After Declaring Martial Law, Russia Reportedly Withdraws Troops From Syria

After Declaring Martial Law, Russia Reportedly Withdraws Troops From Syria
Russia Reportedly Withdraws Troops From Syria

Washington - The United States-based media, the New York Times (NYT) reported, Russia has moved personnel and its main military equipment from Syria to Ukraine. The report comes amid the imposition of martial law declared by President Vladimir Putin in the four regions that Russia recently voted to become part of the Russian state amid the conflict with Ukraine.

Two Western diplomats and an Israeli defense official who chose not to be identified told the NYT different personnel numbers for the transfer. Two sources say two battalions, meaning there are between 1,200 and 1,600 soldiers in each battalion, while others say the number is much larger.

The Russian military has been deeply involved in Syria since 2015, when it intervened to help the Bashar al-Assad regime fight rebel groups that have seized control of large swathes of the country after the uprising.

This Russian military presence that comes together with Iran's support for President Bashar al-Assad requires coordination between Russia and Israel, which have carried out numerous strikes against Iranian targets in Syria.

NYT sources suggest that the recent transfer of Russian military personnel and equipment could give Israel a freer hand in the area. Amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, some analysts and activists say that the failure to hold Moscow to account for the bombing in Syria has given Putin courage in his latest war.

"That's what prompted President Vladimir Putin to continue his crimes in Syria, to block a peaceful solution to the war and the eventual invasion of Ukraine. He didn't expect a reaction from the West like he did," said Fadel, executive director of the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR). Abdul Ghany as quoted from Al Araby, Friday (21/10/2022).

A report published in September said that seven years of Russian bombing in Syria had killed at least 6,943 civilians including 2,044 children, though the actual number could be much higher. More than 500,000 people are believed to have died in the Syrian conflict, mostly as a result of the Damascus regime's and Russia's bombardment of civilian areas.

Analysts noted an increase in Russian bombardment of rebel-held Idlib in September following Moscow's humiliating defeat in Ukraine. Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin imposed martial law in Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as the Kherson and Zaporozhia Regions.

This was done amid the advance of Ukrainian troops and the recapture of a number of territories. People in four of Ukraine's former territories voted in a referendum last month to ask Moscow to accept them as part of Russia. Ukraine rejected the vote as illegitimate and vowed to use military force to seize territory.

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