Aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces delivered 40 tons of humanitarian cargos from Serbia to the Hmeymim airbase


In total, Il-76 transport aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces has delivered more than 40 tons of canned food products, flour, vegetable oil, clothes and medicaments from Serbia to the Hmeymim airbase.

In the nearest future, military servicemen of the Russian Centre for reconciliation of opposing sides will deliver the humanitarian cargos to the most damaged inhabited areas of Syria.

Earlier, two transport aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces have delivered about 40 tons of vegetables, bakery and sugar from the Republic of Armenia to the Syrian population.

Russia in Syria ‘Indefinitely’: What It is All About


 Everyday life of the Russian air group at the Hmeymim airfield in Syria

   This week Russian President Putin ratified an agreement with the Syrian government that allows Russia to use the Hmeymim air base in Syria indefinitely. Sputnik delves into the details of the Russian facility in Syria’s Latakia province.

   The agreement, which was signed between Moscow and Damascus on August 26, 2015, had been previously approved by both chambers of Russia’s parliament.

   The document regulates the terms of deployment of Russia’s air group in Syria

Among other points, it notes that the Russian air group is stationed at the Hmeymim airfield in the Latakia province free of charge at the request of Syria.

   Under the agreement, Russian military personnel and their family members are granted immunity identical to that provided by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

   The document stipulates that the deployment of Russia’s air group on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic “answers the purpose of maintaining peace and stability in the region, is of defensive character and is not levelled against other states.”

   The structure of the air group is defined by Russia upon agreement with Syria. The group acts in accordance with the plans put forward and agreed upon by both sides. Russia has the right to bring onto Syrian territory armament, ammunition, equipment and materials necessary for completion of the tasks of the air group and for provision of security and life-sustaining activities of the military personnel.

   They are not subjected to any duties, fees or levies.

   The military personnel of Russia’s air group has the right to cross the Syrian border without encumbrance with the documents valid for travel outside Russia and is not subjected to security checks by Syrian border guards or customs officers.

   The air group officers are relieved of any direct or indirect taxes.

   September 30, 2016 marked one year since Russia launched its aerial campaign in Syria under the official request of the Syrian government.

   According to Viktor Murakhovsky, editor-in-chief of Arsenal of the Motherland journal, since then the Russian air group has conducted about 16,000 sorties and over 54,000 air strikes on the positions of the rebel groups operating on the Syrian territory: their command centers, workshops which manufactured self-made explosives and ammunition, military hardware.

   Russian Aerospace Forces have eliminated about 5,000 terrorists, 2,700 of whom were either of Russian or CIS origin, the expert told RT news channel.

   The Russian air group has destroyed 125 tanks and several thousand trucks mounted with weapons, 200 objects of illegal oil infrastructure and has delivered over 1.5 tonnes of humanitarian aid.

   “Back in summer of 2015, some western experts predicted that President Assad’s government could hold-out for no longer than 5-6 months. However the involvement of Russia’s Airspace Forces and their high-intensive airstrikes have profoundly changed the situation in Syria. And speculation on the soon collapse of Damascus has become quiet,” Murakhovsky said. Ministry of defence of the Russian FederationTupolev Tu-22 M3 strategic bombers hit terrorists in Syria

   “The presence of the Russian air group on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic answers in full the purposes of maintaining peace in the region,” member of Russia’s Federation Council’s (upper chamber of the Russian parliament) Committee on Defense and Security Olga Kovitidi told RT.

   “The ratification of the agreement on the indefinite presence of the Russian air group at the Hmeymim base will become a basis for its systematic and planned operations within the military campaign for the benefit of friendly Syria,” she said.

   Kovitidi also noted that the signed agreement establishes international legal norms which regulate the number of personnel and the terms of deployment and operation of the Russian air group.

   Such agreements are the only legal instrument in the international practice for the use of foreign military bases. The implementation of this agreement will be Russia’s practical contribution into the efforts of the international community to stabilize the situation in Syria and to fight against international terrorism, she stated.

