A senior Pentagon official revealed that Russian forces began to gradually withdraw their troops from various parts of Syria — specifically from the Hemeimeem air base southeast of Lattakia. The forces withdrawn include thousands of infantry, aviation, and engineering units.
In a statement to Sky News, the official added that the Russian Defense Ministry informed the regime government in Damascus of its plans to withdraw, as the latter seeks to fill the Russian vacuum by sending irregular combat units. These troops include government soldiers, supported by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, to establish a presence in the north and northeast in preparation for possible security changes on the ground.
The official, who asked not to be named, said that the Russian Defense Ministry’s decision was based on direct instructions from the Kremlin that the Ukrainian front should be reinforced with more Russian troops, particularly on the Donetsk and Luhansk fronts. The official stressed that the Ukrainian war required the use of about 70 percent of Moscow’s human combat capabilities.
The official concluded by saying that Russia’s continued withdrawal from Syria is the largest since Moscow’s intervention in the Syrian conflict began in 2015. He said that Russia had failed to transfer what he called Moscow’s “air control experience” from Syria to Ukraine.
For the past seven years, Syria has been a military training ground for Russian forces and a field to test the quality of Russian weapons, according to Russian leaders. Thousands of Russian officers participated in the military operation against Syrians with the intention of training them. Although the Russian intervention came with the slogan of intervention against ISIS and extremist organizations, Russian military operations focused their efforts against free army factions and contributed to the regime’s re-occupation of large parts of Damascus, Aleppo, Lattakia, and Daraa. They committed dozens of massacres and displaced thousands of Syrians.
In the end, however, Russian exercises and weapons tests appear to have not worked in Ukraine, despite the transfer of hundreds of Russian fighters and officers there. Russian forces clashed with a Western agreement to arm Ukraine and support it in resistance — something that did not happen in Syria.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.