Barely a week after a ceasefire deal was reached with rival groups and Turkey, Russia has started pulling out some of its military forces from Syria.
The country is pulling out also an aircraft carrier, Russian General Valery Gerasimov said on Friday.
The Admiral Kuznetsov carrier is heading to the northern Russian port of Severomorsk, Gerasimov said.
Russia is expected to maintain two military bases in the Middle Eastern country; a naval base in Tartus and an airbase in Latakia.
Moscow launched an air campaign in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in September 2015, DPA said.
A nationwide ceasefire appeared to be holding in Syria on Friday despite clashes between regime forces and rebels in at least one area, a monitoring group reported.
“The truce seems to be holding with some minor violations,’’ Rami Abdel-Rahman, the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said.
There were no civilian deaths recorded since the truce, brokered by Russia and Turkey went into effect at midnight (2200 GMT) Thursday, Abdel-Rahman said.
Russia and Turkey have supported opposing sides in the Syrian civil war, but in recent months they have ramped up efforts to seek a resolution to the conflict, amid a rapprochement in their bilateral ties.
The latest ceasefire comes a week after Syrian forces regained full control of Aleppo thanks partly to Russian military support.
Syria’s crisis started in March 2011 with a crackdown on mostly peaceful anti-government protests. The conflict soon developed into a full-blown war.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the Syrian Government and rebels had agreed to a ceasefire, and that Russia and Turkey would act as guarantors.
The Syrian government confirmed the deal, with the army saying that a nationwide ceasefire would take effect at midnight local time (2200 GMT).
The truce excludes the Islamic State extremist militia, the formerly al-Qaeda-linked Fatah al-Sham Front and their affiliates, the Syrian army said in a statement.
“The decision to halt combat actions is aimed at providing favourable conditions to back the political course of the crisis in Syria,’’ the army command said in a statement carried by Syria’s state news agency SANA.
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