Russia says it starts Syrian drawdown with aircraft carrier
MOSCOW - Russia says it is withdrawing its aircraft carrier and some other warships from the waters off Syria as the first step in drawing down forces in Syria.
A Russian military official says the Admiral Kuznetsov carrier and accompanying ships will be the first to leave.
He tells state news agency Tass that "in accordance with the decision by the supreme commander-in-chief (President) Vladimir Putin, the Defense Ministry is starting to downsize the grouping of armed forces in Syria."
Moscow has been a key supporter of Syrian President Bashar Assad's government and forces in the Mideast country's devastating civil war.