On April 26, Chief of the Main Operational Directorate Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi announced at a press conference of the Russian Defense Ministry that Russia had withdrawn half of its warplanes from the Hmeymim Airbase near the Syrian town of Jableh.
Rudskoi said that the number of Russian warplanes in Hmeymim between November 10, 2016 and January 10, 2017 did not exceed 35 fighters, 80 UAVs.
Rudskoi added that the Russian Aerospace Forces has carried out four times more airstrikes than the US-led coalition against terrorist targets in Syria.
He also confirmed that the withdrawal of some warplanes comes after the decreasing of the number of terrorists in Syria.
“The number of terrorist units has decreased, which allowed us to withdraw almost half of the aircraft based at the Hemeymim airbase,” Rudskoi said, according to the Russian state-run news agency Sputnik.
Rudskoi insisted that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has managed to fully recapture Palmyra and the nearby areas and to secure it thanks to air support from the Russian Aerospace Forces.
“In a month and a half, the [Syrian] government forces <…> completely destroyed a Daesh terror group, advanced more than 60 kilometers and established complete control over Palmyra. The terrorists suffered serious damage.”
The general added that Russia had deployed a multi-level control system in Syria that control the entire Syrian airspace from the Hmeymim airbase.
It’s worth to remember that Russia deployed four Su-34 fighter bombers to the Hmeymim airbase last Sunday, raising the number of such bombers in Syria to 11. Along with 12 Su-24, 4 Su-35, 4 Su-30 and 4 Su-25, Moscow had a total of 35 warplanes of various types deployed in Syria. This number is identical to the number provided by the Russian general staff.