Vladimir Putin has ordered his military to start withdrawing most of its forces from Syria from Tuesday 15 March.

The Russian President said the main part of the Russian military in Syria will be withdrawn as it had largely achieved its objective. The announcement comes as a new round of peace talks begins in Geneva.

“I think that the tasks set to the defence ministry are generally fulfilled. That is why I order to begin withdrawal of most of our military group from Syria starting from tomorrow,” Putin said on Monday at a meeting with Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reported Russian news agency Tass.

The Russian airstrikes began in September last year to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

A fragile ceasefire has been in place in Syria since late February.