Editor’s Note: As promised, we’ve been watching the situation in Syria as the Russians have begun withdrawing their forces. Not surprising, the stay-behind contingent is still pretty formidable. It includes approximately 2,000 personnel and approximately twenty combat aircraft. Among them are Su-24s, Su-30SMs, and Su-35S fighters, as well as Ka-52 and Mi-28N attack helicopters. And the S-400? Yep, you guessed it–that is staying as well.

Nearly 20 Russian combat aircraft, an air defense system and some 2,000 personnel will stay at Hmeymim airbase in Syria. According to experts, the task force has several goals – fighting terrorism, supporting President Bashar Assad, and control over the region.

Earlier this week at a meeting with troops involved in the Syrian campaign Russian President Vladimir Putin said the number of combat sorties of the Russian Aerospace Forces had decreased from 60-80 to 20 a day.

The president also underscored that the rest of the task force will be capable of accomplishing the assigned tasks in the region.

Left Behind: Russia's Forces Still In Syria
Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer fighter/bombers are among the Russian aircraft staying behind in Syria. (Photo courtesy of Sputnik News)

A squadron of Su-24 tactical bombers, including 9-12 aircraft, will be kept on duty in Syria. During the main stage of the campaign, those aircraft were responsible for the bulk of the airstrikes.

The newest Su-30 and Su-35 jet fighters will also stay at the Hmeymim airbase for aerial protection, a Defense Ministry source told the Russian newspaper Vedomosti. A source close to the military command confirmed to RBK that Su-35 4++-generation jets will stay at the base.

Russia deployed four Su-35s to Syria on January 31, 2016. The Defense Ministry has not additionally reported on their withdrawal.

Moscow will also keep its air defense system in Syria. “Russian air defenses will be on combat duty in Syria and will be used against all targets posing threats to the Russian forces,” Putin said. According to him, an S-400 medium- and long-range complex and a Pantsir-S1 air-defense system will stay on duty in Syria.

In addition, Ka-52 and Mi-28N attack helicopters have been spotted at the airbase, but their exact number is unknown.

The original article in its entirety can be viewed right here.

(Featured photo courtesy of Sputnik News)