Tactical retreat: what Putin leaves Syria with

There's no victory over terrorism, but Putin has managed to bring Assad and the opposition to the negotiation table. 
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What happened?

About the beginning of the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria's President Vladimir Putin said in the evening on Monday, March 14 at a meeting with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov. "I believe that the tasks assigned to the Ministry of Defense, as a whole are made", - said the president.

Fully withdraw all Russian group is not planned. Under Russian control will remain a naval base in the port of Tartus, which exists since 1971, as well as an air base Hmeymim. Accordingly, it will remain and army units serving and protecting the base. Used equipment output began in the morning of March 15, the Ministry of Defense reported.

Why now?

For the world Putin's statement came as a surprise. Only after the public announcement of the withdrawal of troops Russian President has called the head of the US Barack Obama and discussed with him the decision. Up to this point the White House would not comment on the Russian initiative. Not been advised and the UN Security Council. The Russian representative to the Organization of the unionennyh Nations Vitaly Churkin has promised to do so only after Putin's announcement.

The decision was made personally by Putin, he did not discuss it with anyone other than Assad stressed the press secretary of the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov. There was no request for the withdrawal of troops from Syria's head, he said. However, the Syrian authorities, at least officially, nothing against Russian plans are not: this solution is fully compatible between Moscow and Damascus, Syria's Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi.

Some observers attributed the order to withdraw troops from the beginning on the same day in Geneva, talks between the Syrian government and the opposition on the termination of the Civil War and the future of the political system of this country. Although preliminary talks began in January and ended in the establishment of the ceasefire (which, however, according to international observers, in certain areas disturbed daily), this meeting in Geneva - the first in which we are talking about post-war country.

The Russian government, however, has repeatedly said that bude operationthe medium. At the beginning of October last year, the head of the Duma Committee on International Affairs Alexei Pushkov said that the military presence is designed for 3-4 months, though perhaps it is a little and delayed. Russia has no plans to be infinite in Syria, said in mid-February, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The problem of our country - to achieve a truce, which will sit at the negotiating table Assad and the opposition.
What and who exactly is displayed?

This question has no answer. Neither Putin nor Shoigu yesterday did not say how many people and technology will be, and how many will be displayed. Dmitry Peskov, also declined to comment, saying the timing and amount - the question of the Defence Ministry. He only said that Russian troops must protect their bases in Tartus and Hmeymime "from the air, from land and sea."

The basis of the Russian group in Syria began to aviation forces, including 48 aircraft and helicopters, including bombers, Su-34 and Su-24M, Su-25, Su-30cm and Su-35s, Mi-8 helicopters and peace 24. The operation also involved long bombardsrovschiki Tu-160, Tu-95 and Tu-22M3 and 10 ships of the Russian Navy. In Syria were also transferred part of the provision of these groups, and in November last year to protect the air base Hmeymim was delivered anti-aircraft missile system S-400. This is the most modern Russian development of this kind, it was adopted by the Russian army weapons in 2007.

As Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported, on September 30 last year, when in Syria officially started operation of the Russian troops, Russian planes flew more than 9000 sorties. Also, a few attacks, including from the Caspian Sea, a distance of more than 1500 km inflicted ships and submarines of the Russian Navy.
What are the achievements of the military?

Russia initially stated that it would not carry out a ground operation, and only limited support Assad controlled air connections. Russian troops immediately killed more than 2,000 militants, including 17 warlords, who came into the conflict zone of Russia, Shoigu reported. Due to the airstrikes destroyed 209 oil production facilities and fuel transfer and more than 2,000 freightCove carrying petroleum products. Support from the air enabled the controlled Assad troops occupy 400 settlements and increase the size of the territory controlled by the central government for more than 10 000 sq. km.

Air strikes seriously hampered, and in some places completely stopped resourcing terrorists with weapons and ammunition. They also blocked the main routes for hydrocarbons. At the beginning of February 2016 under the control of Syrian government troops have removed a three-year siege of the city Nouble and Zara in the north of the country near the Turkish border, cutting off the main channel of communication with the rebels Turkey.
Were you able to defeat the terrorists?

