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Russia says over 63,000 troops have fought in Syria

Russia entered the Syria war in 2015. [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 August, 2018

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Russia entered the Syria war in 2015 and helped turn back a series of defeats for the Assad regime.

Russia has sent over 63,000 troops to Syria over the course of its involvement in the conflict, the Russian defence ministry said on Wednesday.

A total of 63,012 Russian personnel have "received combat experience" in the war-torn country, the ministry said in a video about Russia's campaign to support the Syrian regime dating back to September 2015.

This number includes 25,738 ranking officers and 434 generals as well as 4,349 artillery and rocket specialists, it said. 

Previously, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said in December 2017 that over 48,000 military personnel had taken part in the Syrian campaign. 

President Vladimir Putin in December last year ordered his armed forces to pull the bulk of troops out of Syria.

But the Russian president later clarified that the military would remain in Syria for "as long as it is beneficial" and was not planning to withdraw yet.

The ministry said on Wednesday that the Russian air force had conducted more than 39,000 sorties that killed "over 86,000 militants" and destroyed 121,466 "terrorist targets".

It said its forces had tested 231 types of modern weaponry in Syria including aircraft, surface-to-air systems, cruise missiles and others.

The video made no mention of Russia's civilian or military casualties in the conflict.

Last month, Airwars reported that Russian airstrikes had killed at least 2,882 civilians in 2018, largely due to aggressive regime assaults on Eastern Ghouta and Deraa backed by Moscow.

The group says at least 3,445 civilian casualties can be directly linked to Russian airstrikes, but estimates that the actual number of deaths could be as high as 18,000.

Russia has been accused of deliberately targeting schools, hospitals and market places with airstrikes.

Moscow's intervention in the multi-front war in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad has been a turning point in the conflict.

Since it started in 2011, Syria's war has killed more than 350,000 and displaced millions.

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