PACKING UP

Russia Begins Withdrawal From Syria

Russia’s air force has taken its first steps in withdrawing from Syria, according to a defense ministry statement Tuesday. The technical staff at the Hmeymim air base began loading equpment and preparing “the aircraft for the long-range flights to the Russian Federation,” the statement said. The defense ministry did not say how many aircraft it was preparing, but Russia deployed about 50 fighter jets and attack helicopters to the base beginning in September. The process began after President Vladimir Putin ordered a withdrawal of the “main part” of the country’s military forces in Syria on Monday night.