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48,000 Soldiers Took Part in Russia's Syria Campaign - Defense Minister

48,000 mechanics, MPs, sappers, commandos, pilots, etc., spent time in Syria, served on ships off its coast, or contributed to the campaign from Russia's Northern Caucasus bases (long-range aviation).

A total of 48,000 Russian troops took part in the country’s military campaign in Syria, Russian Defense 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 aviation in defeating ISIS:

“80% of crews of operational-tactical aviation and 90% of army aviation had 100-120 combat sorties. Crews of long-range aviation received practice conducting strikes on important terrorist targets. In total, Russia’s Aerospace Forces have carried out 34,000 combat sorties over 2 years.”

The minister added that naval aviation crews of the Admiral Kuznetsov heavy aircraft-carrying missile cruiser participated in combat operations for the first time. They conducted 420 combat sorties.

Navy and strategic aviation used Kalibr cruise missiles, and Kh-101 air-launched cruise missiles were used to deliver strikes on the most important terrorist targets. Russian forces also used Tochka-U and Iskander missiles. Air and artillery strikes were coordinated by units of the Russian Special Operations Forces operating 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 Russian Aerospace Forces and 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 military equipment, 4,000 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 get an upper hand in the conflict.

Source: South Front

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