In a surprise move on Tuesday, President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia will pull out a majority of their troops from Syria, as reported by the New York Times. It sounds like good news– If only we could trust Russia. The announcement comes just as the UN attempts to revive peace talks, and the Syrian Civil War enters it’s sixth year.
Some argue this signals that the sanctions placed against Russia are taking their toll. However, the timing of the pull-out is suspicious. Russia has acted without scruples in Syria and its support of Assad’s government. Moscow announced that the Russian objective has been achieved: Preserve the Syrian government. Additionally, Russia will now play a major role in negotiations.
Unfortunately, Putin’s Pullout caught Washington off guard, and it will be interesting to see what, if any, effect this has on relations between the US and Russia. President Putin remains antagonistic to the US, and this might end up being one step in a longer game. However, for the moment at least, I hope that those living in Syria are closer to peace.