The Syrians and Russians have long been allies and it makes sense for Russia to exert its influence in the region since the Russians seem to have a vital national interest in the area, namely access to the Dead Sea. The Syrians have never been friendly to the United States and have always been acting with the backing of the Soviet Union and now Russia, so let them pick up the shambles of what is left of that country and deal with the headaches that come with it. We have no horse in that race and should stay out.
Given Russia's indiscriminate bombing of civilians and civilian infrastructure in Syria, increasing its military presence in the country does not bode well. It has been pointed out by commentators that Russia is not in the country for the stated goals of defeating ISIS, but to prop up Syria's President Assad and to expand its influence in the Middle East.
There is nothing strange. Just the media trying to create a villain. You can’t plan major military moves like that in a few days at a whim. The naval ships that were sent were planned early last year to arrive in Sept and come back by Feb to undergo major and expensive work up to modernize them. They got delayed and when they arrived the media made it look as if Putin wanted to wipe out Aleppo. Now when they are leaving the media is making it look as if the Russians pulled one over everyone secretly. If I knew in August they were meant to be in Russia by Feb it tells you how badly media is lying. This isn’t the first time it happened. The media has constantly been downplaying Russian success, exaggerating problems and sensationalizing civilian casualties. If the Russians say something it`s immediately doubted. Yet when the Russians say they are taking part of their forces home they wishfully hope it means ALL Russian forces will leave. This is what they did last March.
There is no way that Russia ever does anything without some kind of ulterior motive. It's also skeptical because they waiting until Trump's inauguration to do it. They likely have some purpose that suits their own benefit, but it's hard to say what that purpose might be. Russia only cares about Russia.