Russia pulling back its forces from Syria

Russia is starting to withdraw forces from Syria and its aircraft carrier group will be the first to leave, the Russian armed forces chief says.

The announcement comes days after Russia and Turkey negotiated a ceasefire in Syria which is largely holding, according to the UN.

Russia has carried out air strikes on anti-government rebels since 2015.

Moscow's involvement is credited with turning the war in favour of its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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"In accordance with the decision of the supreme commander of the Russian armed forces Vladimir Putin, the Russian defence ministry is beginning the reduction of the armed deployment to Syria," Gen Valery Gerasimov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

Tasks set for the carrier group, led by the Admiral Kuznetsov vessel, had been completed, the commander of the Russian force in Syria Col-Gen Andrei Kartapolov was quoted as saying.
Russia's bombing campaign appears to have broken the back of the resistance around Aleppo, but Syria is still a significant mess.  The chances of it reclaiming its original borders seem remote at this time.  Syria will be able to provide Russia with a warm water port and may even give Iran a foothold in the Mediterranean.

I suspect the Russians also learned that their aircraft carrier is not much of an asset.  It is poorly designed and they lost at least two planes just trying to land on it.

There is some evidence that the cost of the Syrian operation was not  sustainable for Russia with its current budget woes.


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