WINDING DOWN

Russia Says It Will Reduce Troops in Syria

Russia will likely scale down the size of its military force in Syria by the end of the year, the chief of the Russian military general staff said Thursday. “There is very little left to do before the completion of military objectives. Of course, a decision will be made by the supreme commander-in-chief and the deployment will be reduced,” Valery Gerasimov told reporters. Gerasimov’s announcement came as Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry, slammed the continued U.S. presence in Syria, saying Washington is disregarding international law if its soldiers remain there after the defeat of ISIS. Zakharova said the presence of U.S. troops “could be described as occupation.” Russian President Putin hosted Syria’s Bashar Assad in Sochi earlier this week, and the two reportedly discussed how to transition from military operations into a political resolution.