Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria. He gave the command during a surprise visit to Khmeimim Airbase in Syria’s Latakia province on Monday morning.

The Russian president was met by his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Assad, and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu at the airbase, which houses Russian forces assisting Syria in the battle against Islamic State terrorists (IS, formerly ISIS).

“I order the defense minister and chief of the general staff to start the withdrawal of Russian troops to the site of their permanent deployment," Putin stated, speaking in front of Russian military personnel at Khmeimim.

The Russian leader said that in the space of two years the Russian and Syrian militaries have “defeated the most battle-hardened grouping of international terrorists.” Putin added that he had made the decision that a significant number of the Russian military contingent in Syria should return to Russia.

He warned that should the terrorists try to “rear their heads” in Syria again, Russia will strike them as “they have never seen before.”

After a short visit to Syria, the Russian president headed for Cairo, where he is scheduled to hold talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.











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