The head of Russia’s Security Council says Moscow is already preparing to withdraw its military contingent from Syria as the counter-terrorism fight nears end in the Arab country.
“Preparations are underway,” Nikolai Patrushev (pictured below) told Russian media on Thursday, adding that the pullout will start “when ready.”
Patrushev’s remarks came one week after Russia’s Chief of the General Staff General Valery Gerasimov announced that his country may “substantially” reduce its military presence in Syria and that the project could start before the end of the year.
Russia will maintain two military bases and a ceasefire monitoring center in Syria as well as “a number of necessary structures to keep the situation where it is now,” he noted.
The developments followed a recent declaration of the collapse of the Daesh terrorist group in both Syria and Iraq by Major General Qassem Soleimani, who commands the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), in a letter addressed to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
On November 20, Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on the latest victories achieved by the Syrian army against terrorists on the battlefield.
During a meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Putin also expressed hope that the fight against terrorism in Syria would conclude in “the near future” while Assad hailed Russia’s “very successful” aerial campaign in the Middle Eastern state.
Russian jets have been conducting air raids against Daesh and other terror outfits inside Syria at the Damascus government’s request since September 2015.
The airstrikes have helped Syrian forces advance against anti-Damascus militants, who have been wreaking havoc in the Arab country since 2011.