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Putin: Trump ‘right’ to withdraw troops from Syria

President Vladimir Putin has welcomed the US decision to withdraw its forces from Syria.

Speaking at his annual news conference, Putin says he agrees with US President Donald Trump, who said yesterday that the defeat of the Islamic State group removes the need for the US military presence in the country.

Putin reaffirms the long-held Russian argument that the US presence in Syria is illegitimate because it hasn’t been vetted by the UN Security Council or approved by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government. Putin adds that “if the US decided to withdraw its contingent, it has done the right thing.”

Russia is a key ally of Assad, and its military intervention beginning in 2015 turned the tide of the war in his favor.

The Russian leader says it remains to be seen if the US carries out its intention, noting Washington’s repeated promises to end its 17-year presence in Afghanistan.

— AP

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