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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev said on Thursday Moscow was already preparing to withdraw its military contingent from Syria, Russian news agencies reported.

"Preparations are underway," RIA news agency quoted Patrushev as saying.

The chief of the Russian military general staff said last week Russia's military force in Syria would likely be significantly reduced and a drawdown could start before the end of the year.

(Reporting by Jack Stubbs; Editing by Christian Lowe)

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Reuters