The Russian government has sent a second batch of advanced Mig-29 fighter-bombers to Syria to assist the Bashar al-Assad regime, engulfed since 2011 in a bloody civil war, the Russian embassy in Damascus reported on Wednesday.
According to the official statement, the aircraft are destined for the Syrian air force and are already operating on offensive missions in the Arab country’s airspace.
Russian President Vladimir Putin last week ordered his foreign and defense ministers to enter into talks with his Syrian allies to gain greater access to the port facilities the country maintains over the Mediterranean Sea, beyond Russian military bases that already exist in Tartus (Navy) and Hmeimim (Air Force), in western Syria.
Tartus and Hmeimim are the only military bases that Russia maintains in the Mediterranean region, and they are of enormous strategic importance to Moscow.
In the framework of these dialogues, Moscow has been sending military equipment to the Syrian army to assist it in its operations against the last rebel stronghold in Idlib, which have not been affected by the coronavirus pandemic that seems to grab attention in the rest of the world. world.
In fact, Russia itself seemed for too long focused on contagion within its own borders. But not anymore.
On Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH) reported that Russian air force planes had re-bombed various points in northwestern Syria still under rebel control, after a three-month hiatus.
The first shipment of the Mig-29s (known as “Fulcrum” to NATO) was completed on May 30, while the second batch arrived in Hmeimim on Wednesday, according to the Russian embassy and the Syrian regime’s news agency. SANA.
“The Syrian Arab Army has received a second batch of the advanced Mig-29 fighters from Russia, within the framework of technical and military cooperation between our countries. The Syrians are already carrying out missions with those planes, ”says the embassy statement, without stating how many aircraft were delivered.
According to the SANA report, published in late May, the Mig-29s that arrived in the country are a more advanced version of the approximately 20 still in use in the Syrian air force of a total of 48 purchased at the end of the 1980s.
That same source indicated that operations with the new equipment would begin on June 1.
Russia is the main ally of the Syrian regime and, for most analysts, the only reason why dictator Al Assad did not fall before the wave of uprisings that began in 2011 and dragged the country into a long and bloody civil war that it still persists.
Thanks to Russian aid, Damascus managed to compose itself and is now launching a final offensive against the last stronghold of rebels and jihadists in Idlib province, although vast portions of the country’s territory remain in the hands of Turkish-controlled forces and Kurds, they have the support of the western powers.
The United States accused Russia in May of deploying its own air force fighter-bombers in Libya, in support of Russian mercenaries who are already fighting alongside forces of the Libyan National Army (LNA) of Jalifa Haftar, one of the two forces fighting in the civil war in that country.
The Libyan civil war began in 2014 and has attracted, like the conflict in Syria, different regional powers such as Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, which support the LNA, and Turkey, which supports the Government of National Agreement, the only than recognized by the international community.