Putin Orders Start of Syria Withdrawal, Saying Goals are Achieved

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Russian pilots climbing into a fighter jet at the Hemeimeem air base in Syria in October.  Credit Vladimir Isachenkov/Associated Press

From Andrew Higgins at The New York Times:

MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Monday ordered the withdrawal of the “main part” of Russian forces in Syria, a surprise move that he said was justified by the “overall completion” of Moscow’s military mission in the war-ravaged country.

Mr. Putin’s order, reported by the state news media, came as the war in Syria was about to enter its sixth year and a United Nations mediator in Geneva was trying to revive peace talks to stop the conflict, which has displaced millions and created a humanitarian catastrophe.

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