Although the report Shoigu, to talk about the victory over the gap in the Russian terrorist organization "Islamic State", which occupied the northern and eastern parts of Syria, as well as the north-western part of Iraq, it is not necessary. IG is still controls a large part of the territory of Syria, including Aleppo holds - the second largest city in the country. Moreover, the flow of volunteers in the "Islamic state" continues unabated. reallythree months after the beginning of the Russian operation in Syria, US analysts of Soufan Group found that the number of foreigners fighting for the IG has doubled over the year, and the Russians - and does tripled.

Putin, however, talking about the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria, said not a word about the IG, as if such a problem and did not stand. Meanwhile his troops to the Middle East Russia sent it to fight terrorists. September 28, 2015 just before the operation Putin, speaking at the anniversary of the UN General Assembly called for the establishment to fight "Islamic State" "really wide" anti-Hitler-like, an international coalition. He described as "a huge mistake" of the West's refusal to cooperate with the Syrian authorities.

Leaders of Western countries, forced to agree to such wording in the next few weeks, more than once expressed surprise that the Russian air force in Syria, the first thing began to strike is not on the "Islamic state" and other armed groups, which the West believed the Syrian opposition, and the Russians - terrorists.
How DeneMr. loses Russia?

The military operation in Syria is quite costly for the Russian budget. According to estimates Bi-bi-si, made last fall, only the content of the air group would require about $ 1-2 billion a year from the Russian budget. US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland has assessed these costs in the $ 2-4 million per day.

It turns out that for half a year, Russia could spend up to $ 700 million, or about 50 billion rubles at the current rate. However, if in September, when Putin made the decision to enter into Syria troops, oil on the price of which depends directly on the Russian economy, worth about $ 50 per barrel of Brent, the last month she was only a few days exceeded the level of $ 40 per barrel.
Why did all this happen?

Foreign and Russian experts last fall thought that the Syrian campaign has two objectives. Firstly, to normalize relations with the West, undermined due to the annexation of the Crimea and informal participation of Russia in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, and secondly, to maintain a high ranking Russian president at the expense of a small victorious war.

If the problem were still deliveredm, the call of their implementation difficult. A marked warming in relations between Russia and the West has not happened. In early March, US President Barack Obama signed a decree to extend the sanctions against Russian officials and companies for another year. Later, similar sanctions extended and Europe. Moreover, the European Commissioner for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini on March 14 announced the five agreed principles of EU countries in relation with Russia. The key point - the implementation of the Minsk agreements Russia to end the war in Donbas, without this of any significant warming of relations can be no question. At the same time, Syria and the fight against terrorism, the European Union shall be disregarded.

Inside the Russian interest in the conflict in Syria broke out in September last year, quickly lost interest. Judging by the Google Trends service, analyzes the popularity of various searches in January of this year, the popularity of everything connected with Syria, in the absence of apparent military successes at the level of 20% from the peak reached six months ago. It's only 2-3 times lower than the interest of the Syrian subjects who watchedI was in the first half of this year.

And the president's approval rating, immediately after the start of the campaign in Syria, approached the record high of 90%, the beginning of March returned to much more modest level of 81.3%.
What's next?

Most importantly for the international community today - make an agreement of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian opposition, which itself is fragmented and consists of several rather loosely connected with each other groupings. The question arises about the future of Assad. If still in the middle of last year, Russia and the West's position radically different - almost all Western countries insisted on the immediate departure of Assad, while Russia says it should stay - but now these positions much closer. And Russia admits that the Syrian president is losing his position (the question is how it will be done), and the West gave up its claim to immediately get rid of it. At least Assad is a party to the negotiations on the future of Syria, as long ago, Western leaders do not want to hear.

But the war against "Islamic sovereignsCTBA "and other organizations recognized as terrorist, to continue. Concluded in late February, the truce does not apply to "Islamic state" or the "Dzhabhat en-Nusra", which is part of the "Al-Qaeda".

"Islamic State" - a terrorist organization banned in Russia.