Iran described the Russian withdrawal of their main forces from Syria as a positive sign, increasing the probability of extending the ceasefire in the country.
Iranian minister of foreign affairs Mohammed Javad Zarif said during his visit to Austria Tuesday that the Russian decision is a sign that the state thinks it doesn’t need to use force to ensure the continuity of the ceasefire.
The Russian defence ministry said in a statement earlier that the technical team is preparing for the return of its aircrafts operating in Syria, one day after Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered his army to withdraw its “main forces” from Syria.
The secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran Ali Shamkhani said on state TV that the Russian withdrawal was pre-planned and therefore not surprising.
The fight in Syria is still ongoing, and Iranian and Russian advisors will continue to help Damascus to fight terrorism, Shamkhani said.
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zacharova said the Russian withdrawal will not undermine the Syrian army, reported Russian news agency Interfax.
Syria will be the main topic of discussion during the US secretary of state’s visit to Moscow, Zacharova said.
The Russian Kremlin said Wednesday that it is very satisfied with the US’ cooperation in finding a solution to the Syrian case.
Zacharova refuted attempts to describe the Russian withdrawal from Syria as a “new Afghanistan failure”.
“We should be aware that it was a well-planned, ‘saucy’ media campaign aimed at presenting all operations by Russia’s air group in Syria as another Afghanistan,” Zakharova said on a Moscow radio show.
Kremlin spokesperson Dimitry Peschov said in a press conference that the most important issue now is to enforce the peace efforts.
The Russian Duma speaker Sergey Naryshkin affirmed that Russia will go ahead with strikes against terrorist groups in Syria, reported state news agency TASS.
“Terrorist organisations such as the Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra [both outlawed in Russia] and other terrorist groups named by the UN Security Council have been excluded from the ceasefire regimen. Strikes against them will continue,” Naryshkin said during a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart in Syria.
Putin and his Syrian counterpart Bashar Al-Assad agreed in a phone call Monday to withdraw Russia’s main forces from Syria as “the Russian Aerospace Forces had fulfilled the fundamental tasks assigned to them”. Russia’s direct involvement in Syria began in October 2015.
A Russian air traffic control will stay in Syria to monitor the ceasefire.
The peace talks are currently taking place in Geneva between the regime and the opposition under the supervision of the United Nations.
The Secretary General of the Arab League Nabil Al-Araby said that the Russian withdrawal is an important move to support the negotiations.