By JUDITH MISCHKE
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday announced the partial pullout of Russian troops from Syria, after an unexpected visit to the country during which he meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad, according to media reports.
The RIA Novosti news agency reported that Putin ordered “the defense minister and the chief of general staff to start withdrawing the Russian group of troops to their permanent bases,” during his visit to the Hmeimim air base while on route to Egypt, the BBC reported.
“A significant part of the Russian troop contingent located in Syria is returning home to Russia,” Putin said, adding that if “terrorists raise their heads again,” Russia would “carry out such strikes on them which they have never seen.”
Putin declared in March 2016 that he was planning to reduce the number of Russian troops in Syria, the BBC said.