Russiaflew a batch of advanced MiG-29 fighter jets to Syria, Moscow’sembassy in Damascus said, with Syrian pilots already using the planesto conduct missions within the country’s airspace.
PresidentVladimir Putin last week ordered Russia’s foreign and defenceministries to hold talks with its close ally, Syria, to obtain morefacilities and maritime access there, in addition to the two militarybases it has already.
Russia’sEmbassy in Syria said on Twitter late on June 3 that the latest batchof planes was for the Syrian military.
“SyrianArab Army received the second batch of advanced MiG-29 fighter jetsfrom #Russia - in the framework of military & technicalcooperation between our countries. Syrian(s) already begin to carryout missions on those planes,” it said.
Itshared a link to a May 30 report by the Syrian Arab News Agency,which cited a Syrian military source as saying the fighters were moreeffective that their previous generation and would be used in Syrianairspace from June 1.
TheUnited States in late May accused Russia of deploying fighteraircraft via Syria to Libya to support Russian mercenaries fightingfor the eastern-based forces of Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan NationalArmy (LNA).
Itsaid aircraft had arrived in Libya after being repainted to concealtheir Russian origin in Syria, stating that the aircraft would likelyprovide close air support and offensive fire.
Reuterssent a request for comment to the Russian defence ministry last week.It did not respond.
Libya’scivil war has drawn in regional and global powers with Russia, theUnited Arab Emirates and Egypt backing the LNA and Turkey supportingthe internationally recognised government of national accord.
TheLNA was driven out of Libya’s capital, Tripoli, on June 4, after ayear-long assault.