Mar. 18, 2016
Israeli Expert: Russia Is Not Leaving Syria – Ben Caspit (Al-Monitor)
One of Israel’s top experts on Russia is Yaakov Kedmi, who once headed “Nativ,” a covert Israeli organization tasked with connecting to Soviet Jews behind the Iron Curtain, before the fall of Soviet Russia.
Kedmi is not convinced that the Russians are really leaving.
“It seems to me that most of the commentators did not correctly understand Putin’s announcement,” Kedmi told Al-Monitor.
“The Russian navy is remaining in Tartus. More than half of the fighter planes are remaining in Latakia. The special units that defend these bases are also remaining. The Russian air force will continue to assist Assad in his attacks on the rebels. The S-400 missile batteries are remaining.”
“The advisers to the Syrian army are remaining, from the battalion level to the General Staff, as are the electronic systems, logistics, the RPVs [unmanned aircraft] and assault helicopters. This is not an exit, but a certain thinning [of forces].”
“The Syrians are standing on their own two feet now, by themselves. And that’s the whole story.”