For the first time in Syria
The plane of the President of Russia on the morning of Monday, December 11, landed at a Russian military base Hamim in the Syrian province of Latakia, where President Vladimir Putin met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Minister of defence of Russia Sergey Shoigu and the commander of the Russian group in Syria, Colonel-General Sergey Surovikin.
It was the first visit of Vladimir Putin to Syria during his presidency. About it in advance was not reported, the press service of the Kremlin announced on Monday his only visit to Egypt and Turkey.
The Russian Supreme commander in chief congratulated the personnel base with a victory over the terrorists and ordered the defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and chief of General staff Valery Gerasimov "to proceed with the withdrawal of the Russian forces in the points of their permanent dislocation" (quoted by the Kremlin website).
"The task of combating armed bandits here in Syria, the problem that must be solved with the widespread use of the armed forces, in General, solved, solved brilliantly," explained the President's decision to begin the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria. He added that Russia is ready to strike at the terrorists for new attacks, "which they still have not seen", if they "will again raise the head."
President Assad, at whose invitation the Russian troops were introduced to Syria in the fall of 2015, thanked Vladimir Putin for assistance in combating terrorism on the Syrian territory.
"The decision of the Supreme commander on the withdrawal of a significant number of Russian troops from Syria — a formal recognition that the war is over," said RBC Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on defense and security Viktor Bondarev.
That Russia is planned for the end of this year, the withdrawal of the grouping from Syria, RBC reported on 21 November.
From Syria Putin went to Egypt and then on the same day visited Turkey.
To fit in a month
Syria will leave Russian 23 aircraft of various modifications, two helicopters Ka-52, a special detachment, military police detachment and the detachment of the mine action centre, as well as military field hospital, said the commander of the group Surovikin. According to him, the remaining Syrian forces will be able to provide further stabilization of the situation in Syria. Will continue to work both the Russian base is provided free of charge for 49 years the airfield Hamim and the point of logistics of the Navy in Tartus.
The maximum number of Russian air group in Syria, which was reported by the Russian side reached 69 units. It is planned to remove two-thirds of troops and equipment, said RBC a source close to the foreign Ministry. The interlocutor of RBC in the Ministry of defence said that with the amount of output equipment and personnel "yet determined". Pre-planned to two-thirds of troops and equipment, he said.
On the withdrawal of troops and military equipment will take about a month, RBC said the first Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on defense and security Frants Klintsevich. Commenting on the date for the withdrawal of the Russian troops, the press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov said that "this is not a matter of one day."
Russia previously announced a reduction in the size of his group, but then was forced to re-build. In March 2016, Vladimir Putin ordered the withdrawal of most Russian forces "in connection with the successful performance of tasks", after which the air group was reduced from 69 to 25 units. By the time Russian troops have virtually liberated Palmyra, but under the control of the militants remained the country's largest city of Aleppo and a large territory across the country. The second time about the possibility of reducing groups, the defense Minister reported to President on 29 December 2016.
However, after the March decision 2016, the Russian contingent in Syria soon again had to step up, reminded RBC chief editor of the magazine "Arsenal Fatherland" Victor murakhovski. But this scenario unlikely to be repeated, said the military expert. According to him, then the reduction was in hopes that the Syrian government forces and their allies quite efficient, but it turned out that it is not, therefore, the Russian military had to increase group and, moreover, to form the Syrians Fifth assault volunteer corps to take his command, said murakhovski.
The Syrian account
September 30, 2015, the President of Russia has received from the Federation Council permission to use the armed forces abroad.
According to estimates RBC, officially confirmed the death in Syria 40 soldiers.
In August, the Reuters news Agency put the total death toll in the Syrian operation by Russian servicemen and employees of private military companies 76.
In two years of fighting, Russia has lost at least four military aircraft: two rolled on the deck and fell into the sea when landing on aircraft-carrying cruiser "Admiral Kuznetsov", one skidded off the runway Hamim base, and one fighter was shot down Turkish air force.
In addition to aircraft of Russian air force lost three choppers. In 2015, was shot down Mi-8AMTSH who participated in the rescue of the pilot of the plane shot down by Turkish air force; in 2016, crashed combat Mi-28N and was shot down from the ground, the military transport Mi-8. In July 2016, was shot down a Syrian Mi-25 with Russian instructors.
