Russia to withdraw forces from Syria, reports say

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(CNN) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian forces to begin withdrawing from Syria, saying they have achieved their goals in the country, state-run media reported Monday.

The pullback will begin Tuesday, the state-run Sputnik news agency reported.

“I think that the task that was assigned to the Ministry of Defense and the armed forces as a whole has achieved its goal, and so I order the defense minister to start tomorrow withdrawing the main part of our military factions from the Syrian Arab Republic,” Sputnik quoted Putin as saying.

Russia began air strikes in September in support of the Syrian government, which has been fighting Syrian rebels and ISIS in a war that is now nearly 5 years old.

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