The U.S.-led coalition have noticed the decrease in the number of Russian military aircraft in Syria, but noted that Russia has largely retained its combat power in this country and continues to participate in some of the activities. This was announced via video link at a briefing at the Pentagon representative group of U.S. troops as part of a coalition Colonel Steve Warren, reports Reuters.
According to him, Russian planes carried out sorties after the announcement of the withdrawal of troops, although they were not attacked from the air. And the Russian artillery, helping Syrian forces in attacks on militants “Islamic state” (organization banned in Russia) near Palmyra, was still on the ground, he added.
“It is difficult to understand what are the intentions of Russia. — Warren said. — The announcement [about the withdrawal] is not what we were expecting in the first place [to hear]. Therefore, we compare their words with actions. We should wait to see how the situation develops”.
Warren stated that the coalition “worked carefully” to assess what were the intentions of Russia, and what impact the withdrawal of their troops will have on the situation on the ground.
“It’s hard to say. It’s been less than 48 hours,” the General said. “Was relatively small output of air combat power and an equally slight withdrawal of ground troops <…> frankly, we have not seen a significant reduction in combat power”, — he added.
At the same time, Warren noted “fairly significant reduction” of hostilities between the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the opposition after the cease-fire. But Assad’s forces continue their offensive against the militants in Palmyra, and “our General view <…> that the Assad regime could continue their attack if they received support for Russia from the air,” he said.
“We will continue to focus on the fight against ISIS, and observe the actions of Russia to understand how to proceed,” said Warren.
On Wednesday Reuters reported that after the announcement of Russia about the withdrawal of its troops from Syria, since the country was derived almost half of Russian aircraft based in Syria. Its conclusion, the Agency makes based on the analysis of frames, broadcast on state television.
According to Agency estimates, in the last two days Russia has withdrawn from Syria at least 15 aircraft. In total, according to estimates of Reuters, based on analysis of satellite imagery, frames of air strikes of the Russian BKC and the statements of the Russian defense Ministry, on the basis Hamim in the province of Latakia was 36 Russian aircraft.