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Objectives attained: Russia withdraws troops from Syria

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By Catherine Hardy  with Reuters
Objectives attained: Russia withdraws troops from Syria

<ul> <li>Announcement concerns ground forces</li> <li>Naval and air support to be maintained</li> <li>Russia to “intensify” its role in the peace process <p></li> </ul> <h3><strong>The news</strong></h3> </p> <p>The Russian President has ordered his military to start withdrawing “the main part” of its forces from Syria.</p> <p>The announcement has taken the international community by surprise. <p></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><span class="caps">BREAKING</span>: Putin orders start of withdrawal of main part of Russian military force in Syria from Tuesday <a href="https://t.co/ma3pzngWMI">pic.twitter.com/ma3pzngWMI</a></p>— Reuters World (@ReutersWorld) <a href="https://twitter.com/ReutersWorld/status/709432806250782721">March 14, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Putin has ordered the start of a military withdrawal from Syria <a href="https://t.co/FNXfW3TbsN">https://t.co/FNXfW3TbsN</a> <a href="https://t.co/fs25JUqbFW">pic.twitter.com/fs25JUqbFW</a></p>— The New York Times (@nytimes) <a href="https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/709445189350375424">March 14, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p> <p>Vladimir Putin says the Russian intervention has met its objectives, five months after forces were sent in to support President Bashar al-Assad.</p> <p>Analysts say Russian support tipped the balance in favour of the Syrian government.</p> </p> <h3><strong>What will happen on the ground?</strong></h3> <p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Assad agreed with Putin on Moscow withdrawing forces from Syria: Kremlin <a href="https://t.co/k9r80Elm5w">https://t.co/k9r80Elm5w</a> <a href="https://t.co/MBLO2uXvlK">pic.twitter.com/MBLO2uXvlK</a></p>— <span class="caps">FRANCE</span> 24 (@FRANCE24) <a href="https://twitter.com/FRANCE24/status/709455080655708160">March 14, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> </p> <p>The announcement only concerns military support on the ground. Naval and air support will be maintained.</p> <p>The pullout will begin on Tuesday.</p> <p>A timeline for withdrawal has not been set. <p></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Putin orders Russian troops out of Syria <a href="https://t.co/WwU0QzN5rZ">https://t.co/WwU0QzN5rZ</a> <a href="https://t.co/RFxsonSXFv">pic.twitter.com/RFxsonSXFv</a></p>— Mashable (@mashable) <a href="https://twitter.com/mashable/status/709440758978371584">March 14, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> </p> <p>Russia is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Officials say he is aware of the decision. <p></p> <h3><strong>What is the context?</strong></h3> </p> <p>Moscow’s decision comes as fresh peace talks get underway in Geneva aimed at resolving the Syrian conflict, which began five years ago this week.</p> <p>Putin has also ordered that Russia intensify its role in the peace process to end the conflict. <p></p> <h3><strong>What they are saying</strong></h3> </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">US offers cautious response on Putin order for military withdrawal from Syria <a href="https://t.co/LkumLuvQ75">https://t.co/LkumLuvQ75</a> <a href="https://t.co/4EUE8hop4b">pic.twitter.com/4EUE8hop4b</a></p>— <span class="caps">DAILY</span> <span class="caps">SABAH</span> (@DailySabah) <a href="https://twitter.com/DailySabah/status/709464305096388610">March 14, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p> <p><em>“The effective work of our military created the conditions for the start of the peace process,”</em> – <strong>Russian President Vladimir Putin</strong> says his country’s action paved the way for the Syrian ceasefire.</p> </p>