This morning, a second group of Russian aircraft left the Khmeimim airbase in Syria’s Latakia province. The Russian Ministry of Defense announced the redeployment early on Wednesday.
“Another group of Russian aircraft took off from the airbase in Khmeimim heading to places of permanent deployment on the territory of the Russian Federation,” the military statement said.
Comprised of Su-25 close air support aircraft and a Il-76 strategic lifter, the Russian warplanes are flying in “flocks.” Technical crew and cargo are being flown in the Il-76.
Once the Russian aircraft reaches the border, each warplane will break formation and head to its original airbase.
On Monday, Russian President Putin ordered the withdrawal of Russian Air Force from Syria after fulfilling their original objectives. After a five-month campaign and a ceasefire agreement, the Kremlin’s decision to redeploy its aircraft in Russia seems justified. President Putin ordered the withdrawal shortly after the UN-mediated talks on Syria resumed in Geneva on Monday.
Russian Aircraft achieved objectives
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu affirmed the Russian Air Force has achieved its objectives. The air campaign started on September 30, 2015 and Russian aircraft flew more than 9,000 sorties. Adding to that, more than 2,000 Islamic militant fighters from Russia have been eliminated, including 17 field commanders.
The Russian aviation also closely supported Syrian ground troops. Shoigu told President Putin that more than 400 populated area were freed from Islamic State.
“Backed by our aviation, Syrian forces have freed 400 populated areas and over 10,000 square kilometers [3,860 square miles] of territories,” Shoigu said during a Kremlin meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Monday.
Yesterday, a first group of Russian fighter pilots left Syria and were warmly welcomed in Voronezh. The Chief of the Russian Air Forces, Colonel General Viktor Bondarev was in Voronezh to welcome to pilots.