The cooperation between the Damascus government and Russia appears to be airtight, as both constantly find new ways to work together. This includes operations against ISIS in the central region, as well as against the so-called “moderate opposition” in the country’s northern areas.
On July 1, 50 cadets of Syria’s Kuweires Military Aviation Institute, which reopened in 2018 after remaining closed for years due to the war, completed training with help from Russian instructors.
The Russian Ministry of Defense shared footage of Syria’s new pilots flying on L-39 Albatros high-performance fighter jet trainers. The Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) has been using this type of warplane in close air support and in ground attack missions since 2012.
Over the last two years, Russia stepped up its support to the SyAAF. In 2020, Syria received a new batch of Mig-29 fighter jets. In 2021, several Ka-226T military helicopters were supplied. The SyAAF also begin overhauling its aging Su-22M4 fighter bombers with parts provided by Russia.
This plays a large role in the fight against ISIS and other militants throughout the Arab Republic.
In addition to training, the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) carries out frequent air raids on ISIS positions in Syria’s central regions. At least 23 ISIS terrorists were killed and 31 others were wounded in June as a result of Russian airstrikes, according to reports from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
As summer rolls in, the Russian Navy and VKS began organizing various military drills in the Mediterranean. On June 25th, they held an exercise with the focus being on fighting a notional enemy’s aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as hunting for submarines; It ran through to July 1st.
In addition, in full support of the Damascus government, Moscow is sparing no effort in trying to curb how much assistance the “moderate opposition” in Greater Idlib receives.
On June 1st, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya has affirmed that Russia did not agree with transferring humanitarian aid to Syria across borders. According to him, the deliveries constituted a violation of the rules of providing humanitarian aid and was in breach of international law. After all, Damascus and Moscow are fighting against Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham in Greater Idlib, as well as the other militant groups in the region, and they would not let most of the humanitarian aid to fall in to militants’ hands to simply assist them in bolstering their ranks.
Recent joint operations by the Syrian Arab Army and its Russian support have been largely successful, with more large-scale efforts being constantly expected for the following months.