US: Russian combat power in Syria largely afield

Col. Warren says Russian ground forces in Syria remains static as airpower slightly reduces

US: Russian combat power in Syria largely afield

World Bulletin / News Desk

Except for the departure of a handful of planes and small units packing up, the Russian position in Syria remains largely unchanged since the withdrawal announcement, Col. Steve Warren, the chief spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition against ISIL said Wednesday.

“We haven’t seen a significant reduction, frankly, in their combat power. Particularly their ground combat power remains static, their air combat power slightly reduced, but that’s it,” Warren told reporters via a video conference from Baghdad.

Warren’s comments came after the Russians said that Su-34 fighters and Ilyushin-76 cargo planes would be departing shortly.

He added that a small component of ground forces have departed Syria but Russian forces at the Hmeymim air base in Latakia are still afield as well as the artillery power.

The coalition spokesman also said that Russian jets have continued to fly sorties over Syria, but have not conducted any strikes since Putin announced a partial withdrawal from Syria on Monday.

It is estimated that there are dozens of Russian aircraft and several thousand troops in Syria.

Noting a “fairly notable reduction” in Russian attacks on Syrian opposition groups thanks to the cease-fire, Warren said given the current posture of Russian military, Bashar al-Assad regime could still continue to grab additional territory with Russian air support.

“It’s difficult to know what the Russian intentions are. We were not expecting this announcement in the first place”, Warren said. “It's still a little early to tell exactly how this Russian withdrawal is going to develop.”

Güncelleme Tarihi: 17 Mart 2016, 09:15