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Russia-Syria: Putin orders start of pullout from Syria

Russia-Syria: Putin orders start of pullout from Syria

The Russian president made the Syria stopover, the first by a Russian head of state since president Dmitry Medvedev visited in 2010, en route to Egypt, where he met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Reuters cited unnamed sources close to Erdogan as saying the talks would address developments in Jerusalem - a reference to the tensions and unrest following U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Russia's major role in the war in Syria, where it has given President Bashar al-Assad's government crucial military backing, has increased its influence in the Middle East.

On the economic cooperation, they confirmed the signing of a contract for Russian Federation to build a 30-billion-dollar nuclear plant, the first of its kind in Egypt.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin are scheduled to meet on December 11 in the Turkish capital Ankara to discuss crises in the Middle East.

Turkey has stressed many times before that all representatives and segments from Syria should participate in the National Dialogue Meeting, but ruled out any place for the inclusion of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its militia, the People's Protection Units (YPG), due to their links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Ankara sees as a terrorist organization.

Experts believe Russian Federation is filling the vacuum left by the USA "unwillingness" to address the complex Middle East issues for the past years, through forging pragmatic alliances in the region with players as Turkey and Egypt. Assad can be seen extending his arm thinking the Russian was attempting to shake his hand.

"The Syrian war and the reluctance of the U.S.to engage in the crisis have created a ideal opportunity for Russian Federation, which has a historical ambition to reach the Mediterranean basin", Oytun Orhan, a Syrian analyst at the Ankara-based think thank Orsam, told Xinhua.

President al-Assad said that the future generations that will read about this war will not differentiate between a Syrian or a Russian martyr, noting that "the sacrifices of the heroes from both sides will ever remain the embodiment of the noblest battle in the face of terrorism, in which blood is mixed with blood to purify our land from the mercenaries who wanted to destroy our homeland".

Mattis said that was part of the United States changing the composition of its forces to support diplomats to bring an end to the war.

In Syria, Putin reassured that Russian forces had defeated the threat from IS militants.




Putin, who was welcomed by Assad, said the troops had helped the Syrian army crush the "most battle-ready group of worldwide terrorists", apparently referring to the Islamic State group.

The size of the Russian deployment in Syria is not known but independent Russian military expert Pavel Felgenhauer has told AFP that up to 10,000 troops and private contractors could have taken part in the conflict.

The consolidation of Russian presence in the region "is the result of the strategy pursued by the US, and Russia took advantage of this situation", Togrul Ismayil from the Economics and Technology University (TOBB) of Ankara told Xinhua.

While Turkey has backed the anti-regime opposition and Russian Federation along with Iran is the main worldwide supporter of Damascus, Putin and Erdogan have worked closely to resolve the Syrian conflict in recent months.

Back home in Russian Federation, many people consider the Syrian mission a successful operation to restore peace - as well as an opportunity for Moscow to flex its military muscles.

Egypt, Turkey, and Russian Federation have all denounced Trump's decision. The Turkish president, who had pressed for the ousting of Assad, now no longer insists on his removal as a precondition of peace talks.

"There is not a single village or district in Syria under the control of ISIL". Gen. James B. Jarrard, told reporters at a news conference there were about 4,000 USA troops in Syria. The order to withdraw follows the defeat of “the most battle-hardened grouping of worldwide terrorists” by the Russian and Syrian militaries in the space of two years.

"In the short or medium term, the YPG issue can become a problem between Turkey and Russian Federation", underlined Oytun Orhan, while Ankara is increasingly concerned that weapons delivered to the Syrian fighters by the US could be transferred to rebels in Turkey.

But he also repeated threats that Turkey would send combat troops into northern Syria if it felt its national security were at stake.

"That's where we are now", Manning said.

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