Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria in a surprise visit to Hmeimim Airbase in Syria’s Latakia province on Monday morning.
The Russian president has visited the base for the first time since the launch of the anti-terrorist operation at the request of President Bashar Assad.
The Russian leader has emphasized that should the terrorists try to “rear their heads” in Syria again, Russia will strike them as “they have never seen before.”
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 ISIL terrorists.
“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 Hmeimim.
The Russian leader said that in the space of two years the Russian and Syrian armies 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.