CHELYABINSK, March 17. /TASS/. The Syria operation has demonstrated Russian aviation’s ability to quickly deploy combat-capable groups and conduct long combat operations in any part of the world, Tactical Aviation Combat Training Department Head of the Aerospace Force Main Command Major-General Oleg Makovetsky said on Thursday.
Three frontline Sukhoi Su-24M bombers have returned on Thursday to the Shagol airbase near Chelyabinsk in the Urals after their participation in the Syria operation. Before that, Su-34 fighter-bombers and Su-25 attack aircraft returned to their home bases after the Syria operation.
"The past six months in Syria have vividly demonstrated that the Aerospace Force’s aviation is capable of creating combat-ready groupings in any part of the world within short time limits, reliably destroying any enemy, conducting long combat operations with the maximum combat intensity and also returning quickly, confidently and calmly to home aerodromes," Makovetsky said.
The general thanked the entire aviation personnel performing combat missions in Syria for professionalism, "for the high quality of combat deployment against any objectives."
Central Military District Troops Deputy Commander, Major-General Sergey Poletuchy said that the Russian pilots "gave the Syrian people hope for peaceful labor and the return to their homes."
"You’re worthy representatives of the Russian Armed Forces. Your missiles and bombs hit only terrorists. We would like your experience to find reflection every day in combat training," he said.
The pilots of Su-24M aircraft who returned to their permanent airbase were awarded the medals "Syria Operation Participant" at the airfield.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered on Monday to start pulling out the basic contingent of the Russian air task force from Syria as of March 15.
As the Russian leader said, the missions assigned to the military "have been accomplished as a whole."
Meanwhile, Russia’s Defense Ministry has said that the fight against terrorist groupings in Syria, to which the ceasefire regime is not applicable, will be continued. Two Russian facilities - the Hmeimim air base and the Tartus naval facility-will continue operating in Syria.