First Russian aircraft fleet return from Syria

MOSCOW, Mar. 15 (MNA) – A first group of Russian military aircraft arrived back in Russia today from the Jmeymin airbase, in the northern Syrian province of Lattakia, after nearly six months of anti-terrorist operations.

According to a report from the Ministry of Defense, shortly after noon, the Il-76 and Tu-154 transports landed followed by the combat air force, which have been deployed in Syrian territory since September 30th 2015.

The Russian air force was ordered to return to their permanent bases in the Russian Federation last night by President Vladimir Putin.

During a meeting with Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, Putin stated that the air force had accomplished its mission in the fight against terrorism in a professional manner.

At the request of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, the Russian air force took part in the operations against ISIL and other related groups in Syria.

Following the entry into force of the ceasefire on February 27th, the Russian command suspended the air raids in the areas controlled by the opposition.

"I think that the withdrawal will be a stimulus to the process of political settlement of the conflict in Syria," said Putin.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said today that the withdrawal of a considerable part of the Russian forces did not mean that Moscow opposed the position of the Syrian president with regards to the negotiations.

"It was a personal decision of the president of Russia, and not the result of the negotiations," said the presidential spokesman.

He, however, left open questions about the continued bombings of the Russian air force and the presence of S-400 anti-aircraft systems in Syria.

 

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News Code 115251

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