December 11, 2017 – Fort Russ News – Paul Antonopoulos
HMEIMIM, Syria – Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia will withdraw its troops from Syria during a surprise visit to the Khmeimim Air Base in Syria’s Latakia province on Monday.
“Syria has been saved as a sovereign and independent state,” Putin said in front of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russian military personnel earlier today. “Refugees are returning to their homes.”
“The conditions for the political settlement [of the conflict] have been created under the auspices of the United Nations. In accordance with the international agreements, the Russian Centre for the Reconciliation of Warring Parties continues to operate in Syria,” he explained.
He then went onto say that despite a withdrawal, there still will be a significant Russian presence in Syria.
“Two [military] bases will be operating on a permanent basis in Tartus and Khmeimim,” he said.
Putin then warned terrorist forces that if they emerge again as a powerful force, Russia will not hesitate to smash them.
“If terrorists raise their heads again, we will carry out such strikes on them which they have never seen,” Putin threatened.
“In just over two years, the Russian armed forces, together with the Syrian army, defeated one of the most capable groups of international terrorists. Therefore, I have made a decision – a significant part of the Russian troop contingent located in Syria is returning home to Russia. You are returning to your homes, families, parents, wives, children and friends, with victory,” Putin said.
“I order the defense minister and the chief of general staff to start withdrawing the Russian troops to their permanent bases. Your homeland is awaiting you. Farewell, my friends. Thank you for your service,” he concluded.
A video of Assad welcoming Putin, his first trip to the country since the war began, can be seen here.