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Russian Forces Begin Drawdown from Syria

Dec. 12, 2017 (EIRNS)—The military withdrawal from Syria that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered yesterday, has begun. The the Russian Defense Ministry reported that a military police battalion returned to its home base in the Southern Military District, this morning, onboard two cargo aircraft.

"Since May 2017, the battalion’s personnel had fulfilled tasks on controlling the ceasefire implementation in the de-escalation zones, ensuring security of civilians during humanitarian efforts and escorting humanitarian convoys,"

the ministry said. The ministry also reported that Tu-22M3 supersonic bombers that had been flying missions against ISIS in Syria from North Ossetia returned to their home base in the Kaluga region and that an A-50 airborne surveillance aircraft returned to Ivanovo from Syria.

The U.S. military, which is maintaining about 2,000 troops in northeastern Syria without any invitation to be there from the government in Damascus, has dismissed Putin’s withdrawal announcement as essentially meaningless. An unnamed U.S. official told AFP, yesterday, that it would be a "token withdrawal" of some aircraft which would then be followup by demands that the U.S. pull its forces out of Syria.