Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked the Defense Ministry to start the pullout of the Russian military group from Syria.
"I order the Defense Ministry and the chief of the General Staff to begin the pullout of the Russian military group to permanent locations," Putin told an audience of military personnel, while speaking before Russian servicemen at the Hmeymim airbase in Syria.
According to Putin, Russia’s task force and the Syrian government troops have routed the grouping of international terrorists in Syria.
"You are coming home with a victory, to your relatives, parents, wives, children and friends. Your Motherland is waiting for you, my friends. Have a safe trip home and thank you for your service," Putin stressed.
He added that Russia is ready to deal a new blow to terrorists if they again try to break peace in Syria. "If terrorists again raise head, we will deliver such strikes on them that they haven’t seen so far," Putin said.
"We will never forget about the deaths and losses sustained in the anti-terror fight both here in Syria and in Russia. But this won’t force us to fold our hands and retreat. This is not our national characteristic. On the contrary, this memory will give us an additional force to eradicate that absolute evil - international terrorism - no matter under what guise it hides," he said.
Putin has congratulated troops deployed to Russia’s Hmeymim air base on brilliantly achieving the task of defeating terrorists in Syria.
"You have brilliantly achieved the task of fighting militants here in Syria, a task which involved large-scale use of troops," Putin said addressing the troops. "I would like to congratulate you," the Russian president added.
The deputy director of the Political and Military Analysis Institute, Alexander Khramchikhin, speaking with Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that the Russian army's special operation in Syria was brilliant. "The performance of the group was very good. The special operation has fundamentally affected the level of our military, because no military exercises will ever replace a real war. This is a completely unique experience, almost no one has it," he said.
At the same time, the expert drew attention to the fact that the special operation cannot be considered fully completed, especially since part of the military will remain at the Khmeimim base on a permanent basis. "We do not know what kind of grouping was there, how many people will be withdrawn and how many can go back. The group that remains there is the core for a possible new build-up, that is, a symbol of the Russian military presence in the Middle East," Alexander Khramchikhin stressed.
A military observer of the TASS news agency, retired Colonel Viktor Litovkin, listed the Russian army's successes in Syria. "We defeated the largest group of terrorists, in fact, we saved Syria from destroying it as a state. We helped to form the Syrian army and tested our military equipment in Syria. We also deserved two bases that will be further expanded, after gaining a place in the Mediterranean, where we will control the US fleet in the Black Sea," he recalled.
The expert noted that the fact that the operation was held in conditions unusual for the Russian army makes it more valuable. "This operation gave us an opportunity to gain experience of real combat operations in the conditions of a hot desert and Middle East cities. In addition, the operation was conducted in direct confrontation with the US and their satellites," Viktor Litovkin said.
"This victory will have a lasting and promising success not just because Russia has become a solid pillar of the progressive Middle Eastern regimes and pushed the US and their coalition aside, but also because it opened up the prospect of military-technical cooperation with the Arab countries. In Egypt, we were given the opportunity to land and take off our aircraft. In the Sudan, we were offered to open a base. The Middle East becomes a zone of our control in the name of peace," the retired colonel stressed.
At the same time, the Russian military still had tasks in the Syrian settlement. "Serious work is needed to take the mines out of the Syrian ground and reconcile the warring parties. Democratic Syria should get a new constitution, hold elections to parliament, fight against lurking terrorists. And the United States, of course, will not reconcile with its defeat in this region easily, so confrontation with them will continue," Viktor Litovkin concluded.