In this Dec. 4, 2016 file photo, Russian and Syrian army soldiers gather at the last checkpoint before the front line with rebels, in Karam al-Tarab, east of Aleppo, Syria. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)
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Putin move will have little impact in SyriaHaving recently announced that he will run for re-election in 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to send a message both at home and abroad that Russia is pulling back its military in Syria, and hopes to lean on his allies diplomatically in order to move toward some form of solution. Russia understands that this area of conflict – particularly in Idlib – will present far more complex challenges.Analysts suggest, however, that Putin's announcement will do little to deter its allies Syria and Iran from pursuing a huge military offensive in the de-escalation zones.It was also not made clear during Putin's statement exactly how many troops would be returning and when.Analysts suggest that Putin may also try to avoid possible redeployment of Russian forces by increasing the use of privately contracted troops as their total number of any losses would remain out of public record.
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