A total of 48,000 Russian troops took part in the country’s military campaign in Syria, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on December 22. According to the minister, 14,000 Russian service members involved in the operation received state awards.
Shoigu noted the role of the aviation in defeating ISIS:
“80% of crews of the operational-tactical aviaction and 90% of the army aviation have 100-120 combat sotries. Crews of the long-range aviation received a practie of conducting strikes on important terrorist objects. In total, Russia’s Aerospace Forces have carried 34,000 combat sorties over 2 years.”
The minister added that crews of the naval aviation of the Admiral Kuznetsov heavy aircraft-carrying missile cruiser particiapted in the combat operations for the first time. They conducted 420 combat sorties.
The Navy and the strategic aviation used Kalibr cruise missiles and Kh-101 air-launched cruise missiles were used to deliver strikes on the most important terrorist objects. Russian forces also used Tochka-U and Iskander missiles. The air and artilley strikes were coordinated by units of the Russian Special Operations Forces opearing on the ground in Syria. Additionally, Shoigu emphasized the role of the air defense units deployed in Syria.
President Vladimir Putin said that the Russian Armed Forces have been courageously and effectively fighting terrorists.
“I would like to start by expressing gratitude to those military servicemen who took part in the operation against terrorists in Syria. I would like to thank all the Armed Forces personnel. While fighting against international terrorism, which is a global threat, our soldiers and officers showed great courage and high professional skills, proving that the Russian Army’s capability has grown immensely,” Putin said adding would not be an exaggeration to say that the Aerospace Forces “played the leading role in defeating the strongest units of international terrorists.”
Putin added that “in fact, it was not just a terrorist group but a whole terrorist army, well-organized, trained and armed, which directly threatened our country and the entire world.”
The Russian military operation in Syria started on September 30, 2015. Since then, the country’s forces, supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Special Operations Forces, had liberated a large areas from ISIS, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and other militants, including the cities of Aleppo, Palmyra, Deir Ezzor, Deir Hafer, al-Bukamal and al-Mayadin.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, 8,000 units of the military equipment, 4,1000 fuel trucks, 718 workshops, 396 oil facilities and 60,318 militants, including 819 commanders, were eliminated.
The Russian operation changed the course of the war and allowed the Damascus government to take an upper hand in the conflict.