Russia’s new year message to Syria
... we will help defend Syrian sovereignty
Earlier this month, Russia's military had announced its defeat of the Islamic State group in Syria.
Russian President Vladimir Putin affirmed his support for Syria and its sovereignty Saturday, sending a new year’s greeting to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Putin emphasized that Russia will "continue to render every assistance to Syria in the protection of state sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, in the promotion of a political settlement process, as well as in efforts to restore the national economy."
Earlier this month, Putin had ordered Russian forces to begin withdrawing from the country, but had said the Hmeymim air base in Syria's Latakia Province, as well as the naval facility in Tartus, will both remain "on a permanent basis."
Also this month, Russia's military had announced its defeat of the Islamic State group in Syria, affirming that the terrorist group has lost its remaining claimed territory in the country.
Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoi, head of the general staff’s operations, said, “The mission to defeat bandit units of the Islamic State terrorist organization on the territory of Syria, carried out by the armed forces of the Russian Federation, has been accomplished,” according to Rossiya 24 TV channel.
Russia's new mission there, Rudskoi had announced, will revolve around preserving ceasefires and restoring peaceful life.