   Meanwhile Viktor Murakhovsky revealed that at the moment there are 16 Russian combat aircraft deployed at the Hmeymim air base: 12 Su-24M supersonic, all-weather attack aircraft and 4 Su-34 advanced fighter-bombers.

   “On average, they perform 40-50 sorties per day, which is relatively inexpensive for the Russian budget,” he told RT.

“In comparison, Russia’s Airspace Forces have over 1,500 combat aircraft which spend about 2 million tonnes of fuel per year, not including the operation in Syrian. Thus the daily operations of 15-20 aircraft in Syria are insignificant,” the expert said.

   He also noted that President Putin has made it clear that there were no additional means allocated from the country’s budget for this aerial campaign and that it keeps within the expenditures allocated by Russia’s Defense Ministry to the operative and combat training.

The expert also noted that there are over 4,000 Russian servicemen currently on station at the Hmeymim base. In addition to the aircraft already mentioned, there are also Tu-22, Tu-95 and Tu-160 strategic strike bombers operating in Syria.

Putin Ratifies Agreement on Russian Air Group Deployment in Syria


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   Russian President Vladimir Putin ratified an intergovernmental agreement on the deployment of the Russian Armed Forces’ air group in Syria, the Kremlin said on Friday.

   MOSCOW     Both houses of Russian parliament had approved the August 26, 2015, agreement this month. The agreement signed in Damascus regulates the terms of deployment of Russia’s air group in Syria.

   “The federal law ratifies the agreement between Russia and the Syrian Arab Republic on the deployment of the Russian Armed Forces aviation group on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic,” the Kremlin’s press service said.

   It notes that the Russian air group is stationed at the Hmeymim airfield in the Latakia province free of charge at the request of Syria.

   Under the agreement, Russian military personnel will gain immunity identical to that provided by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Russian troops will also not be subject to border checks when entering Syria.

   Russia began its counterterrorist air campaign in Syria on September 30, 2015, at the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Warplanes Deployed to Hmeymim Will Protect Russian Ships in the Mediterranean

Su-34 multifunctional strike bomber at the Hmeimim airbase in the Latakia Governorate of Syria


Although Russia currently uses the Hmeymim airbase to fight radical groups that are trying to overthrow the Syrian government, this is not the real reason why Moscow needs a military base in the Middle East in the long term, defense analyst Sergei Ishchenko wrote for Svobodnaya Pressa.

Tackling international terrorism is a short term goal, the former Navy captain maintained.

“Moscow’s true and main goal is different. We need dozens of Russian attack planes and helicopters [in the Middle East] to provide air cover for our naval group in the Mediterranean,” he suggested. “We did not have these capabilities for more than five decades, but we desperately needed them.”

The Soviet Union maintained its 5th Mediterranean Squadron that was established to counter the US Navy’s 6th Fleet from 1967 until 1992. Ishchenko described the flotilla that consisted of up to 50 warships and auxiliary vessels as a “force to be reckoned with.” The analyst added that the lack of air cover was the squadron’s only disadvantage.”Fighter cover during the Soviet times was absent. We did not have aircraft carriers until the 1990s. The Kiev-class aircraft-carrying heavy cruisers were outfitted with several Yakovlev Yak-38 strike fighters, but these planes were not really suited for air combat,” he explained.

The Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft cruiser
© Sputnik/ Alexei Danichev
The Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft cruiser

The Soviet Union reached an agreement to station warplanes in Egypt in 1967, but the arrangement lasted until 1972. In the last two decades Russia’s only aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was deployed to the Mediterranean four times: in 1995-1996, 2007-2008, 2011-2012 and 2014. These missions lasted for a maximum of four months.

This situation changed when Russia and Syria reached an agreement that allows Moscow to use the Hmeymim air base for an indefinite period of time free of charge.

“Russia has deployed up to four Sukhoi Su-30SM supermaneuverable fighter aircraft to Hmeymim. They have been tasked with providing air cover for bombers and strike planes taking part in the counterterrorism operation in Syria,” Ishchenko noted.

Russia, he added, apparently decided not to send more Su-30SMs to the region because there are no aerial adversaries that it needs to fight. If needed, additional deployment could be completed in approximately 24 hours.

