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US president hails Russia’s decision on military pullout from Syria — White House

March 15, 2016, 9:06 UTC+3 WASHINGTON

Vladimir Putin and Bashar Assad have agreed on pullout of the major part of the Russian Aerospace Forces from the war-torn country

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Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama (archive)

Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama (archive)

© Mikhail Klimentyev/TASS

WASHINGTON, March 15. /TASS/. President of the United States Barack Obama discussed with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin the announced decision of Russia’s leader to begin withdrawal of the country’s military forces from war-torn Syria, the White House said in its statement.

"President Obama spoke today by phone with President Vladimir Putin of Russia to discuss progress on the implementation of the nationwide Cessation of Hostilities between the Syrian regime and its allies on the one hand and the armed opposition on the other," the statement said.

"They discussed President Putin’s announcement today of a partial withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria and next steps required to fully implement the cessation of hostilities with the goal of advancing the political negotiations on resolution of the conflict," according to the White House.

"President Obama welcomed the much-needed reduction in violence since the beginning of the cessation, but stressed that continuing offensive actions by Syrian regime forces risk undermining both the Cessation of Hostilities and the UN-led political process," the statement added.

The Kremlin press service announced late on Monday that following a telephone conversation between Russian President Putin and his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad the two leaders agreed on pullout of the major part of the Russian Aerospace Forces from the war-torn country since "the Russian Armed Forces fulfilled the fundamental missions, which had been assigned to them."

Russia, however, will keep an air flights control center in Syria to monitor the observation of the ceasefire regime, the Kremlin said.

Defense Minister of Russia Sergey Shoigu was ordered to launch the military pullout from Syria starting March 15.

Russia has been carrying out an anti-terror operation in Syria since September 30, 2015. The Russian air task force has been operating against terrorists in Syria. Some strikes against terrorists were delivered by the Russian Navy.

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