On July 26, the Syrian Ministry of Defense announced that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) had held a night parachuting exercise with support from the Russian military.
In a statement, the ministry said that the exercise was a follow-up to a day-time parachuting exercise that was held last June.
“One of our armed formations carried out a night parachuting exercise, on several stages with full field equipment, in cooperation with Russian trainers and with coverage from warplanes … Our fighters performed their mission with complete success … in terms of implementing the set plan and reaching the specified places and at the specified time,” the statement reads.
The ministry released footage from the exercise showing dozens of fully-armed Syrian paratroops jumping from several Russian Mi-8AMTSh helicopters at night.
After the outbreak of the war in Syria, the SAA suspended training on airborne operations due to the lack of resources and security concerns. However, earlier this year the Russian military launched a special program to rebuild the army airborne capabilities. A large facility was built and equipped specially to provide training on airborne operations for different army formations.
Airborne capabilities could help the SAA conduct more successful operations against ISIS cells in the vast central region, or even to rapidly deploy its troops in the northeastern region if needed.
The recent parachuting exercises are an example of the growing cooperation between the SAA and the Russian military, who remains the largest foreign player in Syria.
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