Ishchenko maintained that there are grounds to assume that Russia is already using the Hmeymim base to protect its ships in the Mediterranean.

“For instance, the Tupolev Tu-142 maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft landed at Hmeymim in June. Clearly it did not land in Syria to fight against Islamists, but was busy performing its main task, searching for submarines of a potential adversary in the eastern Mediterranean,” the analyst explained.

Russian Hmeymim Base Crucial to Combat Jihadists on Syrian Outskirts

Everyday life of the Russian air group at the Hmeymim airfield in Syria


Russian air base Hmeymim in Syria is necessary to fight against militants’ positions on country’s distant outskirts, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Sunday.

VLADIVOSTOK         The Hmeymim air base began operations in September 2015, when Russia started its counter-terrorist aerial campaign in Syria.

“Our base is necessary to fight against militants on far outskirts. These [outskirts] are like a magnet, attracting supplies of arms from absolutely all territories,” he told the Rossiya-1 broadcaster.

Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces loyal to President Bashar Assad fighting numerous opposition factions and extremist groups. On February 27, a US-Russia brokered ceasefire came into force in Syria. Terrorist groups such as Daesh (banned in Russia), as well as Jabhat Fatah al Sham (previously known as the Nusra Front), are not part of the deal.

Russia Could Turn Hmeymim Base in Syria Into Fully-Operational Facility

Russian servicemen at the Hmeymim airbase in Syria.


The first deputy chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of the Federation Council (the upper house of Russia’s parliament), said that Russia plans to turn the Hmeymim base in Syria into a fully operational base.

Russia plans to turn the Hmeymim base in Syria into a fully operational base, Franz Klintsevich, the first deputy chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of the Federation Council (the upper house of Russia’s parliament), said.”After an agreement on its legal status, Hmeymim will become a base of Russian armed forces, all the appropriate infrastructure will be built there and our servicemen will live in decent conditions,” Klintsevich said in an interview with the Russian Izvestia newspaper.

According to the defense official, a permanent contingent of Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) could be based at the Hmeymim airbase, located in the northwestern Syrian Latakia province.

“The VKS unit could be increased in accordance with bilateral agreements, but so far, from the perspective of tasks at hand, the forces currently deployed there [at Hmeymim] are enough,” Klintsevich said.

He stressed that nuclear weapons and heavy bombers will not be permanently deployed at the Hmeymim base in Syria as it is against international agreements.

The Hmeymim air base began operations in September 2015, when Russia started its counter-terrorist aerial campaign against Islamic State (ISIL, also known as Daesh) jihadists, as well as other affiliated radicals, in Syria.

A Firm Syrian Commitment: Putin proposes permanent Air Force Base


August 9th, 2016 – Fort Russ News –
RIA – translated by J. Flores –

Editor’s note: This development which occurs on the same day as the Putin-Erdogan meeting cannot be understood out of that context. We implore our readers to ‘connect the dots’ as we build our data set and publish an overall assessment at the earliest possible time. – JF

Today (August 9th), Vladimir Putin submitted to the State Duma a proposal on the permanent deployment of the Russian air group in Syria.
Moscow and Damascus in the last year agreed to the indefinite placement of the air combat group. The document has been approved by the Russian government, now the agreement must be ratified by the parliament.
Russia will have free use of the Hmeymim air base
The text of the agreement states that Russia has been donated the base, will have at its disposal the airfield Hmeymim with all its infrastructure. In this period, the deployment of Russian aircraft and helicopters is not limited.
Now it only remains to be determined the status of the areas immediately adjacent to the airfield, which will house the Russian military.
Russian VKS has been based in Hmeymim since the beginning of the operation against ISIS.
The State Duma pledges support
Chairman of the State Duma Defense Committee Vladimir Komoedov already said that MPs would support this agreement with Damascus.
“Syria will be troubled for a long time, so it is necessary to keep the forces in combat readiness, as we have always kept Tartus as a supply point of our naval forces in the Mediterranean Sea, we are now adding the Hmeymim air base “,RIA Novosti quoted the deputy as saying.
Komoedov added that Russia is ready to assist the Government of Syria in restoring the integrity of its state.