Russian president Vladimir Mr Putin says he is instructing his armed forces to end their five-month campaign in support of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime
by Raf Sanchez, Jerusalem, Roland Oliphant in Moscow and Richard Spencer
Vladimir Putin abruptly ordered the withdrawal of most Russian forces from Syria today in an unexpected and potentially significant moment in the five-year effort to end Syria’s civil war.
The Russian president made the shock announcement at a meeting of government minsters on Monday and said that his country’s forces should begin leaving Syria as early as Tuesday.
The decision caught the US and other Western countries off guard and came as negotiators from the Syrian regime and opposition forces gathered for the start of peace talks in Geneva.