The Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation Valery Gerasimov announced on November 23 how the Russian military presence in Syria will be downsized. He made the announcement at the meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ministry of Defense officials.
According to the Chief of General Staff, two Russian military bases will stay in Syria: the Khmeimim air base and Tartus naval base. Russian Center for the Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in the Syrian Arab Republic will also continue operations. After the collapse of ISIS Russia will still be present in the region in order to sustain peace and stability, Gerasimov said.
“The Reconciliation Center, two military bases, and several outfits required to keep the current situation in check will stay,” he said.
In January of 2017 Russia and Syria signed agreements that would let Russia stay in Khmeimim for 49 years and increase the territory of the Tartus base. In late October, Kommersant reported that Russia might downsize its military presence in Syria due to imminent collapse of ISIS and government forces controlling 95% of the country’s territory.
Russia increased its presence in Syria in March of 2016 by deploying Mi-28N and Ka-52 helicopters in Syria. In September it deployed additional Su-24 and Su-34 jets at its air bases there, with MiG-31s being deployed in November. In December of the same year, a demining squad was deployed in order to demine Aleppo. Russia also steadily deployed the S-300 and S-400 missile defense systems in order to provide cover for its jets.