Russia today announced the beginning of a significant military drawdown in Syria, with the nation’s lone aircraft carrier group being withdrawn from the Syrian coast, and a number of troops apparently set to follow as the ceasefire in the country continues to hold.
Exact details of the drawdown are unclear, but reports suggest a drawdown of some sort was actually always meant to be part of the deal which led to the ceasefire, which began a week ago and continues to mostly hold. There is considerable skepticism, however.
That’s because Russia already announced a drawdown back in 2016, shortly after the February ceasefire began, only to eventually send a number of reinforcements when that collapsed. Until a peace deal is negotiated, these drawdowns are always going to be seen as temporary.
Peace talks are coming though, with plans for negotiations in Kazakhstan some time later in January. Exact dates are not set, and the rebels have largely not committed to take part in the negotiations.