Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the partial withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria, during an unannounced visit there on Monday.
He had already declared in March 2016 that he was planning to pull out the majority of Russian troops.
“I order the defense minister and the chief of general staff to start withdrawing the Russian group of troops to their permanent bases,” Mr Putin said, according to Sputnik news agency.
“I have taken a decision: a significant part of the Russian troop contingent located in Syria is returning home to Russia,” he added.
Putin made this statement while speaking before Russian servicemen at the Hmeymim airbase in Syria.
Putin was met by Syrian President Bashar Assad as he arrived at the airbase.