Original article here: http://alrai.li/hfplqgb
Elijah J. Magnier:
Many observers explained the decision of the Russian President Vladimir Putin of partial withdrawal of its forces from Syria as he was abandoning the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, alone, in the middle of the battlefield.
A senior official in the joint operations room in Syria said, “Cease-fire has been achieved in over 70% of the military operational area in Syria. According to the principle of “economy of forces”, which it is one of the origins of war, no troops should be gathered on the front when there is no need for these to stay”.
“About 95% of the Syrian southern front is committed to a cease-fire in the provinces of Horan, Daraa, Suweida and Quneitra. Most forces agreed to stop fighting and some are negotiating with the government reconciliation programs. In Hama and Idlib 60 to 65% respect the cease-fire agreement. In northern Syria, from Aleppo and its rural area, there is a commitment of about 70%. Thus, the Middle and Eastern Syrian front remains on fire, especially on the banks of the Euphrates River and the areas where Daaesh (The Islamic state – ISIS). Fighters in these areas are still fighting and will remain as such. But these are the concern of the international community and not only Russia or Damascus. Hence, the redeployment of Russian ground force was needed. The special Forces, the coordination and guidance of artillery fire team, the artillery regiment howitzer 130 and multi rocket launchers “Smerch”, all of whom are still in their places to support the Syrian army and its allies as they progress to target forward defence lines and potential troop concentrations of ISIS as well as Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda in the Levant. ”
Over 100 drones keep covering the entire Syrian geographical area around the clock to survey the gathering of forces, collect intelligence information and report hostile forces gathering. This reduces surprise attacks against the Syrian army and its allies. Thus, the firepower is still present on the ground. However, the Russian air force pulled out nearly 60 combat aircraft. 53 su-24M, Su-30SM and su-35S are still waiting on the ground at Hmaymeem. Many of these will be shipped in the coming days. A small number of jet is due to stay behind “.
According to the source, the “withdrawal of fighter jets and service ground crews is part of the principle of economy of forces. Rocket stores and bombs warehouses remain ready for quick use on-demand. The remaining jets will be enough to ensure the safety of the Russian crew and naval base in Tartus. We are working to establish a peace in Syria. Our office at Hmaymeem is in contact with a large number of opposition rebels on the ground, happy to see the Russian “iron fist” lifted from above their heads. This would help to support the regime in Damascus to talk to all groups and open a national dialogue to rebuild the country”.
Sources believe that “President Putin’s announcement of the partial withdrawal pulls away the carpet under the Mujahideen’s feet, who used the Russian presence to mobilise foreign fighters and local volunteer calling the war as “holy” and evoked the war in Afghanistan. The reason for Syrian locals to stay with al-Qaeda and ISIS is no longer standing with the cease-fire, the reconciliation, the Geneva talk and now the Russian withdrawal. It is all in Damascus’ benefit”.
On Twitter: @EjmAlrai