Reuters – Putin, at a meeting in the Kremlin with his defense and foreign ministers, said Russian military forces in Syria had largely fulfilled their objectives and ordered an intensification of Russia’s diplomatic efforts to broker a peace deal in the country.
“I believe that the task put before the defense 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,” Putin said.
But the Russian leader signaled Moscow would keep a military presence: he did not give a deadline for the completion of the withdrawal and said Russian forces would stay on at the port of Tartous and at the Hmeymim airbase in Syria’s Latakia province.
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