Russia has begun pulling its military forces out of Syria, starting with an aircraft carrier group in the Mediterranean, a Russian state-news agency announced early Friday. Warships led by Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, will be the first to leave, said Gen. Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff. Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to scale back the Kremlin’s military presence in Syria at the recommendation of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s state-run agency Sputnik reported. The departure follows a weeklong nation-wide ceasefire that has mostly held. Peace negotiations are expected to resume in late January in Kazakhstan if the temporary truce remains in place.