The Latest: Russia says first Russian warplanes left Syria

The latest developments on ongoing Syria peace talks and the pullout of Russian forces from the country (all times local):

10:30 a.m.

Russia's defense ministry says the first group of warplanes has left the Russian air base in Syria.

Tuesday's departure follows Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement the previous night that Russia would be withdrawing most of its forces from Syria, including some of the aircraft.

The defense ministry says the first group has left Syria, including an unspecified number of Su-34 warplanes.


9:15 am.

Russia's defense ministry says its military at the Russian air base in Syria is preparing for some of the planes and fighter jets to leave and return home.

Tuesday's statement comes a day after President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian military to withdraw most of its forces from Syria, timing his move to coincide with the resumption of Syria peace talks in Geneva.

The ministry says Russian personnel are currently loading equipment and materiel on cargo planes and getting ready for the withdrawal, which marks an end to Russia's five-and-a-half-month air campaign.

Russian air strikes have allowed Syrian President Bashar Assad's army to win back some key ground and strengthen his positions ahead of the Geneva talks.

The ministry did not indicate when the first planes are scheduled to leave.