On 11 December, Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria and declared victory, as the Russian military accomplished its goal of saving President Bashar al-Assad from ouster. Few hours later the White House decided to let Assad hold on to the presidency until elections in Syria are held again, contradicting a previous statements that called for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down from his position as a precondition to a peace process.
However, some analysts show scepticism on Putin move. Bessma Momani, a professor at the Balsillie School of International Affairs and the University of Waterloo, reminds us “Putin has made similar announcements twice before, and at one point was forced to renege and redeploy Russian forces after Syria’s Bashar al-Assad lost control of territory they had helped win over”. He also added “Mr. Putin’s showboating in Syria serves to create more hollow nationalism for the Russian public’s consumption”.
Furthermore, for those soldiers who are leaving, it appears that they are being replaced by private contractors, as Associeted Press reports. The Russian campaign in Syria draws to a close but the private contractors will probably stay.