After more than two years of anti-terrorist operations in Syria, Russia is withdrawing its troops. RT looks at the milestones and achievements of the campaign, which played a key role in the defeat of Islamic State and helped Syrian reconciliation efforts.
Russia’s military operation in Syria was launched on September 30, 2015, following an official request from the Syrian government for help in fighting jihadists trying to overrun the country. Now, more than two years on, President Vladimir Putin has ordered the withdrawal of a “significant part” of the Russian military contingent. Putin made the announcement during a surprise visit to Syria’s Khmeimim Airbase, after the defeat of “battle-hardened” Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) forces in the country. Russian special forces, military police, sapper teams and 25 aircraft will leave Syria, although the Reconciliation Center for Syria, as well as the Khmeimim base and Tartus navy supply point, will continue their work.