Russia says its air force has killed ‘over 86,000 militants’ in Syria
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Russia says its air force has killed ‘over 86,000 militants’ in Syria

Figure constitutes over one-quarter of total estimated deaths in civil war; Russian defense ministry says 63,000 troops have fought in country

Russian Su-25 ground attack jets prepare to land after return from Syria at a Russian air base in Primorsko-Akhtarsk, southern Russia, on March 16, 2016. (Olga Balashova/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)
Russian Su-25 ground attack jets prepare to land after return from Syria at a Russian air base in Primorsko-Akhtarsk, southern Russia, on March 16, 2016. (Olga Balashova/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

MOSCOW — Russia has sent over 63,000 troops to Syria over the course of its involvement in the conflict, the Russian defense ministry said Wednesday.

The ministry said Wednesday that the Russian air force had conducted more than 39,000 sorties that killed “over 86,000 militants” and destroyed 121,466 “terrorist targets.”

A total of 63,012 Russian personnel have “received combat experience” in the war-torn country, the ministry said in a video about Russia’s campaign to support the Syrian regime dating back to September 2015.

This number includes 25,738 ranking officers and 434 generals as well as 4,349 artillery and rocket specialists, it said.

Previously Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu said in December 2017 that over 48,000 military personnel had taken part in the Syrian campaign.

President Vladimir Putin in December last year ordered his armed forces to pull the bulk of troops out of Syria.

But the Russian president later clarified that the military would remain in Syria for “as long as it is beneficial” and was not planning to withdraw yet.

In this photo from December 12, 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the troops at the Hemeimeem air base in Syria. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Pool Photo via AP, File)

It said its forces had tested 231 types of modern weaponry in Syria including aircraft, surface-to-air systems, cruise missiles and others.

The video made no mention of Russia’s civilian or military casualties in the conflict.

Moscow’s intervention in the multi-front war in Syria in support of President Bashar Assad has been a turning point in the conflict.

Since it started in 2011, Syria’s war has killed more than 350,000 and displaced millions.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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