“I would like to emphasize that the Russian Aerospace Forces will continue strikes against Islamic State (IS) and Nusra Front terrorist groups in Syria,” said Sergei Rudskoi, head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Main Operational Directorate.
Rudskoi said Russian combat aircraft conducted 20-25 daily sorties in support of Syrian ground forces, according to an online statement of the ministry.
Rudskoi noted that the pullout of Russia’s aircraft from Syria and their return to home bases proceeded in line with the approved schedule.
Following an order of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian air groups deployed in Syria started withdrawal from Tuesday, with several groups of combat and transport aircraft already returned to Russia.
“The groups of Su-24M, Su-25 and Su-34 jets already returned to aerodromes of permanent deployment on the territory of Russia,” Rudskoi said.
He added that part of equipment and cargoes from Syria’s Hmeimim air base, where Russian aircraft was deployed during the anti-terror mission, were transported by air and the remainder by sea.
With Russia’s air support, conditions were created for Syrian government troops to defeat IS in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, occupied by terrorists last May, Rudskoi said.
Syrian army units established control on key hilltops and major traffic areas, while cutting off terrorist ammunition and materiel supply routes, Rudskoi said.
Russia’s military withdrawal was welcomed as the Russian- and U.S.-brokered ceasefire agreement was largely held in Syria and intra-Syrian negotiations started Monday in Geneva, Switzerland.
Nevertheless, Putin said Thursday that Russia could re-deploy its forces in Syria within hours if the situation there worsened. Enditem