Withdrawing Most Russian Forces from Syria Shows Putin’s Intervention Worked

Russia’s Military Pullback from Syria
March 15, 2016
What Russia Accomplished in Syria
March 15, 2016
Withdrawing Most Russian Forces From Syria Shows Putin’s Intervention Worked
by Stephen Lendman
Putin and Assad mutually agreed. Russian intervention changed the dynamic on the ground, seizing the initiative from Washington, foiling its imperial objective, letting Syrian forces regain lost ground.
They’re advancing, ISIS and other terrorist groups retreating in disarray. Putin believes he achieved his objective “to stabilize the legitimate government and create conditions for a political compromise…by military means, of course.”
On Monday, he announced the withdrawal of most Russian forces, saying:
“I consider the objectives that have been set for the Defense Ministry to be generally accomplished. That is why I order to start withdrawal of the main part of our military group from the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic starting from tomorrow (March 15, coinciding with the beginning of dead-on-arrival peace talks).”
“In a short period of time, Russia has created a small but very effective military group in Syria. The effective work of our military forces allowed the peace process to begin.”
“Russian government troops and (Syrian) patriotic forces have changed the situation in the fight with international terrorism and have seized the initiative.”
Russia maintains a military presence at the Khmeymin airbase in Latakia and Tartous naval facility. It intervened in Syria to defeat the scourge of terrorism.
ISIS and likeminded groups are weakened and in disarray. Russia intends maintaining a portion its aerial assets in Syria. It controls Syrian airspace.
Its formidable state-of-the-art S-400 air defense systems remain in place – able to strike targets up to 400 km away at altitudes up to 90,000 feet, including ballistic and cruise missiles, as well as stealth aircraft.
It intends cooperating with Syria’s military and supplying continued aid. It supports its sovereign independence, free from foreign interference.
Putin’s Monday announcement was unexpected. Heavy daily bombardment of terrorist groups no longer is needed.
Syrian forces can conduct military operations with less Russian aerial support. Terrorists are being routed. Large numbers sought safe havens in Turkey and Iraq. Others returned to home countries.
Putin maintains the option of changing tactics if conditions warrant. His military intervention was a strategic success, outmaneuvering, outwitting and outfoxing Washington and its rogue partners. 
He proved himself a master chess player. He’ll pursue whatever policies he believes serve his strategic objectives, combining diplomacy with military operations.
His announcement surprised many observers. A Kremlin statement said he and Assad “noted that the operations conducted by Russia’s Aerospace Forces have brought about a real turnabout in the fight against the terrorists in Syria, throwing their infrastructure into disarray and causing them substantial damage.”
“The President of Syria noted the professionalism, courage and heroism of the Russian service personnel who took part in the military operations, and expressed his profound gratitude to Russia for providing such substantial help in fighting terrorism and providing humanitarian assistance to the civilian population.”
The struggle to preserve Syrian sovereign independence and territorial integrity has a long way to go. Obama didn’t wage war to quit.
He’s no peacemaker. Whatever he intends going forward remains to be seen.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.