Russia began its withdrawal of forces from Syria as the country’s opposition said the move will help peace talks in Geneva, while a top Russian military official said airstrikes will continue against terrorists.
The pullout ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin is “a positive step which will help to move forward the negotiations,” Salem al-Muslet, chief spokesman for the Saudi-backed High Negotiations Committee, told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday. Syria’s opposition wants to see “actions on the ground” supporting Putin’s announcement, he said.
Su-34 bombers are among jets that have left the Khmeimim air base in Syria and troops are “loading equipment, logistics items and inventory into transport” planes, the Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday on Twitter. Forces remaining in Syria are under orders to continue airstrikes against terrorists because it’s too early to talk about the defeat of terrorism, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov said at the base Tuesday, according to a ministry spokesman.
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