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Russian lawmakers hail withdrawal of military from Syria

March 15, 2016, 11:41 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The first group of Russian warplanes has already left Syria for Russia

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© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, March 15. /TASS/. The leaders of Russia’s political parties and senior lawmakers have welcomed the decision of President Vladimir Putin late on Monday to begin withdrawing a major part of the country’s air group from Syria.

Sergey Mironov, who heads A Just Russia Party, told reporters that the move is "timely." The Defense Ministry has accomplished major tasks set by the Russian president to fight against the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria. "And today there is a need to give way to political agreements," he said.

Russia’s Aerospace Forces have shown NATO how to fight against international terrorism efficiently, Mironov stressed. Russia’s decision apparently came as a surprise for US President Barack Obama and many EU representatives, he added.

The leader of Russia’s Communist Party Gennady Zyuganov thanked Russian military pilots and representatives of all branches of forces who formed an efficient group and accomplished their task.

"We set the task in Syria first of all to preserve state integrity of our friendly country. Everything was done to wrest ground from terrorists and to paralyze terrorist forces who planned to carry out terrorist attacks on the territory of this country [Russia]," Zyuganov stressed.

"Everything was done to carry out constant diplomatic talks for political settlement," Zyuganov said. "For the first time over past years we managed to unite efforts of our diplomacy and that of America and a number of European countries," he said.

"Despite sanctions, the US and Europe understood that the efficiency of Russia’s strikes is so great that it can happen that "only Russia makes a huge contribution to the fight against terrorism," he said.

Alexey Pushkov, who heads the State Duma foreign affairs committee, wrote in his Twitter microblog on Tuesday that the operation of Russia’s Aerospace Forces "created conditions for halting combat actions" and launching talks between the conflicting sides in Syria. "Now everything depends on the political process," he said.

Russia's State Duma Deputy Speaker Sergey Zheleznyak told a plenary meeting on Tuesday that Moscow will continue controlling the implementation of ceasefire in Syria that came into force on February 27.

"Now Geneva talks have been launched which will discuss a new constitution (of Syria) and post-war reconstruction and of course, holding respective presidential and parliamentary elections," the politician said.

"No doubt, Russia will accompany this peaceful process just as we will continue controlling compliance with the ceasefire regime and will help those humanitarian efforts underway in Syria," Zheleznyak stressed.

The politician called on the world community to "show wisdom and not to provoke resumption of the armed conflict on the Syrian soil and violation of such a fragile peace."

The speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, Valentina Matviyenko said on Tuesday Moscow will do its utmost for implementing the road map for peace in Syria.

The Kremlin announced late on Monday that the Russian and Syrian presidents, Vladimir Putin and Bashar Assad, agreed to start withdrawing the main part of the Russian aviation task force from Syria because the Russian Aerospace Forces had fulfilled the fundamental tasks assigned to them. Russia will keep an air traffic control center in Syria to monitor the observation of the ceasefire regime. The first group of Russian warplanes has already left Syria for Russia.

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