Could this be connected to his fourth presidential campaign?
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial withdrawal of troops from Syria while visiting the country, CNN reported citing Russian agencies.
Five days prior to this Valery Gerasimov, the Russian Army Chief of Staff said that: “Syria is now completely free of terrorists.” At the Kheimim air base Putin made a statement regarding a ‘substantial part of the Russian contingent which is to be withdrawn’.
He declared a victory over ISIS, but stated that the Russian military’s presence would be preserved in Syria. “If the terrorists raise their heads again, we will deliver unseen blows,” he said.
Last week Putin made his intention public to run for Russian presidency for the fourth time in March 2018. Numerous media sources believe that the withdrawal from Syria is part of his campaign and also a concession to the US and EU ahead of the new economic sanctions against Russia.
The international coalition led by the US said the fight against ISIS would go on until ‘the complete victory over terrorists in the region’. The coalition which is made up of 59 countries is fighting terrorists in Syria independently of the Asad government.
In March 2016 Vladimir Putin also declared the withdrawal of ‘the majority’ of the Russian contingent from Syria. This however, is yet to happen. The Russian military operation in Syria began in September 2015. According to Reuters about 80 Russian servicemen have been killed to date. The Russian authorities claim that only 45 have been killed.