Putin claims victory over Isis on surprise first visit to Syria

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Russian President Vladimir Putin paid a visit to Russia's Hmeymim airbase in Syria, where he ordered to pullout Russian troops from Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a surprise visit to Syria on Monday, using the opportunity to reiterate his government's declaration of victory over ISIS, as well as to announce a "significant" partial military withdrawal from the country.

Various worldwide forces have made claims of defeating ISIS in different parts of Syria.

President Putin ordered his Defense Minister and the Chief of General Staff to start preparation for withdrawing the Russian group of soldiers to their permanent bases.

Military support from Iran and Russian Federation turned the tide of the war in favor of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, allowing the ruthless leader to remain in power.

Russian Federation began its intervention as main ally of Syrian government in September 2015 following an official request from Damascus government for military help against the terrorist groups.

Assad considers all opposition troops, including those backed by Western countries, to be in the same league as terrorist groups al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).

Putin and Assad were pictured smiling and shaking hands.

Putin has hosted Assad twice in the past six years, but it was Putin's first trip to Syria.

It was Mr Putin's first trip to Syria, and also the first visit by a foreign head of state to war-ravaged Syria since its bloodletting started almost seven years ago.

"Friends, the motherland is waiting for you", Putin said.

Surovikin said the remaining forces will be sufficient to "successfully fulfil the tasks" to stabilize the situation in Syria.

As for the part of the Russian contingent that is going to stay in Syria for the time being, Andrei Koshkin believes that it will most likely be deminers, employees of the Center for reconciliation of the parties, and crews of anti-aircraft missile systems that protect Russian facilities in Hmeymim and Tartous.

Putin said Russian Federation would maintain its presence at the Hmeymim airbase as well as a naval facility at the Syrian port of Tartous. "I note that the efforts of Russia, Iran, and Turkey have helped to prevent Syria's breakup, not allow its takeover by worldwide terrorists and avoid a humanitarian crisis".

Putin told Assad he would discuss the prospects for a peace settlement with the leaders of Egypt and Turkey later on Monday. "I would like to note the positive contribution of the Republic of Turkey and President Erdogan to this work aimed at the reconciliation of the sides", Putin said after the talks.

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