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Russia deploys 12 additional fighter jets, strengthens presence in Syria

Iranian military aviation historian and columnist Babak Taghvaee has reported on Twitter the deployment of 12 additional Su-25SM fighter jets to Russia’s Khmeimim Air Base in Syria.

This news comes as reassurance to those in Syria and in the region, who were concerned that after helping liberate Aleppo and reaching a new cease-fire agreement with Iran and Turkey, Russia would significantly reduce its military presence in the country.

In its version of the story, Fox News has written saying that “despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent order to reduce Moscow’s military forces in Syria, two U.S. officials tell Fox News the opposite is taking place.”

Last week some media have falsely interpreted the decision to withdraw the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier as part of some greater Russian military pullout from Syria.

While highlighting Russia’s successes and the completion of a particular military phase with the liberation of Aleppo and the establishment of a new cease-fire agreement, neither President Putin nor Defense Minister Shoygu ever said anything about the end Russia’s military presence in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Meanwhile, Fox News reports the following details:

One official also said the Russians have deployed additional Russian civilian contractors, as well as fighters from Chechnya, but would not provide any specific numbers.

The Russian military maintains roughly 36 fighter jets and helicopter gunships in Syria, a number unchanged in the last month, according to officials.

Putin ordered the military reduction in Syria in late December following the announcement of a new cease-fire agreement with Iran and Turkey. The United States was excluded from those talks.

On Friday, a top Russian military officer said Moscow’s only functional aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, would be returning home after deploying to the shores of Syria in mid-October.

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