The first group of Russian aircraft have left Syria to return to Russia, the Defence Ministry in Moscow said Tuesday.
The warplanes departed from Russia's longstanding Khmeimim airbase and weapons storage facility in the coastal Mediterranean province of Latakia, the ministry said, according to the state-run TASS news agency.
The ministry said earlier that preparations to remove aircraft and equipment were underway following an order by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday to withdraw the majority of troops from the country because their task had been "completely fulfilled."
Russia began its bombing campaign in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in September.
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