Two things about Russia under President Vladimir Putin: First, never bet too heavily on what the former KGB strongman will do next; second, things are not always what they first appear to be.

Only two weeks ago, I remarked that Russia would not withdraw from Syria till a political settlement regarding Syria’s future was achieved to Putin’s satisfaction, regardless of what his ally, beleaguered Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, might wish. While I stand by what I said, I was surprised at Mr. Putin’s sudden announced withdrawal a couple of days afterward.

Checking my sources reveals more than initially meets the eye: My analysis suggests Russia’s sudden move amounts to more of a drawdown than a withdrawal because, despite news bulletins to the contrary, Putin yet maintains a certain military presence in Syria. Intelligence imagery indicates the Russian Sukhoi Su-24M bomber aircraft group is still largely in place.

Reason: Russia wants to ensure that the political outcome, whatever form or shape it may be, at least supports some of its long-term objectives.

Read More- Huffington Post

Image courtesy of Reuters

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