THE RUSSIAN defence ministry has said that Russia is to withdraw military equipment from Syria whilst Putin orders diplomatic efforts to secure peace.
Officials said: “Technicians at the airbase have begun preparing aircraft for long-range flights to airbases in the Russian Federation,”
This news comes amid President Vladimir Putin ordering his troops to begin pulling out of the war stricken country.
The president told Mr Putin that the forces should start withdrawing because they have achieved their goal.
Peace in Syria was at the forefront of Putin´s mind as he ordered diplomatic efforts to be stepped up.
The news was announced on the day peace talks between opposing Syrian sides resumed in Geneva.
Moscow launched a military operation five months ago in support of the Damascus region and Russian warplanes have consistently bombed in support of Bashar al Assad and against the Syrian opposition during a bloody civil war.
Mr Putin agreed the military withdrawal in a telephone call with Mr Assad.
“The effective work of our military created the conditions for the start of the peace process.¨ Said the Russian President.
“I believe that the task put before the defence ministry and Russian armed forces has, on the whole, been fulfilled.
“With the participation of the Russian military … the Syrian armed forces and patriotic Syrian forces have been able to achieve a fundamental turnaround in the fight against international terrorism and have taken the initiative in almost all respects.
“I am therefore ordering the defence minister … to start the withdrawal of the main part of our military contingent from the Syrian Arab Republic.”
A timeframe for the withdrawal has not been given. Putin will still have a presence in the country and will support “confronting terrorism”.