"President Vladimir Putin said on Monday "the main part" of Russian armed forces in Syria would start to withdraw, and instructed his diplomats to step up the push for peace as U.N.-mediated talks resumed in Geneva on ending the five-year war.
Syria announced President Bashar al-Assad had agreed on the "reduction" of Russian forces in a telephone call with Putin. Western diplomats urged caution and the anti-Assad opposition expressed bafflement, with a spokesman saying "nobody knows what is in Putin's mind".
Russia's military intervention in Syria in September helped to turn the tide of war in Assad's favor after months of gains in western Syria by rebel fighters, who were aided by foreign military supplies including U.S.-made anti-tank missiles." Reuters
At first glance this seems like a valiant effort to "snatch defeat from the jaws of victory," but, maybe not. Bibi's pal, Biden in his recent presser in Israel said something like "even Russia has heard the Lord about Syria." That led Bibi to caution him on the spot to consider whether or not he wanted to use these words. Biden may have been in Israel to shop for a retirement villa on the beach, but among his tasks may also have been the job of informing Natanyahu of a bargain with Russia over Syria and Ukraine. IMO "bth" is probably right that we will soon see remarkable "progress" in a settlement of some kind over Ukraine and a reduction or removal of sanctions on Russia. US "officials" have been quoted today as this having "dropped from the sky." Well, pilgrims, "officials" often don't know what their betters are up to.
Syria? Perhaps the judgment in Moscow is that the process of strengthening the R+6 local forces has progressed far enough that as someone wrote here "they can take off the training wheels." Well, they are on the ground and not I, but I remain concerned about the relatively small forces at the disposal of the Syrian government. Is partition in the future? I suppose we will have to wait to know.
None of this can be good news for Bibi.
I will welcome analytic posts on this development by member of the committee. pl