In March 2016, Vladimir Putin said that the operation in Syria a cost of RUB 33 billion Since the information was not updated. Thus, the average cost of one day of the operation amounted to about 156 million rubles, and the total cost while maintaining the level of spending for the two years could be about 100 billion rubles.
The question of peace
That the fight against ISIS ("Islamic state", banned in Russia as a terrorist organization) and other terrorist groups in Syria is almost complete, the Russian military said late summer. In mid-October, defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that two years Syrian government forces with the help of Russian troops liberated from militants about 95% of the country. On 6 December, the chief of the General staff Gerasimov said that Syria fully liberated from the terrorists of ISIS.
The international coalition led by USA are also leading in Syria's military operations against terrorists, in parallel, tells about the defeat of ISIS in Syria, but puts it in the merit of the U.S. military and its allies. USA going along with the other 69 member countries of the coalition continue the fight against ISIS to the "final destruction" of terrorists in the region, said RBC representative of the press service of the coalition. He refused to speak, informed whether the Ministry of defence of the coalition on the decision of Putin to begin withdrawing Russian troops. "We do not discuss our communications with departments of the Russian government", — said the representative of the press service.
With the defeat of ISIS, that is, with the destruction of a unified management structure and logistics, the military operation goes to the police phase, emphasized in a conversation with RBC's military expert, retired Colonel Andrew Pautov. "There will be local military to work together with the Syrian Mukhabarat (the intelligence service. — RBC)," — said the expert.
"A particular responsibility now falls on the Syrian border to prevent the possible migration of militants from neighbouring States to the Syrian police and defense system," — said Bondarev. After the Russian operation in Syria the Russian defense Ministry has placed on the territory of the Republic anti-aircraft missile systems s-300 and s-400, moreover, was the coast guard "Bastion" and missile system "Carapace-C1", covering missile systems.
The model of the "Islamic state" as a form of functioning of radical Sunni Islamism can be broken, but the terrorists are still in Syria draws the attention of the Professor of the Israeli Bar-Ilan University Zeev Khanin. He suggests that the Pro-Iranian armed groups can expand their presence in Syria after the defeat of ISIS, in which they participated on the side of Assad's forces. "This not only takes the issue of security in the region is its complicated" — said the expert. With the withdrawal of some troops from Syria the degree of influence of Moscow on the Assad regime may be weakened, it indicates Hanin.
The leader of the Syrian opposition group "Hamim" and General Secretary of the party "national conference" Il'yana Masaed believes that the decision of Vladimir Putin to begin withdrawing Russian troops have a positive impact on the course of the Geneva talks on the Syrian settlement, "because it would deprive some of the Syrian opposition, especially from the platform "Riyadh", reasons to sabotage progress in the negotiations under the pretext of Russian interference in Syrian Affairs".
Platform "Riyadh" — the largest group of Syrian political opposition, based in the capital of Saudi Arabia, its members require a change of the Assad regime as a condition for starting negotiations. "It would be better for stability in Syria if Russian troops stayed in Syria for some time to ensure that the terrorists are finally defeated," said RBC Mashad. However, he notes that Putin's decision can be explained by the domestic political situation ahead of presidential elections.
What Vladimir Putin agreed in Cairo
In Egypt, Vladimir Putin stated about the possibility of resuming soon air flights between Moscow and Cairo. Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said that this week can be signed an intergovernmental Protocol on the resumption of regular flights between the capitals of the two countries. "This is primarily dependent on the Egyptian side," he said (quoted by "Interfax"). According to the forecast of the Minister, if the document is signed, the flights will begin in February 2018.
Regular flights from Russia to Egypt was carried out "Aeroflot". About the resumption of Charter flights, the Minister said nothing. Egypt was one of the most popular destinations for Russian tourists until the fall of 2015, when due to the terrorist attack aboard a Russian airliner over the Sinai Peninsula with direct flights between the two countries was discontinued.
In addition, on 11 December, the head of Rosatom Alexey Likhachev signed with the Egyptian authorities last documents required for start of construction in this country the first nuclear power plant "El Daba". The cost of the project, it is estimated, will amount to $21 billion Initial agreement on the project of construction of four power units of 1200 MW each "Rosatom" signed two years ago in November 2015. Their construction is scheduled for completion by 2028-2029 years.
Angelica Bassini, Alexander Atsunset, Inna Sidorova
Starring: Valery Romanov, Evgeny Kuznetsov
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