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An excerpt from, "Moscow Announces “Mission Accomplished”. Russian Forces Withdraw from Syria?" by Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, March 14, 2016:
Ironically, this “official’ Russian withdrawal also coincides with Turkey’s “unofficial’ invasion of Northern Syria, which in turn coincides with the Geneva peace talks under UN auspices in which both Russia and Turkey are participating in. “Theater of the absurd”.An excerpt from, "Russia's "Mission Accomplished" Moment in Syria" by Tony Cartalucci, Land Destroyer Report, March 17, 2016:
Though Erdogan’s own generals have strongly advised against an all-out invasion of Syria, knowing the grave consequences for Turkey and its military would be catastrophic against the Russian coalition’s superior air and firepower, in the face of recent decisive victories achieved against Turkey’s proxy allies the ISIS and al Nusra terrorists, debate over whether Erdogan will actually bully his armed forces into launching a ground war invasion into Syria has been heavily speculated by both Turkish and Middle East press. (Joaquim Hagopian, Turkey “Invades” Syria on the Eve of Geneva “Peace Talks”, Global Research, March 14, 2016)Moscow’s announcement of a withdrawal also constitutes a carefully designed response to Turkey’s undeclared and illegal invasion of Syria. Under NATO’s doctrine of collective security (Article 5 of the Washington Treaty), an “attack” on one NATO member country (i.e. Turkey) constitutes an attack on all NATO member states.
Moscow wants to foreclose US-NATO’s pretext and justification (under Article 5) to intervene directly on the ground against Syria and its allies in a scenario of military escalation. The latter has been on the drawing board of the Pentagon for several years prior to the onslaught of the war in March 2011.
In this regard, president Putin’s decision to withdraw indicates that Russia wants to avoid direct clashes or incidents with Turkish forces, which could potentially lead to escalation.
While Moscow seeks to consolidate its position in the diplomatic arena, Washington continues to insist at the Geneva talks that the only avenue is “regime change” requiring president al Assad to step down.
To truly put this announcement in proper context, it helps to understand just what the battlefield looked like in Syria before Russia's entry into the war and how it looks now.
In approximately mid 2015, it was clear that US-backed terrorists were openly coordinating with groups including Jubhat Al Nusra, a US State Department-listed foreign terrorist organization. Furthermore, this new combined front, primarily operating in northern Syria from Turkish territory, appeared to be coordinating with ISIS in the east.
In fact, a coordinated offensive in the north where logistical lines were shorter and easier to maintain put significant pressure on Damascus to redeploy troops to this front. At the same time, ISIS surged toward Palmyra from the east. Both operations were large enough to implicate significant planning and staging, perhaps even months head of the coordinated, two-front offensive.
Russia intervened at the height of this shift in which Damascus found itself forced to make a series of strategic withdrawals. While the force Russia brought was relatively small compared to typical Western military interventions, operations were intense and undoubtedly effective. Virtually all of the terrorist gains made during the mid-2015 offensive were rolled back or significantly contested, while logistical lines feeding Western terrorist proxies from Turkey were exposed and destroyed.
With the tide clearly turned, the bulk of necessary combat missions for Russia are indeed over. What is left is monitoring the ceasefire, continued strikes against ISIS, and the ability if necessary to strike logistical lines leading into Syrian territory if they are reestablished.