Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Putin Calls Syrian Role 'Complete'; IS Beaten - Most Troops Will Leave

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Putin Calls Syrian Role 'Complete'; IS Beaten - Most Troops Will Leave

Article excerpt

Byline: Richard A. L. Williams The Independent

VLADIMIR Putin has ordered the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria.

The Russian leader made the announcement at the Khmeimim Air Base in Syria's coastal Latakia province, the heartland of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite minority.

Accompanied by defence minister Sergey Shoygu, Mr Putin said Russian and Syrian armies had achieved their mission to destroy IS - "one of the most capable groups of international terrorists" - in just over two years.

He said the two countries' forces would respond with power strikes if "terrorists raise their heads" in Syria.

Mr Putin told Russian troops at the base: "The task of fighting armed bandits here in Syria, a task that it was essential to solve with the help of extensive use of armed force, has for the most part, been solved and solved spectacularly. I congratulate you. You have shown the best qualities of a Russian soldier."

In the televised speech, Mr Putin said he had ordered the military to withdraw a "significant part" of the Russian contingent in Syria. …

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