Russia has pulled most of its strike aircraft out of Syria and is following through with its intention of withdrawing assets, according to U.S. military on Friday.
Washington Examiner reports:
A spokesman for U.S. Central Command also said that the Russians have not conducted any air strikes in Syria over the past week.
“We assess that the majority if not all strike aircraft have left,” Col. Pat Ryder told reporters.
The Russians still have helicopters and transport aircraft in the country, so daily deconfliction calls with Russia are ongoing to avoid any incidents in Syrian airspace, Ryder said. Russian ground forces also still remain in the country.
Asked about recent strikes on Palmyra, Ryder said those came from Russian ground artillery.
Russians begin conducting air strikes in Syria late last year. While they said they were there to fight the Islamic State, the administration said the vast majority of their strikes targeted opposition forces to help the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The Pentagon criticized Russia’s operations in Syria, saying they would only drag out the civil war that has already lasted more than five years.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced this week that Russia would begin to withdraw from Syria, saying that they have already accomplished their goals in the country. He also stressed, however, that Russian assets could quickly be surged back into the country if needed.
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