The Russian Air Force that started its anti-terrorism mission in Syria in September 2015 has thus far bombed over 62,000 bases, positions, concentration centers and gatherings of terrorists in Syria, the country's Aerospace Force said.
The Russian Aerospace Force said that its warplanes have targeted over 62,000 military centers of the terrorists in over 30,000 air attacks since September 2015.
"Till December 20, 2016 the Aerospace Force has carried out more than 30,000 sorties hitting more than 62,000 military targets of terrorists," the deputy chief of Russia’s General Staff and first deputy chief of the Aerospace Force, Pavel Kurachenko told a conference of the extra-departmental council of experts for aerospace issues.
Russia began its air campaign against the terrorist groups in Syria on September 2015, at the request of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. While killing thousands of militants, Moscow also suffered military losses.
On September 30, 2015 Russian bombers conducted their first strikes against terrorist targets in Syria, hitting ISIL positions near the cities of Homs and Hama.
By that time the US-led coalition had been already active in Syria for over a year. Yet Russia became the only state which received an official request from Bashar Assad to carry out air strikes in the country. The Russian fighter jets operated from the Humeimim air base located in Lattakia province.
During its mission, the Russian Air Force aided the Syrian army in liberating one of the country’s key cities and a world heritage site – Palmyra (Tadmur) in Homs province.
The ancient city had been under the control of ISIL since May 2015 before it was retaken by Syrian government forces backed by Russian air raids in March this year. However, ISIL kicked off a large-scale operation on December 8, 2016, with thousands of forces in Homs province to take control of Palmyra, and finally managed to capture the city on December 11.
On March 15, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the withdrawal of the majority of Russian warplanes and personnel from Syria, stressing that the major part of the operation in Syria was over.
"I believe that the objectives with which the Ministry of Defense has been tasked have been largely reached," Putin said, adding that "Therefore, starting with tomorrow I order the withdrawal of the main part of our military from the Syrian Arab Republic."