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    Putin Visits Syria, Announces Partial Troop Withdrawal

    He came, he saw, he backed away. Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Syria today, ordering a “significant part” of the Kremlin’s military presence to be pulled out, starting immediately. He said they’d succeeded in defeating ISIS and aiding embattled Moscow ally Bashar Assad in the country’s seemingly intractable civil war — conveniently ahead of March presidential elections. The Syrian operation is credited with raising Russia’s profile in the Middle East, which will persist, Putin said, with an air and a naval base remaining in case “terrorists raise their head again.”

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