As the fragile ceasefire in Syria continues, Russia has stated they will be pulling out their troops estimated at numbering over 4,000. Russian President Vladimir Putin has pressed to have his soldiers home by Monday, going on to say Russia’s mission to assist the Assad campaign to regain battlefield momentum has been accomplished. One can’t help but to envision the scene of flight suit-bedecked George W. Bush’s speech aboard what will forever be known as the USS “mission accomplished.”

And, as if on cue, al-Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, Jabhat al-Nusra, has pledged to launch a new offensive as Russian military forces pull back from previously held territories, focusing efforts to rip them back from the cold, retreating hands of yet another military of a major world power. Hmm…and the familiar hits just keep on coming.

However, this latest announcement provides Syrian opposition groups with renewed hope, as they believe a Russian withdrawal will pressure the Assad regime into reaching a deal during the latest peace talks in Geneva. The question remains, though, as to whether this withdrawal includes Russian air power, which has caused the deaths of hundreds of civilians and leveled several critically needed hospitals.

Another concern is the timing of this withdrawal and whether it is simply more useless political rhetoric bent on delay. According to a security analyst with the Levantine Group, Michael Horowitz, “If he [Putin] doesn’t mean the aerial component, and if the withdrawal takes months, this won’t mean anything.”