Russia begins withdrawal of aircraft, military gear from Syria

Russian soldiers were readying combat aircraft and military equipment to be withdrawn from Syria, the Defence Ministry said Tuesday.

The preparations were under way at Russia's longstanding Khmeimim airbase and weapons storage facility in the coastal Mediterranean province of Latakia, the Interfax news agency reported.

"Technical personnel of the air base have started preparing the aircraft for performing a distance flight to home airfields in the Russian Federation," the ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency TASS.

"The personnel are loading equipment, material and technical supplies and property to the aircraft of the military-transport aviation," the statement said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered the withdrawal of the majority of Russian troops in Syria, saying their task has been "completely fulfilled."

Russia began its bombing campaign in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in September.

Last update: Tue, 15/03/2016 - 11:32

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