Russia Denies Reports That It Increases Military Presence In Syria

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Russia Denies Reports That It Increases Military Presence In Syria

Russian Ministry of Defense has denied media reports that Russia has increased its military presence in Syria.

“The Russian Defense Ministry implements measures to reduce the groups of Russian troops (forces) in accordance with the order of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces,” according to Defense Ministry’s spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov.

Konashenkov made the comment after the US TV channel FoxNews aired a report saying that Russia had been allegedly increasing its military presence in the country. A US official quoted in a Fox News report on Wednesday claimed that “we have seen new things coming in” from Russia to Syria.

The Russian military spokesman recalled that the Northern Fleet carrier group including the Admiral Kuznetsov heavy aircraft-carrying missile cruuiser started their withrawal on January 6.

He added out that six Su-24 bombers have been redeployed to Russia from the airbase in Latakia.

“As part of the planned rotation of aircraft, four Su-25 attack aircraft from Russia, equipped with modern navigation and sighting systems, were really made part recently of the Russian air group at the Hmeymim airbase,” Konashenkov added.

Four Russian Su-25 close-air-support aircraft were spotted near the city of Hama in western Syria en route to the Russian Khmeimim Airbase in Latakia on January 10.

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  • John Whitehot

    if there is actually a variation in the composition of the Hmeynim air grouping, it is possible to make some basic observations. I am not aware of the real numbers of aircraft involved, but if SU-24s are withdrawn and SU-25s deployed, this indicates a change in the grouping’s mission scope the Russian commanders foresee. Since October 2015, data shows that the RuAF has been tasked with interdictory and deep-strike objectives for the biggest part, with the evident aim to destroy the jihadist ability to sustain their war effort in the medium-long term. Also, to engage enemy personnel and vehicles while performing strategic movement, leaving the close support mission mostly to helicopters (Although several SU-25 were deployed in the initial part of the campaign and then withdrew).
    The CAS mission needs organizational and infrastructural devices which do not exist in the current scenario (Syrian and Russian armed services interoperability does not reach the depths such mission involves). Nonetheless, the presence of Spetsnaz formations in Syria makes possible for CAS planes to effectively engage jihadists while engaged in ground combat with the SAA. This comes at an increased risk for both the specops and the CAS pilots. It could also be possible that Russia has trained and equipped some Syrian personnel specifically to perform Forward Air control (Syrians able to call in both Russian and Syrian air support) – this would be a very positive occurrence, especially in the perspective of putting the SAA and SAF in the position of effectively fighting terrorism on their own.

    • FkDahl

      Wonder if the SU-25s underwent some kind of upgrade either in terms of targeting equipment or SAM countermeasures.