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Syrian, Russian paratroopers carry out drill in second joint exercise this month

State media in Syria reports maneuver aimed at diversifying troops’ readiness, amid ongoing airstrikes linked to Israel

Paratroopers leaping from aircraft during a joint drill conducted by Syrian and Russian militaries, June 25, 2022. (Screengrab/Twitter)
Paratroopers leaping from aircraft during a joint drill conducted by Syrian and Russian militaries, June 25, 2022. (Screengrab/Twitter)

DAMASCUS, Syria — Hundreds of Syrian paratroopers took part in a joint drill with their Russian counterparts in the war-torn country in the second joint maneuver this month, state media reported.

The agency did not give further details in its Saturday night report about the drill or say where it took place. It said the aim was to train Syrian paratroopers on how to respond in varied circumstances.

Russia is a main backer of President Bashar Assad and has a broad presence in Syria where an 11-year conflict has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced half the country’s pre-war population.

Russia became involved militarily in Syria in September 2015, helping to tip the balance of power in favor of Assad’s forces.

Earlier this month, the Syrian and Russian air forces conducted drills over different parts of the country, including on the edge of Israel’s border along the Golan Heights.

Four months ago, the two countries conducted a drill a week before Russia began its invasion of Ukraine on February 24. In mid-February, the Russian military deployed long-range nuclear-capable bombers and fighter jets carrying state-of-the-art hypersonic missiles to Syria for massive naval drills in the Mediterranean Sea.

Damage is seen at Syria’s Damascus International Airport, after an airstrike attributed to Israel, June 12, 2022. (SANA)

The drills come during repeated airstrikes inside Syria attributed to Israel, which seem to target Iranian-linked militias in the country.

Two weeks ago, Israel allegedly caused serious damage to Damascus International Airport, putting it out of commission until last Friday, when flights resumed.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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