeymim air base in Syria Latakia Province and its naval facility in the Syrian Mediterranean port of Tartous a permanent basis, said Putin. Canada Goose Parka

Canada Goose Coats On Sale Both bases are protected by sophisticated air defence missile systems. Canada Goose Coats On Sale

canadian goose jacket Putin was told by the canada goose outlet new york military that it had begun withdrawing 25 aircraft, a detachment of Russian military police, a detachment of Russian special forces, a military field hospital and a de mining centre. canadian goose jacket

However, Russia has announced partial force draw downs before only to later bring in different capabilities.

seen such announcements before, which turn about to be less significant than they might have initially appeared, said one European diplomat who declined to be named.

most significant contribution Russia can make to advancing peace in Syria is to pressure the Assad regime to engage seriously in Geneva (peace talks). Absent that, the suspicion will be that this announcement may have more to do with Russian politics than the Syrian situation.

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