The Syrian and Russian sides agreed, during a telephone call between President Bashar al-Assad and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to decrease the number of the Russian air forces in Syria.
“After the successes achieved by the Syrian Arab Army, in cooperation with the Russian air force in combating terrorism and the restoration of security and stability to many regions in Syria, with an increase in reconciliations in the country… the Syrian and Russian sides agreed, during a phone call between Presidents Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin to decrease the number of the Russian air forces in Syria to cope with the current field stage and the continuation of the cessation of hostilities,” Presidency of the Syrian Arab Republic said in a statement published on its page on Facebook.
Meanwhile, in Moscow, the Kremlin announced that Presidents al-Assad and Putin discussed during a phone call the process of applying “the cessation of hostilities” in Syria.
“The two sides expressed in a joint point of view that the cessation of hostilities has contributed to a sharp retreat in the bloodshed in Syria and an improvement in the humanitarian situation in the country, preparing suitable conditions for the start of the political settlement process under the auspices of the United Nations,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
Presidents al-Assad and Putin pointed out that “the task of the Russian air force has allowed for achieving a turning- point in combating terrorism, dissociating its infrastructure and inflicting it heavy losses in personnel.”
The statement noted that the Russian air forces have carried out the main missions they were empowered for, and agreement has been done to withdraw the largest part of the Russian warplane group from Syria with keeping a center that guarantees flights in Syria to observe the provisions of cessation of hostilities in Syria.
“President al-Assad has hailed, during the phone call, the professionalism and heroism of the Russian officers and soldiers who participated in the combat tasks, thanking Russia for its great contribution to combating terrorism and offering humanitarian aid to the Syrians,” the Kremlin said.
It added that President al-Assad “reiterated Syria’s readiness to start the political process as soon as possible”, hoping “the Syrian-Syrian dialogue in Geneva would give tangible outcomes.”
In the same context, the Kremlin said that President Putin held a tripartite meeting with Russian Foreign and Defense Ministers, instructing Minister of Defense to start withdrawing the main part of “the Russian military group” from the Syrian Arab Republic as of Tuesday after it has fulfilled the mission it was commissioned with.
“All outcomes of the tripartite meeting have been done in coordination with President al-Assad,” the Kremlin added.