*This was originally published on ModelUN.news on December 15, 2017
-Matthew Mancini (’18)
During a meeting at the Russian Hmeimim airbase near Latakia, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed upon a reduction of Russian troops in the war torn nation of Syria.
The meeting took place on Monday, December 11, 2017 and symbolizes a victory against extremists groups in the region.
The Russians originally got involved in the Syrian conflict on September 30, 2015. The Russians sent military aid in order to help Al-Assad’s government overthrow the terrorist groups, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in particular, within the region.
The Russians were also fighting Syrian rebel groups. The Russian involvement in the Syrian Civil War certainly turned the tide of the war in favor of Al-Assad’s government.
Putin’s announcement of withdrawal comes two days after Iraqi prime minister, Haider Al-Abadi, “announces that Iraq’s armed forces have secured the western desert & the entire Iraq Syria border [and] says [the defeat] marks the end of the war against Daesh (ISIL) terrorists who have been completely defeated and evicted from Iraq,” according to Al-Abadi’s twitter page.
The victory in Iraq holds promise for Syria which has also had victories over ISIL in the past year. Despite ISIL capturing large portions of land in Iraq and Syria in 2014, over the last year the terrorist group has been pushed out of the major cities of Raqqa and Mosul.
In Syria, Raqqa was liberated on October 17, 2017 after a long battle ensued between the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Jihadist group.
In Iraq, Mosul was liberated on July 9, 2017 by the Iraqi government after a nine month battle to regain the city.
The victories within both nations motivated Putin to withdraw his forces from the region seeing that there is a decisive victory over the terrorist group.