Russia Will Keep Bases in Syria to Strike at Terrorists

Russia Will Keep Bases in Syria to Strike at TerroristsRussia Will Keep Bases in Syria to Strike at Terrorists

Russia will keep a naval and an air base in Syria capable of carrying out strikes against “terrorists” if required after a partial military pull-out announced by President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.

Putin on Monday ordered “a significant part” of Moscow’s military contingent to start pulling out of Syria, declaring their work largely done, Reuters reported.

Putin, who polls show will be re-elected comfortably in March, made the announcement during a surprise visit to the Russian Hmeymim air base, where he met President Bashar al-Assad and addressed Russian forces.

“Thanks to the fact that the operation to save Syria and the liberation of Syrian land from terrorists have been completed, there is no longer a need for broad-scale combat strength,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

But he added that Russia will keep the Hmeymim air base in Syria’s Latakia Province and its naval facility in the port of Tartous.

“The president stressed that the terrorists might try to ‘walk tall’ again in Syria. If that happens, crushing blows will be carried out,” Peskov said.

  Russia-Turkey Coordination

Meanwhile, TASS reported that Ankara will coordinate its operation in northern Syria’s Afrin region with Russia in advance if it decides to conduct it.

“Threats for Turkey are coming from Afrin. We may enter this region without a warning,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday. “If we carry out the operation there, we will agree on all its aspects with our allies, including Russia.”

According to Cavusoglu, if the threats for Turkey are posed from the Syrian government army, Ankara’s goal will be to fight against Bashar Assad’s regime. “Now they are not posing any threats to us,” he said, adding that the major threat comes from the Kurds of the Democratic Union Party and the People’s Protection Units.

Putin met his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday after stops in Syria and Egypt.

According to Al Jazeera, Erdogan described relations between Turkey and Russia as “important and meaningful for regional stability”, adding that the two countries would work to find a “lasting political solution” to Syria’s civil war.

Turkish and Russian officials will also meet to finalize Turkey’s purchase of S-400 missile systems from Moscow in the coming week, said Erdogan.


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