UPDATED | The Russian Air Force will keep using Hmeymim Air Base, near Latakia, in Syria for air strike and bombing operations against anti-Syrian-government forces. The withdrawal of Russian forces president Vladimir Putin ordered on Monday is only a partial one.
In fact, Israeli military sources said at the end of March 2016 that Russia attack runs are ongoing in Syria – with attack helicopter more and more involved.
While making his statement that the mission of the Russian forces has been accomplished two weeks earlier, and therefore the several thousands of ground forces can be withdrawn, Mr. Putin also said that the air base and Tartous Naval Base in Latakia “will function as they did previously. They must be reliably protected from land, sea and air.” Some air units will leave Hmeymim, some will stay. Moreover, anytime the Russian leadership deems it necessary, aircraft will fly long-distance bombing missions from Russia – supported by tankers.
Battle-prove Russian weapons
Over the past months the Russian military has been able to “finally” put its newest weapons into action, to battle-prove their worthiness and to learn about possible improvements in the same way that f. ex. US and other Western nations have been doing in Iraq and Syria while battling the so-called Islamic State forces. The big difference between the strategies of the US and Russia is that the Americans aim only at ISIS/ISIL/Daesh and the Russian indiscriminately bomb all forces opposing the Syrian leadership led by president al-Assad.
Russian aircraft deployed in Syria
Among the tens of aircraft deployed at Hmeymim are the state-of-the-art Sukhoi Su-35s, Sukhoi Su-30s, Mil Mi-24 Hind attack and Mi-17 Hip assault/transport helicopters, and at least a dozen Sukhoi Su-25 “Frogfoot” ground attack aircraft.
Also deployed were a dozen Sukhoi Su-24 strike aircraft, of which one was downed by a Turkish Air Force F-16 in a border dispute. Russia reacted by deploying its impressive S-400 air-defence missile system which can shoot down multiple targets at 90 miles range up to several times the speed of sound.
Leaving Hmeymim AB – according to the Russian Ministry of Defence – are the Sukhoi Su-34s, as is seen on the video published by Moscow. They returned to a military air base in the Voronezh region of Russian Western Military District.
© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: Sukhoi Su-34s leaving Hmeymim Air Base, near Latakia (Image © Russian Ministry of Defence)