Russia’s Syria Withdrawal Pre-Arranged: Iran’s Shamkhani

Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani said arrangements for the withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria had been made earlier.

The pullout of Russian military forces from Syria was “not surprising at all”, Shamkhani told IRIB on Wednesday morning.

He said the plans for the withdrawal had been made earlier by the Kremlin.

Back on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the withdrawal of the “main part” of Russian forces in Syria, a move that reflected what he called the Kremlin’s achievement of nearly all its goals in the war-torn country.

Shamkhani further emphasized that the fight on terrorism is not going to end in Syria.

“The Syrian Army’s advances in areas where terrorist groups are still threatening the security of people and the region will continue with the advisory helps of Iran and Russia within a joint framework,” the top official added.

Russia’s Defense Ministry has announced that the first group of fighter jets left Syria on Tuesday, a day after President Putin’s order.

The technical staff at the Hmeymim air base near Latakia, Syria, “began to prepare the aircraft for the long-range flights to the Russian Federation,” the ministry said in a statement on its website.

Russia deployed about 50 fighter jets and attack helicopters to the base starting in September 2015.

Russia has also maintained a naval repair and refueling station on the coast at Tartus, its sole overseas military outpost.

The deployment of Russian forces helped turn the tide of the war in favor of Syria’s legitimate government.

Iran and Russia, known as the main allies of Syria, increased efforts in recent months to find a solution to the crisis that has plagued the Arab country for five years.

Syria has been gripped by civil war since March 2011 with Takfiri terrorists, including the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group, currently controlling parts of it, mostly in the east.

The Syrian conflict has killed at least 260,000 people, according to the UN, and more than half of Syria’s pre-war population of 22.4 million has been internally displaced or fled abroad.