The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has abruptly declared that he is withdrawing the majority of Russian troops from Syria. The news was relayed personally to the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, in a telephone call from Putin. Putin has said the six-month military intervention had largely achieved its objective. He said the pullout, scaling back an intervention that began at the end of September, is due to start on Tuesday – reported The Guardian
His move was clearly designed to coincide with the start of Syrian peace talks in Geneva and will be seen as a sign that Russia believes it has done enough to protect Assad’s regime from collapse.