MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) — Russia declared an end Thursday to its 10-year anti-terror operation in the autonomous republic of Chechnya.
The end to the offensive could see the withdrawal of thousands of security forces from the Muslim-majority region, where Russia has fought two wars since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The head of the Federal Security Service “canceled the decree declaring a counterterrorist operation in the territory of the republic as of midnight of April 16,” Russia’s anti-terror committee said.
It said it did so to create “the conditions for the future normalization of the situation in the republic, its reconstruction and development of its socio-economic sphere,” it said in a statement.
The late president Boris Yeltsin ordered the counter-terrorist operation in 1999. Since then, the region has been relatively stable.