Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday asked his Defense Ministry to start the pullout of the Russian military from Syria “to permanent locations,” seeing as Russia’s task force and the Syrian government troops have routed “over slightly more than two years,” the “most combat-capable groups of international terrorists” in Syria, TASS reported. Putin spoke before Russian servicemen at the Hmeymim airbase in Syria.
“In view of this, I have made a decision: most of the Russian military contingent currently in the Syrian Arab Republic is returning home, to Russia,” he said, adding, “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.”
“President al-Assad thanked President Putin for Russia’s active participation in fighting terrorism in Syria, stressing that what the Russian military personnel have achieved will not be forgotten by the Syrian people, since the blood of their martyrs has mixed with the blood of the martyrs of the Syrian Arab army in the face of terrorists,” SANA, the official Syrian news agency reported.
Also mixed in, a dash of sarin gas and other chemicals the Assad regime has used in the process of liberating the homeland.
President al-Assad said future generations that will read about this war will not differentiate between a Syrian or a Russian martyr, noting that “the sacrifices of the heroes from both sides will ever remain the embodiment of the noblest battle in the face of terrorism, in which blood is mixed with blood to purify our land from the mercenaries who wanted to destroy our homeland.”
The commander of Russia’s military group in Syria Colonel-General Sergey Surovikin told Putin at the event that 32,000 terrorists had been killed in Syria over the past seven months.
“More than 67,000 square kilometers of Syrian territory, more than 1,000 localities, 78 oil and gas fields and two deposits of phosphate ores have been recaptured,” Surovikin continued, noting that over the past 227 days alone, “Military planes have flown 6,956 sorties and helicopters, more than 7,000 sorties. More than 32,000 militants, 394 tanks and more than 12,000 pieces of other military equipment were eliminated.”
Back in August, the chief of the Russian General Staff’s Main Operations Directorate, Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoy, said that overall, since the beginning of their involvement in the Syrian civil war, Russia’s Aerospace Forces had “made more than 28,000 sorties, delivering around 90,000 airstrikes.”