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Russia gives returning pilots heroes' welcome

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - 01:12

Russian military jets return to an air base in central Russia after Moscow announced it would draw down its military presence in Syria, news that the U.S. Secretary of State Kerry says has a very real chance of producing peace. Mana Rabiee reports.

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A hero's welcome at an airbase in central Russia -- for pilots returning home from the aerial campaign over Syria. President Putin's announcement of a draw down of forces from the region came as a surprise to the west, but has been welcomed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. SOUNDBITE: U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY SAYING: "Russia's announcement yesterday that it will remove half of its forces immediately, and more perhaps, from Syria and with the political negotiations reconvening this week in Geneva, we have reached a very important phase in this process." A phase that Kerry says has a very real chance of producing peace. Moscow's move comes after five months of Russian air strikes in Syria -- ostensibly against Islamic State, but also shoring up Syrian President Bashar al Assad, a key ally of Russia in the Middle East. Overall though, hostilities between factions are at a low point. Western diplomats say Putin is likely now, to focus on the Syria peace talks -- adding THAT will put pressure on the Syrian government to negotiate and agree to peace terms.

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Russia gives returning pilots heroes' welcome

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - 01:12