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Russian warplanes supported Syrian forces in operation to free Palmyra — General Staff

Russia's Aerospace Forces continue delivering airstrikes at terrorist targets in Syria, and Russian jets make 20-25 sorties daily to support the operation to free Palmyra, Lieutenant General Sergey Rudskoy, chief of the main operations department of the Russian General Staff, said on Friday.

"The large-scale operation to free the city of Palmyra has been carried out recently by government forces and patriotic forces with support from Russia's Aerospace Forces. On average, Russian jets make 20-25 sorties daily," Rudskoy told reporters.

"Conditions have been created for encircling and routing the armed units of ISIS [former name of the Islamic State terrorist group outlawed in Russia - TASS] in Palmyra," Rudskoi said.

According to him, the Syrian military have established control over the dominant hills and major traffic areas, shut off the routes to deliver ammunition and materiel to gunmen.

"I want to stress that the Russian Aerospace Force will continue delivering strikes against the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations in Syria," he said.

The official however noted that preparations for return of aviation and support units from Syria to Russia proceed according to plan

"Preparations are currently underway for relocation of army aviation and support units that will be carried out in accordance with the schedule," Rudskoy said.

The Kremlin press service released a statement on March 14 that the Russian and Syrian presidents, Vladimir Putin and Bashar Assad, agreed to start withdrawing the main part of the Russian aviation task force from Syria because the Russian Aerospace Forces had fulfilled the fundamental tasks which had been assigned to them. Russia's Aerospace Forces started delivering strikes in Syria at facilities of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist groups (both banned in Russia) on September 30, 2015.

Russia will leave an air flight control center in the Syrian territory that will monitor the observation of the Syrian ceasefire, the Kremlin said. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu ordered starting the Russian troops' withdrawal as of March 15. Earlier today Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolay Pankov said that Russian forces will continue delivering airstrikes as terrorists in Syria.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 18Mar16]

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small logoThis document has been published on 21Mar16 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.