On January 3rd, the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) revealed the number of Russian troops that have participated in the Syrian conflict, the official MoD TV channel Zvezda reported.
The Russian operation in the Syrian Arab Republic began on September 30th, 2015, after being invited to do so by the Syrian government. In total, 87,000 militants have been eliminated, including 830 commanders.
As of the end of 2018, upwards of 68,000 Russian servicemen had gained combat experience in Syria. According to data from the end of September 2018, since the beginning of the operation 112 Russian servicemen had died. Almost half of them were victims of the An-26 plane crash that crashed on March 6 at the Russian Khmeimim base, and the IL-20, shot down on September 17th.
In terms of hardware, Russia has lost 8 military airplanes and 7 helicopters.
According to official data, 87% of the crews of operational-tactical aviation of the Russian Federation, 91% of the personnel in the army aviation, 97% of the personnel in military transport and 60% of the long-range personnel received combat experience.
The Russian Aerospace Forces support the ground operations of the Syrian Army. Russia has the Hmeimim airbase in the Lattakia province and a naval base in Tartus. A significant reduction of Russian military presence in Syria was announced in December 2017.
The number of troops that took part, show that the Russian armed forces are using the Syrian conflict to provide its servicemembers with real combat experience. Mostly, its pilots and commanders.
In terms of ground troops, in 2019 the Russian Armed Forces will take part in seven exercises with foreign colleagues.
According to the annual plan for international military cooperation in 2019, units of the Land Forces will have to demonstrate their skills in Egypt, India, Mongolia and Tajikistan, where they will take part in the Friendship Arrow 2019, Indra-2019, Selenga 2019 and Unbreakable Brotherhood 2019 exercises. Joint exercises with the Land Forces of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic will be held for the first time.
The units of the Southern Military District will also host servicemen from the Algerian people’s Democratic Republic and Islamic Republic of Pakistan at their training grounds.
Thus, there is no shortage of training opportunities for the Russian troops, but real combat experience generally proves more valuable than simply a mock war game.