State Department: US cannot confirm withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria

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Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ

18th March, 2016

Zn (Ukrainian Media)

The US recorded the movement of  Russian planes, but still can’t confirm the truthfulness of Russia’s intentions to withdraw troops from Syria.

The withdrawal of Russian troops in Syria is to facilitate a political discussion for a peaceful end to the civil war in the country, but it’s too early to draw any conclusions, said the representative of the US State Department John Kirby, reports “Ukrinform”.

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“If Putin will keep his word about a significant withdrawal of military forces, it can bring a political solution. But we have to wait and see. It is too early to draw conclusions,” said Kirby.

He added that the US has tracked the movement of Russian planes, but still can’t confirm the truthfulness of the intentions of President Putin to withdraw troops from Syria. “We recorded a small number of jets that left Syria, but I can’t say exactly how many they were. I also can’t tell if it was a rotation. Perhaps they planned to return home early, or needed repair, or it was part of the withdrawal of troops,” – said the representative of the State Department.

Kirby also said that Russia did not coordinate the actions of its army in Syria with the United States. “US officials and some of the Russian military exchanged certain information to avoid incidents and for the sake of safety. Some sharing of information occurred, but in a limited way”, he stressed.

Russia will complete the withdrawal of the main part of its forces from Syria within the next two or three days maximum, said commander of the airforce of the Russian Federation Viktor Bondarev on 17th March. According to him, the withdrawal is carried out in strict accordance with the terms set forth before the Russian air force supreme command.

On March 14th, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria, while the agency Reuters, citing its own sources, reported that the US does not see signs of Russia’s preparations for the withdrawal of troops from Syria. According to the Pentagon, in real time only a small part of the military contingent of Russia left the country. 

According to media reports, even after the announcement of the withdrawal of the main contingent Airforce of Russia from Syria, about a thousand Russian troops working as military advisers to the army of Bashar al-Assad will remain in the country.

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