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Syria is a 'testing ground' for new Russian weapons

Image of Russian military aircraft [Russian Ministry of Defence/Wikipedia]
Image of Russian military aircraft [Russian Ministry of Defence/Wikipedia]

Russia has tested 162 types of new weapons in its combat in Syria, its defence minister said, hailing the military's performance in the war-torn country, in which more than 310,000 people have been killed.

The weapons have proven their worth in the conflict, Sergei Shoigu told the Russian parliament last month, adding that 'only' 10 weapons failed to meet expectations.

Among the new weapons tested in combat for the first time in Syria were long-range cruise missiles carried by navy ships and strategic bombers.

Shoigu said Russian pilots have flown 1,760 combat missions in Syria since the launch of the air campaign in September 2015, killing more than 3,100 alleged militants, including 26 "warlords".

The Russian defence minister said nothing about thousands of Syrian civilians reported killed in Russian airstrikes.

He added that nearly 90 percent of all Russian military pilots have gained combat experience in the skies over Syria, claiming a recent mission of the Russian aircraft carrier group near Syria's shores was a 'success' despite the loss of two carrier-borne fighters in accidents.

When Russia intervened in Syria, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government was teetering on the brink of collapse. The Russian air support allowed the regime forces to win some key ground.

"The breakup of the Syrian state has been prevented, a civil war has been practically stopped," Shoigu said.

The minister appeared to refer to December's truce brokered by Russia and Turkey, even though Russian and regime forces continued to fight.

He boasted about a massive effort to maintain the Syrian campaign, saying that it has seen 2,000 metric tons of cargo supplied to Syria daily by sea and air.

There have been no official data on the number of Russian troops in Syria, but the Russian media estimated it at over 4,000 based on voter rolls from last September's Russian parliamentary elections.


Europe & RussiaMiddle EastNewsRussiaSyria
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