Monday 26 September 2016

More Russian warplanes leave Syria

Published 16/03/2016 | 07:56

Russian air force pilots climb into their fighter jet at the Hemeimeem base in Syria (AP)
Russian air force pilots climb into their fighter jet at the Hemeimeem base in Syria (AP)

Another group of Russian warplanes have left their air base in Syria to return home, Russia's defence ministry has said.

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The announcement comes two days after President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian military to withdraw most of its fighting forces from Syria, signalling an end to Russia's five-and-a-half-month air campaign.

The pullout from the Hemeimeen base coincides with the resumption of UN-brokered peace talks in Geneva between the Syrian government and representatives of the moderate, Western-backed opposition.

On the ground, a ceasefire has been in effect since late February. Extremist factions - such as the Islamic State group or the al Qaida-linked Nusra Front - are not part of the truce.

Russia did not indicate when the next group of planes will leave or how many will be pulled out.

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said Moscow is satisfied with the joint work with Washington on coordinating Syria peace efforts.

Dmitry Peskov said the Syrian peace process is the main focus now for Moscow and Washington.

He hailed Washington's "readiness to coordinate those efforts".

Press Association

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