Recently, I wrote about the concerns that many in Syria hold about the level of involvement and effectiveness of the Russian contribution to the fight against the sundry headchopping scum that have plagued that nation for over 5 years now. The concern is that Russia could be doing more, that the level of assistance they are giving is only enough to keep the Assad government afloat and the legitimate Syrian Army in the fight but not enough to allow real progress towards eventual victory. Therefore, Syrians will certainly welcome any increase in the intensity of the Russian air campaign, regardless of what motivated such an escalation as Syrians, as strong as they have been, are growing weary of the conditions the war had brought to their nation and just want the whole thing to be over and with a victory by the Assad government they voted for and elected legally as the outcome.
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Russian Army will use the entire fighter jets and combat choppers in Humeimim airbase and on Kuznetsov aircraft carrier to target positions of terrorist groups in Syria to avenge assassination of two Russian pilots whose chopper was shot down in Homs on Sunday, informed military sources said.
“The Russian military forces in Syria have two choices to hit heavily the terrorists’ positions across the war-hit country. Using an advanced model of winged missiles with very precise targeting capability, which can be launched from both warships and warplanes, is the first choice of the Russian army,” the sources said, adding, “And, calling for Kuznetsov aircraft carrier to be ready for imminent operations over the militant-held regions in Syria will be the second option.”
On Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry announced in a statement that the ISIL terrorist group shot down a Russian-made military helicopter near the ancient city of Palmyra (Tadmur) by an American TOW anti-tank missile.
“The helicopter was attacking ISIL’s defense lines when it was taken down, which claimed the lives of the two Russian pilots on board,” the ministry said.
“On July 8, Russian military pilot-instructors Evgeny Dolgin and Ryafagat Khabibulin, were conducting a calibration flight on a Syrian Mi-25 (export version of the Mi-24) helicopter loaded with ammunition in the Eastern province of Homs,” the statement read.
“The crew received a request from the Syrian command group to help defeat the advancing terrorists and fire for effect. The captain of the aircraft, Ryafagat Khabibullin, made the decision to attack.”
A Russian military source said that the helicopter had been downed with the aid of an American TOW antitank missile system.
“According to reports, terrorists used the American TOW system to down the helicopter, which, having exhausted its ammunition, was on the course back to the base at an extremely low altitude,” the source said.
A senior military expert disclosed on Thursday that the Russian Navy has sent its only aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov, to the Eastern waters of the Mediterranean Sea to help the Syrian army in its anti-terrorism operations in Raqqa province.
“This aircraft carrier will be stationed in a location which is only four to eight kilometers away from the port of Tartous and the fighter jets can take off from it to increase the volume of their attacks on cities like Raqqa which are still under ISIL’s occupation,” Alexi Lyankov said.
The carrier is projected to host at least 15 Sukhoi-33, Sukhoi-27 and Mig-29 and 10 choppers of Ka52, Ka27 and Ka31 in Syrian mission.